What is a shart?
A shart is an involuntary defecation which occurs when one try’s to pass gas. The term comes from combining to the two words “shit” (slang for “feces” [noun] or “defecation” [verb]) and “fart” (slang for “flatulence”).
Why do you shart?
A shart can be a one-time isolated incident, in which case it is simply a mistake when attempting to pass gas. A shart is also more common for those experiencing diarrhea or loose stools, or if you have taken a laxative / stool softener. If you feel severe gas pains associated with imminent diarrhea go to a bathroom to pass this gas.
If sharts occur more frequently this could be a sign of an underlying issue such as bowel incontinence. Bowel incontinence is the reduced ability or complete inability to control gas or bowel movements. Incontinence has a wide range of severity from slight difficulty controlling gas to complete loss of control of defecation.
What causes bowel incontinence?
Incontinence can occur for a myriad of reasons.
The most common causes of incontinence are as follows:
- Injury during childbirth (tear in the anal muscles)
- Aging (Incontinence is a common problem especially in for the elderly)
- Operation to the anus or anal tissue (side effect)
- Certain medications cause or increase the severity of incontinence:
- Diuretics to reduce excess fluid.
- Alpha blockers for hypertension.
- Antidepressants and narcotic pain relievers.
- Sedatives and sleeping pills.
- Other traumatic injury to the anal muscle tissue
- Diarrhea from an infection or potentially irritable bowel syndrome
- Impacted stool due to severe constipation
- Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis)
- Nerve damage due to diabetes, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, or other ailments
- Radiation damage to the rectum such as after treatment for prostate cancer
- Stroke or Alzheimer’s disease
How to prevent a shart…
As discussed above sharting may be a one-time mistake in which case prevention is just being mindful of your gas. In the instances when you have taken medication to aid in defecation, have eaten food with a known history of causing diarrhea, or simply feel the grumbles and pain known to precede a bout with diarrhea do not attempt to pass gas unless you are safely over a toilet.
You can also alter your lifestyle to prevent a shart:
- Eat 20 to 30 grams of fiber per day. This can make stool more bulky and easier to control.
- Avoid caffeinated beverages
- Drink 8 – 10 glasses of water a day
Exercises – kegel exercises builds strength in the pelvic muscles and may help reduce bowel incontinence
Bowel training – create a bowel movement routine by scheduling a trip to the bathroom at the same times each day.
In the case that sharting is occurring on a semi-regular to regular basis it is wise to contact a doctor to rule out any of the underlying causes listed above. If the cause of the incontinence is trauma, surgery may be performed to alleviate this issue. If it is caused by medication the medications will likely be changed. And if it is a chronic disease of some kind a treatment regimen will be implemented to reduce symptoms such as involuntary defecation.