From fatigue and brain fog to low mood and social withdrawal, there are a plethora of symptoms that could indicate poor mental health. And, according to one study, excessive flatulence, burping and bloating might all be added to the list.
That’s right; if you find yourself experiencing more GI problems than usual, then the beans might not be to blame; it could actually be a sign that you’re keeping some other things bottled up inside. After all, the stomach is the second brain.
Researchers find a link between stomach and mental health issues
To pinpoint the connection between gut health and mental health, researchers surveyed 6,000 people across the US, UK and Mexico and quizzed them on both their digestive issues such as including bloating, distended stomachs, flatulence and bad breath, as well as their mental health and wellbeing over the course of a week.
The results showed that farting was the most common complaint, with 81% of participants admitting to cutting the cheese each day. However, this in itself is totally fine as the NHS reports that the average person farts as often as 15 times per day.
The second most common digestive ailment that participants faced was stomach rumbling (60%), followed by burping (58%) and bad breath (48%). A further 47% of those surveyed suffered from trapped wind, 40% experienced a distended stomach, while 38% endured bloating.
The average participant experienced around three gastro-related issues per day, and 11% didn’t report experiencing any.
While the survey’s results might cause some to giggle, things get a lot more serious when looking at the volunteers’ mental health, as those who farted the most or had multiple GI issues often tended to be more depressed, anxious and stressed.
That could explain the nervous stomach.
Of course, researchers did as researchers do and concluded that excessive farting, bloating, and other GI issues could potentially either cause mental health issues or be the result of them.
But, depressed or not, it could cheer you up to know your farts could be saving your partner's life.
Who farts the most?
Results from the survey, conducted by scientists from the Rome Foundation Research Institute in the US in collaboration with Danone Nutricia Research in France and has yet to be peer-reviewed, also showed exactly which countries blew the most hot air.
When it comes to letting it rip, the UK had the US beat with 83% and 76%, respectively. However, Mexico took out the top spot for one-cheek squeaks, with 85% of participants reporting the symptom.
The UK and US were pretty in sync when it came to the rest of the GI symptoms in the study. However, Britons were slightly more likely to report stomach rumbling while those from the US were more likely to experience bloating and bad breath.
Professor Olafur Palsson from th University of North Carolina Department of Medicine and lead author of the study believes more research needs to be done to determine why some countries tend to report more GI issues than others:
The reasons for the marked differences in the amount of gas-related symptoms between Mexico and the other countries we surveyed are unknown and need to be investigated further.
He continued: ‘Cultural, linguistic, diet or public health factors might affect population levels of gas-related symptoms.’