8 Weird Pooping Habits Explained by Science

In All Health Watch, Featured Article, General Health, Gut Health

Everyone poops, but no one wants to talk about it.

As a result, we know surprisingly little about this everyday activity.

So here are the explanations for eight weird pooping habits you’ve probably wondered about.

  1. Why does coffee make you poop? Research shows 30% of people feel the urge after drinking their morning java.[i]

    Coffee stimulates your colon. This may be due to its chlorogenic acid content. It prompts the stomach to produce more gastric acid, which can speed up digestion.[ii]
  • Why does spicy food burn on the way out? Capsaicin, the active ingredient in hot peppers, breaks down very little as it passes through your digestive system. The compound binds to receptors that are prominent in areas like your mouth and anus. So you feel the burn when it enters your body…and when it leaves.
  • Why do you get constipated when you travel? About 40% of us have trouble pooping when we go on an extended trip. Traveling tends to throw off your circadian rhythm. This is your internal body clock. It regulates your sleep-wake cycle.

    When your body clock is off, it confuses your digestive system. You can find a good solution for constipation here.
  • Why does poop sometimes float? This can be normal or not. Sometimes it’s due to fat in your diet. It can also indicate that your body is having a problem getting nutrients from food. This is called malabsorption. It’s linked to chronic pancreatitis and celiac disease. Usually, there’s no need to worry.
  • Why is it common to wake up at night to pee, but not to poop? Nerves in your gut control colon contractions that lead to bowel movements. These nerves are regulated by your circadian rhythm.

    So when you feel sleepy at night, your colon rests as well. But your bladder fills continually. When it reaches a certain point, it triggers the urge to urinate, day or night.
  • Why do you pass gas first thing in the morning? It’s the same reason as in question five. Your colon is off duty at night while you sleep. When you wake up, it does too. It begins clearing out the gas that’s been accumulating all night.

    In fact, the “highest volume and longest emission” of gas happens in the morning, says gastroenterologist Dr. Anish Sheth.[iii]
  • Why do you sometimes skip a day? It’s completely normal for some people to not have a bowel movement every day.

    “We define anything less than three times a week as abnormal,” says Dr. Kyle Staller, a gastroenterologist at Massachusetts General Hospital. “But any pattern can be healthy as long as your poop frequency doesn’t impact your quality of life.”[iv]
  • Why does it sometimes smell worse than usual? No matter what, poop is going to stink. Dr. Patricia Raymond, a gastroenterologist at Eastern Virginia Medical School says the smell quality depends on your diet.[v]

    “Herbivore leavings smell much better than a carnivore’s,” she said.

    If your poop suddenly is off-the-charts unbearable it may indicate a problem. “That can be a sign that you’re not digesting your food properly,” Dr. Raymond said. 

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[iv] https://www.prevention.com/health/g20501807/poop-myths-and-truths/?slide=2

[v] https://www.prevention.com/health/g20501807/poop-myths-and-truths/?slide=4