Thanks to the growing health and wellness movement, many people are paying more attention to the effects of their everyday habits. Drinking enough water, logging enough steps, and going to bed at a reasonable hour are all seen as respectable, worthwhile goals. For what it's worth, though, this approach to healthy living can apply to your bathroom habits as well. Once you learn about the weird things that happen to your body if you hold your poop, you may never delay a bathroom break again. Basically no good can come from making your body wait.
Granted, there are a few scenarios in which it's difficult to obey the call of nature. When you're traveling, out running errands, or otherwise barred from a bathroom, sometimes you have no choice but to hold it. In general, though, it's better to listen to your body's needs and respond ASAP.
The list of bad things that can result from holding in poop is longer (and grosser) than you probably realized. Not allowing yourself a bathroom break can result in uncomfortable side effects such as hemorrhoids and constipation, as well as more serious conditions that can ultimately require surgery. There is even one sad case of a death resulting from going too long without pooping. The message is clear: when your body says it's time to go, then go.
1. You Have Difficulty Passing Stool
One of the first side effects of holding it can affect your next trip to the bathroom. As noted by Columbia University, water will be absorbed from your stool if it has to wait in place for too long. This can, in turn, result in painful and difficult-to-pass stools.
2. You Suffer Constipation
Resisting the urge to go may also cause your system to back up, so to speak. Delaying bowel movements is one cause of constipation, as noted by WebMD. This can, in turn, lead to even fewer bowel movements in the future, as well as belly pain, as further explained by WebMD. Nobody wants to deal with that.
3. You Develop Fecal Impaction
This is one thing you probably never want to experience. As noted in Everyday Health, holding your stool for too long can lead to a condition called fecal impaction, in which your dried-out feces become stuck and impossible to pass. As further explained by Everyday Health, medication, a healthcare professional's gloved hand, or even surgery may be required to remove the blockage.
4. You Get Hemorrhoids
Here's another potential side effect that's worth the effort to avoid. As explained in Prevention, holding it in can cause constipation, which in turn may lead to the development of hemorrhoids. As anyone who has suffered with a painful, itchy hemorrhoids can attest, these knots are best avoided.
5. You Hold Waste In Your Body
It's important to remember that stool is made up of things your body is trying to throw out. As noted in The Mirror, when you hold it in, all that waste is just sitting in your body. It makes sense to get rid of these waste products ASAP.
6. You Have Future Pooping Problems
Delaying those trips to the bathroom can result in problematic poops in the near future. A colon that empties slower than usual is sometimes the result, as noted by Greatist. Who knew delaying poop could cause so many bad side effects?
7. You Feel Abdominal Pressure
What's more, your overall intestinal comfort will be compromised by waiting. Abdominal cramping, pressure, and bloating are all potential effects of holding back poop, according to Women's Health. Although not as severe as some of the other side effects, that bloated feeling is no fun at all.
8. You Can Develop Megarectum
It sounds like a cool, obscure metal band. But the reality is pretty gory. Holding your stool can lead to a condition known as megarectum, in which your overstretched rectum gives you the constant urge to go, as noted in Positive Med. And you thought UTIs were bad.
9. You Could Die
This is the worst-case scenario. As explained in Independent, a teenaged girl died from a heart attack after avoiding the toilet for eight weeks. For what it's worth, the girl was also suffering from a fear of toilets and a case of mild autism, so it's a sad scenario all around, and not one that's likely to be repeated. But the lesson stands: holding it in is a terrible idea.