Hiya! Eclectablog here. This is the second in a series of 4 "Chris the Science Geek" essays I wrote for the most-awesome Quitnet.com years ago where I (a) quit smoking and (b) met my wife of 6 years. Forgive any faux pas with regard to GUS Etiquette - I'm still a newbie here!
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A recent correspondent asked me about what is commonly known as "quitulence" or excess **cough** farting **cough** during a Quit. Please sit back, get comfortable and sip a nice beverage and I'll try to explain it the best I can.
<cue science geek music soundtrack and spinning spiral...>
Although we all like to think of ourselves as very independent, especially since we are now certified Quitsters, the fact of the matter is we rely on other organisms to live. In fact, without some of these other organisms, we COULDN'T live. The biggest and most obvious example of this are the bacteria that live in and on our body. There are bacteria on your skin that help you to fight off unfriendly bacteria that try to infect you. There are bacteria around the openings into your body (nose, mouth, ears, etc...) that fight off the unfriendlies trying to infect those areas.
Stuff like that. One of the most important activities that friendly bacteria perform for us to live in our gut (stomach, intenstinal tract, places like that) and help us to break down and digest our food. Without those friendly "bugs", we have major problems which is why you often experience ...uh... gastric "distress" when you are on antibiotics: the drugs actually kill off many of these good bugs along with the malevolent ones that are trying to make you sick. Well, when you invade your system with nicotine, it plays hell with your whole body and causes a shift in the types of bacteria that can survive in this polluted environment.
Then, one day, you go and quit and suddenly the chemical environment shifts dramatically. It takes a while for your gut to respond and for the population of bacteria to recover and readjust itself to this new situation. During that time, you will find you don't digest your food so well. When food gets past your stomach and is digested in the intestines and other unspeakable areas (this happens with beans a lot for many people), a great deal of gas gets liberated "down there". When this happens, you can't just give a discreet little belch to let it out, it has to go the ...um... other way if you get my meaning. And LOTS of it goes "the other way".
A WHOLE LOT in some cases. Like maybe you need to go outside now whole lot. Like even the dog gets up and leaves when you're around whole lot. Eventually, the microbial equilibrium in your body is reestablished and things return to normal (which for men is usually indistinguishable from this hyper-gassy state that we've just described.) In the meantime, you might try upping how much yogurt you eat and focus on eating easy-to-digest foods so that less gas gets produced "down there".
Also, keep in mind that many of the snacks that Quitsters use to get them through the initial days and weeks are high in fiber and fat (carrots, sunflower seeds, Cheetos, etc.) These can make things worse and, if it gets real bad, you might consider avoiding them. Otherwise, just be patient. Eventually you'll get back to normal
Now, please, would ya light a match or something?!
Chris the Science Geek
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