Doctors ask diabetics and heart patients to stay away from farting competition in Surat

Updated: Sep 19, 2019, 10:40 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon | Mumbai

As bizarre farting competition in Surat gains buzz, alarmed Mumbai doctors warn about the negative effects of binge eating and trying to hold back flatulence

Organisers Yatin Sangoi and Mul Sanghvi
Organisers Yatin Sangoi and Mul Sanghvi

With the bizarre farting competition in Surat attracting nation-wide attention, city doctors are warning participants about the downsides of trying to generate gas and holding it for long. They warn that gases can get reabsorbed by the body, increasing a participant's risk of gastrointestinal conditions.

"I have never heard of such a competition and it sounds bizarre," said Dr Mahesh Goel, chief hepatobiliary surgeon, Tata Memorial. "Farting is a natural process and our digestive system will not tolerate attempts to hold gas for long periods."

A poster of the contest
A poster of the contest

Goel said eating excess grams, gaseous veggies, churan, etc — something the organisers have been encouraging participants to do — will have an adverse impact on the digestive system, resulting in indigestion, acidity, diarrhea, dysentery, dehydration, bloating of abdomen and nausea. Advocating that children be banned from participating, Dr Goel cautioned those with underlying hypertension and digestive issues, saying consuming too much churan might lead to a sudden rise in blood pressure.

Even if the event is allowed to go ahead as planned on September 22, Dr Goel said, there should be a medical body to screen contestants. Gastrointestinal surgeon Dr Ketan Vagholkar agreed that such competitions could be extremely dangerous.

Posters of the contest

"They have no scientific basis," he said. "A medical board or body is required to monitor such events that can impact participants' health, like they have with lottery, etc. Diabetics and heart patients run the risk of being worst affected if they participate, as excessive bloating can cause chest discomfort simulating a heart attack. In diabetics, the intestine's functioning has already slowed down and may result in an obstruction-like situation. Reckless consumption of commercially available carminative (churan) can have toxic effects on the digestive system, resulting in mal-absorption and abdominal discomfort."

Surprisingly, holding back flatulence could also cause severe damage to the vision, believe ophthalmologists. "Holding back flatulence will increase the intraabdominal and intrathoracic pressure, in turn, leading to intra-retinal bleeding. It could also impair vision in extreme cases. Diabetic and hypertensive patients should be extra careful because the immature new vessels can rupture and cause intraocular bleeds" said Dr Anand Subramanyam, a retina specialist.

Organiser Mul Sanghvi, 36, told mid-day that the idea first struck his partner Yatin Sangoi, 40, who accidentally farted while watching a movie, eliciting a sharp response from his child. "The next moment, Yatin called me, narrating his experience and mooted the idea of organising a competition," said Sanghvi.

Posters of the contest

"My initial reaction was 'Yuck!', but later I thought it would be interesting to have a handful of people participate. But our social media post just blew up. People all over the country were asking for events in their cities."

He said enquiries have come in from Dubai, the US, and Australia. Understanding they had something big in their hands, the duo has applied for Intellectual Property Rights. The competition will have three categories — longest, loudest and musical farts.

"We decided to make it a big event, and worked on posters and have roped in a doctor in the judging panel," said Sanghvi, adding that a microphone and a Fart Intensity Detector will be employed.

Sangoi said they have applicants of all kinds, from fully pregnant women to 60-year-olds. "We have decided to allow only those who reach the venue between 10 am and 1:45 pm and will announce the result at 2 pm."

The entry fee will be Rs 100, and there will be cash prizes and gift hampers. "A mobile gaming firm from Mumbai has expressed interest to launch a new game at the competition and have assured to offer the prize money," said Sangoi.

Sept 22

Date of the competition

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