“Nope, sorry guys. Can’t go out tonight. I’ve got a serious case of the farts.”
If you’ve ever had to stay in, curled up on the couch in complete solitude because your bowels were no friend of yours (or anyone else’s for that matter), then you very well understand the effect of public flatulence on self esteem, confidence, and overall self worth. (Research has actually found that people are more likely to make negative judgments about a situation while they’re in the presence of a fart-like odor.)
Thankfully, there’s an undergarment for that! UK-based company Shreddies created men’s and women’s underwear that contain zorflex, a material that allegedly filters super offensive odors — ya know, like the ones emitted from your tush. The company claims the super skivvies can neutralize odors up to 200 times the stink strength of the average fart.
Each time the magical undies run through the wash, the carbon material is reactivated (according to the underpants’ makers). The underwear comes in briefs and high-waisted briefs for women (starting at $28) and boxer briefs for men (starting at $35). The panties of the future aren’t exactly new. In 2008, Shreddies whipped up their undies hoping to alleviate the social hindrance that is chronic flatulence. Now they’re gaining buzz in the States. The Shreddies motto is “fart with confidence.” We’re not kidding.
Breaking the effects of breaking wind—what a novel idea. We haven’t tried Shreddies for ourselves, but research does point to active charcoal (like what’s in Shreddies) as a remedy for flatulence. Flatulence on airplanes: just let it go. Pommergaard HC, Burcharth J, Fischer A. The New Zealand medical journal, 2013, Feb.;126(1369):1175-8716. But before you get your panties in a bunch, know that while Shreddies do (supposedly) mask scent, they do not in fact mute bodily noises (total bummer).
Tame Those Toots
If you’d rather not drop upwards of 30 bucks on a pair of undies (and let's hope you’d have the decency to buy more than one pair), here are some foolproof tips to reduce flatulence.
- Choose foods with carbs that are easy to digest, including potatoes, rice, bananas, and yogurt.
- Eat smaller meals more frequently during the day (versus three or fewer large meals) to help digestion. (This may produce less gas, too.)
- Chew food slowly. This will help reduce the amount of air swallowed (and hey, it’s got to get out somehow).
- Avoid chewing gum and sipping on soda. It can also increase the amount of air swallowed.
- Get a move on. Exercise helps improve the way our digestive systems function.
Originally published October 2013. Updated May 2016.