The gut health nerds at ZOE have conducted the largest survey into bowel habits that the world has ever seen. The Big Poo Review (yes, really) was conducted in partnership with Steph’s Packed Lunch on Channel 4 and provides insights on the bowel habits of us Brits.
The report covers farts, how long people spend on the toilet, diarrhoea, constipation and lots more insights into our bowel habits. It’s maybe not one for reading during lunch but the survey, which included stats from 142,768 people across the UK, is a fascinating insight into our bodies and how they differ from one another (and all the ways we are the same).
How often the average person farts
Now, personally, I never fart. Obviously.
According to The Big Poo Review, though, women fart on average eight times a day and men, nine times a day. 1.6% of respondents reported that they never break wind which ZOE are keen to assure us is very unlikely as everyone farts.
Again, apart from me.
The data scientists were surprised to learn that passing wind is actually more common among younger people with the 18-23 age group reporting breaking wind on average 9.8 times a day and those age 58 or older fart the least with their farting rate being an average of 7.3 times a day.
And, where is the windiest region of the UK? North Lanarkshire in Scotland was crowned with this dubious honour with local respondents reporting farting an average of 10 times a day. The least windy is Telford and Wrekin in Shropshire at 6.7 times a day. Hmm.
Interestingly, the regions with the highest flatulence rates were the most laid back about flatulence with 58% of respondents reporting that they don’t feel that farting is a problem. Better out than in!
One person did report farting 40 times a day and if this sounds familiar to you, while farting is completely normal, this is definitely abnormal and you should speak to your GP to check there’s no underlying cause.
What to do if flatulence is interfering with your daily life
Some of the respondents reported feeling that farting interfered with their daily lives, due to embarrassment or because of the smell or noise. ZOE has some suggestions for those experiencing this. They suggest trying two or three of the following:
- Cut out straws, chewing gum or sweets, and carbonated drinks. Slow down at mealtimes, and have controlled swallows.
- Make sure you’re not constipated. If you are, try a treatment. You’ll be amazed at how much your flatulence will improve. Check out the ZOE Science & Nutrition podcast on constipation for more information.
- Reduce your intake of fermentable foods. A good place to start is to eliminate dairy products and artificial sweeteners. Sometimes, a doctor might suggest that you try the low FODMAP diet.
- Add more probiotics to your diet. You could do this with fermented foods, including kefir and yoghurt. In some cases, a probiotic supplement can help, as well.
They add that if you have further concerns, you should speak to your doctor.
Otherwise, fart freely! It’s normal!