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Is Holding Your Poop Bad For You?



Short answer

Holding in your poop is unhealthy. It can lead to discomfort and long-term constipation



Long answer

Everyone poops. It is a fact of life and regular bowel movements are essential to good health. When you feel the urge to go and you try to resist, you could develop constipation—which is painful, unhealthy, and in some cases can lead to additional ailments. In extreme cases, even death has resulted from withholding stool. Holding in your poop can result in an enlarged bowel which can compress organs and increase the risk of a heart attack.

Stool withholding is more common among children than adults and is often a pain response to constipation. Adults will typically withhold stool when the urge to go comes at an inconvenient time. Women are more likely than men to put off going poop, due to concerns over sanitation, embarrassment, or discomfort in a public environment. Everyone has a different scheduled need to go and can vary from daily to a few days between poops.

Poop is your body’s waste material, in combination with bacteria and water resulting from the digestive process. When you hold in your poop, the stool returns from the rectum into the colon. More water is absorbed and the poop is stored until the next time you need to go. The longer the poop remains stored in your colon, the more water is absorbed making it more difficult to go. This can also cause the reshaping of your bowels if done constantly over an extended period of time. The longer the waste stays in your body, the worse you will begin to feel. Many people turn to laxatives to alleviate constipation. Though these can be a life saver during occasional constipation---they run a risk of addiction. When you become addicted to laxatives, your body essentially ‘forgets’ how to naturally have a bowel movement without the laxative. It can also strip your body of essential nutrients in the digestive process if food moves too quickly through the body. It is a good idea to avoid laxatives, except for occasional use.  Holding your poop in every once in a while should be ok, but if you’re doing it all the time you may be creating problems for yourself.

You should try to poop whenever you feel the urge. For those ladies concerned with issues of sanitation in public restrooms or embarrassment, consider bringing antibacterial wipes and a small container of body spray in your purse. Keep in mind—everybody poops!

Possible short-term side effects

  • constipation

Possible long-term side effects

  • reshaping of bowels
  • stretch of rectum walls
  • slower bowel movements
  • laxative addiction
  • heart attack

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Written by DeeAnne Oldham | 05-04-2016

Written by DeeAnne Oldham
Suggest improvement or correction

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