NEW YORK — It’s happened to the best of us: You’re in a work meeting or on a date when your belly suddenly begins to rumble. Since you can’t let one loose right then and there, you instead endure the discomfort of keeping yourself from passing gas. It turns out this happens quite frequently for the average Americans. According to a recent survey of 2,000 U.S. adults, holding back gas or other symptoms results in 338 “close calls” a year — almost one a day.
More specifically, the average respondent keeps themselves from passing gas 6.5 times per week. Most of these incidents occur in a dining establishment (47%) or while traveling (47%).
Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Gas-X, researchers say that gas is not only affecting Americans socially, but also in their professional lives. The poll shows that over a quarter (26%) think the worst place to accidentally pass gas is during a work meeting or professional outing.
Most people have put a Zoom meeting on mute to pass gas
“You’re on mute,” is a phrase that has become common during virtual meetings – often considered a technology faux-pas. However, more than half (55%) of Americans have admitted that they have purposefully muted themselves in a virtual meeting to relieve symptoms of gas!
People aren’t just putting their work calls on mute — they’re silencing their social lives too. If you’ve ever had FOMO because of gas and bloating, you’re not alone. In fact, 34 percent of people have abandoned birthday parties and dinner parties due to the discomfort caused by these symptoms.
As we all know, everybody farts. Yet most survey respondents agree that they consider gas (68%) to be more embarrassing than finding food in their teeth (44%), something in their nose (49%) or even having their zipper down (43%).
‘Completely healthy and normal function of our digestive system’
Additionally, 55 percent say that they try to stifle their gas symptoms more in the summertime compared to other times of the year. That’s because seven in 10 (68%) socialize more in the summer and don’t want others to notice their gas and/or hiccup. When experiencing symptoms of gas or other bodily functions in public, 26 percent of people have pretended it didn’t happen or attempted to prevent it from happening.
“It might be embarrassing, but passing gas is a completely healthy and normal function of our digestive systems and stifling gas, can cause pain due to increased pressure on your gut,” says Jennifer Lo, Associate Brand Manager for Gas-X. “While nearly half (49%) of those polled reported eating and drinking slowly to try to avoid gas and heartburn symptoms, and the same amount steered clear of carbonated beverages, these methods aren’t always foolproof.”
Though passing gas can be embarrassing during a date, most people don’t consider it a relationship deal-breaker. In fact, 24 percent would just give their date a look, 23 percent would joke about it, and 19 percent would pretend nothing happened. Moreover, the average person is comfortable enough to stop holding in gas after about six dates. And while 44 percent have had an evening of love ruined by their own gas or heartburn, a similar amount (43%) pointed the finger at a partner.
“Whether preparing for a friendly outing, an important meeting or a night of romance, having over-the-counter symptom-relief can come in handy for alleviating gas, bloating and heartburn,” Lo adds