How Long Can A Person Hold Their Poop (And Why?)

How Long Can A Person Hold Their Poop (And Why?)

Exact Answer: indefinitely until medical problems arise

Research suggests that an average person with no serious medical problems and a life expectancy of around 79 years will spend 240 days out of that time pooping. That is broken down into an average of 12 minutes spent pooping every day. Usually, you would not give much thought to the process of pooping, or the time spent on it. But it becomes a problem when you have not pooped in days or even weeks. It certainly became a problem for a 16-year-old from the UK who died of a heart attack caused by 8 weeks of no pooping.

How Long Can A Person Hold Their Poop

How Long Can A Person Hold Their Poop?

Frequency of poopingConstipation
1-3 times/day (or every other day)No
<2 times a weekYes

Doctors agree that a ‘normal’ frequency of pooping would be 1-3 times each day or every alternate day. Our bodies naturally form pooping schedules that we don’t even notice we are adhering to. Much of our pooping tendencies rely on the kind of food we eat, the amount of exercise we get, and the type of lifestyle we are engaged in (stress-free or not). They may be affected by any allergies we develop (for example lactose intolerance) and any medical conditions we may suffer from.

Constipation occurs when a person has pooped fewer than 2 times in a week. It may be accompanied by bloating and stomach pain. As such, it is important to promptly treat constipation when it occurs. Technically, you can go an indefinite time without pooping – but this would give rise to all sorts of medical problems.

Some common causes of constipation are:

  1. Lack of fiber in diet – eating highly processed and fatty foods, including a lot of dairy in meals
  2. Lack of exercise – living a sedentary lifestyle, not enough mobility
  3. Lack of hydration – an important cause, not drinking enough water regularly

If you recognize any of the above apply to your life, then consider changing your habits to avoid the development of any serious issues.

Some common symptoms of constipation are:

  1. Difficulty in passing poop
  2. Lumpy, dry, or hard poop
  3. Stomach or abdominal cramps
  4. Nausea
  5. Loss of appetite

If you experience the above symptoms, consult your doctor, who may prescribe mild laxatives to help you pass poop.

Why Can A Person Hold Their Poop For That Long?

One cause of holding in poop can be anxiety over using the toilet in unfamiliar places or situations. This is also seen in toddlers, who when negatively responding to toilet training may refuse to poop. Due to constipation, they may also develop an association of pain with pooping – making them afraid to poop. They might make it a habit not to poop when their body indicates the need for it. Fortunately, as such children turn into teenagers and adults, most of them grow out of these habits.

Some people may however suffer from anxiety disorders and prefer to poop in the comfort and familiarity of their own home. They would hold in their poop any time they are out of the house. Such habits may cause anal muscles to become less responsive and rectal nerves to swell, causing irritation, bleeding, and the presence of mucus in the anus.

Constipation without treatment for too long may lead to fecal impaction. This is a condition where pieces of poop turn hard as water is absorbed into the intestine, leading to even more difficulty in passing it. If left unchecked, medical procedures may be required to remove the feces from your body. Another consequence of constipation may be bowel perforation. This happens when the excess stool backed up in the intestines puts too much pressure on them, tearing the wall and spilling the poop into the abdominal cavity. Since poop is acidic and contains bacteria, this condition may be life-threatening.

Therefore it is extremely important to get constipation treated in time. Long-term constipation may also threaten your cardiovascular health, like in the case of the aforementioned teenager.

Conclusion

Laxatives like fiber supplements, stimulants, lubricants, stool softeners, cosmetics, etc are enough to treat constipation the majority of the time. Some of these are available over the counter while others may require a prescription. If you remain constipated despite all measures, the doctor may have to remove the poop manually or prescribe surgery. In case of psychological causes for holding back poop, the physician may prescribe treatment or therapy accordingly.

To keep your body functioning well, it is thus essential that you keep track of your pooping habits to know when something is amiss. A healthy, active lifestyle goes a long way in preventing most bodily problems, including constipation.

References

  1. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejmra020995
  2. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF02056950
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23 thoughts on “How Long Can A Person Hold Their Poop (And Why?)”

  1. The article offers an invaluable perspective on the often overlooked issue of constipation and its potential consequences. It’s a reminder to remain vigilant about our health and seek medical attention when necessary, thereby maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

    1. Absolutely, Max. This informative article serves as a catalyst for raising awareness about the importance of recognizing and addressing constipation, ultimately promoting better health management.

  2. The article provides a comprehensive understanding of the causes, symptoms, and potential complications associated with constipation. It highlights the importance of seeking medical attention when experiencing constipation symptoms.

    1. I share your sentiments, Joanne. It is an informative guide that encourages individuals to be proactive about their health and seek prompt medical intervention when necessary.

  3. The article inherently conveys the necessity of prioritizing our health and recognizing the potential health risks associated with untreated constipation. It’s a valuable piece of information that encourages regular check-ups and early intervention.

    1. Indeed, James. The article serves as a reminder to pay closer attention to our health and take necessary actions to mitigate potential health risks. It’s a vital source of information.

  4. This article is a real eye-opener. It’s fascinating to learn about the intricate factors affecting our pooping habits and how crucial it is to address constipation promptly. This should prompt individuals to pay more attention to their lifestyle and dietary choices.

    1. Absolutely, Dmoore. The detailed explanation of the effects of constipation is a stark reminder of the importance of adequate hydration, fiber intake, and physical activity.

  5. The detailed information provided in this article is commendable. It underscores the significance of being mindful of our bodily functions and seeking professional assistance when necessary. It’s an imperative guide for maintaining good health.

    1. Absolutely, Holmes. The article effectively conveys the importance of understanding and addressing constipation, a common yet significant health concern.

  6. This is a crucial and informative article. It makes you appreciate how essential bodily functions are and the possible consequences of neglecting them. It effectively educates readers on the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and seeks to dispel the myths surrounding constipation.

    1. I completely agree, Dean. The importance of being aware of our pooping habits cannot be overstated, and it helps to reduce the risk of detrimental health conditions like constipation.

  7. While the topic may seem humorous at first, this article is an essential reminder to take our health seriously and recognize the warning signs of constipation early. It’s also a reminder for parents to be mindful of their child’s pooping habits.

    1. Definitely, Lucy. Addressing constipation-related issues promptly is key to maintaining good overall health.

    2. Well said, Lucy. I appreciate the article’s emphasis on consulting a doctor in the presence of constipation symptoms, as early intervention can prevent serious health problems.

  8. An indispensable article that explores the often overlooked issue of constipation and its consequences. It’s an educative piece that emphasizes the importance of a proactive approach to health management.

    1. Precisely, Kcooper. The article effectively sheds light on the health implications of constipation and the significance of adopting a conscientious approach to health management.

    2. Avatar of Sabrina Marshall
      Sabrina Marshall

      Well-stated, Kcooper. The informative nature of this article is invaluable, encouraging us all to prioritize health and seek professional guidance in matters relating to constipation.

  9. This was an insightful read. Understanding the potential consequences of untreated constipation is crucial for everyone. It reminds us to prioritize our health and address any arising health issues without delay.

    1. Absolutely, Tom. The article effectively communicates the seriousness of constipation and its potential adverse effects on our overall well-being.

    2. Indeed, Tom. This article encourages a proactive approach to health management and raises valuable awareness regarding constipation-related health risks.

  10. Avatar of Charlotte Parker
    Charlotte Parker

    This article serves as a vital reminder to be more attentive to our health, including aspects often taken for granted, such as regular pooping habits. It’s an insightful read that underscores the importance of maintaining overall well-being.

    1. Absolutely, Charlotte. The article presents a compelling case for prioritizing health and recognizing the significance of early intervention in matters related to constipation.

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