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Teenage girl develops appendicitis after holding in farts around boyfriend for two years

NHS: Appendicitis symptoms and cause explained

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Recalling the medical emergency, Cara Clarke said: “I was at work on Tuesday and I had this real extreme pain in my stomach. I went to the doctor in hysterics and he referred me straight to the hospital.” While at hospital, the barista admitted: “I started blaming my boyfriend because I do always hold my farts in around him.” In a post to TikTok – a video-sharing app – Cara posted a picture of her and her boyfriend, Kyle Duffy, 21, alongside the caption: “Me and my boyfriend doing everything together and comfortable.”

The next clip is of Cara in hospital, wearing a face mask, alongside the note: “Me having to get my appendix removed because I hold in my farts around him.”

While taking a light-hearted attitude towards the incident, appendicitis is a serious condition.


The NHS explained appendicitis is the painful swelling of the appendix – a small, thin pouch (about two to four inches long) that is connected to the large intestine.

“Nobody knows exactly what the appendix does,” the NHS stated, “but removing it is not harmful”.

Appendicitis begins with intermittent pain in the middle of the stomach that, with time, travels to the lower right-hand side becoming “constant and severe”.

“Pressing on this area, coughing or walking may make the pain worse,” the NHS added.

People who have appendicitis might also:

  • Feel sick
  • Be sick
  • Lose their appetite
  • Have constipation or diarrhoea
  • Have a high temperature and flushed face.

If the appendix bursts, a serious infection of the inner lining of the abdomen can occur; this is known as peritonitis.

The warning signs of peritonitis are:

  • Severe continuous abdominal pain
  • Feeling sick or being sick
  • A high temperature
  • A rapid heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath with rapid breathing
  • Swelling of the abdomen.

“If peritonitis is not treated immediately, it can cause long-term problems and may even be fatal,” the NHS warned.

What causes appendicitis?

Addressing Cara’s video on TikTok, Doctor Karanr Raj – who has more than 264 million followers on the platform – explained what actually causes appendicitis.

“Usually, the number one culprit is faecolith – a hard bit of stool that can block the appendix, causing inflammation,” Doctor Karanr stated.

For those who hold in their farts, on the other hand, the farts can actually be “reabsorbed into the bloodstream”.

“You can release that gas when you exhale,” the doctor continued, but he rejected the notion that holding in a fart can lead to appendicitis.

“Holding in your fart is not a causative factor for appendicitis,” the doctor clarified.

Regardless, Cara has now accepted that “at this stage”, she will “just have to let it out from now on”.

So while her boyfriend will have to get used to her letting rip once in a while, other people should not worry that holding in a fart will lead to appendicitis.

Can you prevent appendicitis?

Unfortunately, experts at Johns Hopkins Medicine stated that “there is no known way to stop appendicitis from happening”.

If, however, you experience signs of appendicitis, do call NHS 111 or go to your local A&E hospital department.

This is because appendicitis is a serious emergency that requires urgent medical attention.

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