From what I understand about how gases and liquids work, if the environment loses pressure, then it causes dissolved gases to come out of solution. For example, if a diver ascends too quickly, dissolved nitrogen will come out of solution causing the "bends".

I have heard that astronauts undergoing decompression training experience gastrointestinal distress from the effect.

Does this mean that if an aircraft at altitude suddenly decompresses that everybody will start farting?

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    $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this question is better on health.SE. $\endgroup$ – kevin Oct 23 '17 at 18:02
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    $\begingroup$ That could speed up evacuation when on the ground, and contribute to safety. $\endgroup$ – mins Oct 23 '17 at 18:08
  • $\begingroup$ "Does this mean that if an aircraft at altitude suddenly decompresses that everybody will start farting" Some may sneak out while I'm filling my pants at whatever emergency is going on, but I haven't heard of that. Some people I know say flying makes them gassy, but sounds more like an excuse to me. $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer Oct 23 '17 at 19:18
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    $\begingroup$ For those over fifty, it may take on forms other than gaseous ... $\endgroup$ – KorvinStarmast Oct 23 '17 at 19:55
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    $\begingroup$ @kevin Being on-topic on some other SE site isn't a reason to close here. If you want to claim it's off-topic here, you need to give a reason why it's off-topic here, not why it's on-topic somewhere else. $\endgroup$ – David Richerby Oct 23 '17 at 20:18

No, they will not.

In the case of a rapid decompression, an aircraft will make a very rapid descent to a altitude, and while I'm not a physician or an expert on these physiological and biochemical processes, I doubt very much that would be enough time for dissolved gases to be released into the digestive tracts.

Even if it were, a person who experiences a sudden accumulation of gas in the gastrointestinal tract may experience discomfort or even pain, but it takes a while for gas to make its way to an exit - as anyone who has suffered from trapped wind will know.

  • $\begingroup$ After a night in Wiesbaden, beer and bratwurst was consumed in great quantities. The morning ride in the high altitude pressure chamber was quite odiferous upon explosive decompression. So, it is possible. $\endgroup$ – Mike Brass Jan 19 '18 at 5:49
  • $\begingroup$ Ditto with Mike Brass' comment. I have made a few trips to 25K' in the chamber and felt the need to toot. It isn't just dissolved gasses or the time it may require for them to come out of solution, your gastro-intenstinal tract already has actual gas in it that will expand anytime the outside pressure decreases. Not everyone will suddenly fart uncontrollably, but many will feel some level of discomfort from the expanding gas and choose to let go. $\endgroup$ – Michael Hall Jan 11 '19 at 2:01

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