Pooping can have physiological and psychological effects that may feel pleasurable. Passing a bowel movement involves tension in certain muscles. Relaxing the muscles after a motion stimulates the vagus nerve, which may reduce heart rate and blood pressure.
This article explains why pooping may feel pleasurable. It also outlines some of the characteristics of a healthy poop and discusses some of the problems associated with not pooping.
There are several reasons that pooping may feel good. The sections below outline some of these.
Stimulation of the pudendal nerve
Stimulation of the pudendal nerve during pooping may result in feelings of pleasure.
Stimulation of the vagus nerve
Passing bowel movements engages certain muscles in the colon and rectum. Once the body releases poop, these muscles relax, causing excitation of the vagus nerve.
Anecdotally, there may also be a psychological aspect to feeling good after pooping.
The sensation or urge to poop may feel both physically and mentally uncomfortable. Since pooping eases this discomfort, it may make the person feel good.
Although the frequency of bowel movements varies among people, one
Passing regular bowel movements is necessary for cleansing the colon of:
- undigested foods
- waste products
- harmful or excessive bacteria
Passing regular bowel movements also helps clear space in the colon for new fecal matter to occupy.
The primary function of having bowel movements is to remove waste from the body. However, the waste itself can also provide information about a person’s diet and digestive health.
The sections below outline some characteristics that people can use to assess their digestive health.
The consistency of stool can be an indicator of bowel health. One
According to the BSFS, healthy stools are generally solid, smooth, and sausage shaped. The stool releases easily from the bowels and does not require the person to force or strain excessively.
Noticing this type of stool may be an indicator of a good transit time, which is the time it takes for food to exit the body.
Changes in stool consistency may indicate digestive issues. For example, constipation may present as stools that are:
- ball shaped
- tightly packed
- difficult to pass
Stools with the above characteristics may indicate a slow transit time, since the body pulls more water from the poop the longer it sits in the bowels. This may also be a symptom of dehydration.
The color of stool may also provide an indication as to a person’s digestive health. As one
Stool color can change slightly based on factors such as what a person eats.
At other times, color changes may be an indicator of an underlying health issue. For example, bright red, dark brown, or black stool may indicate intestinal bleeding.
Anyone concerned about the color of their poop should contact their doctor.
It is normal for poop to smell somewhat unpleasant. This is due to the presence of certain bacteria and organic compounds in the colon.
However, passing very foul smelling poop can sometimes indicate a reduced ability to digest certain foods. Depending on the individual, this may include dairy products or foods high in fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols (FODMAPs).
An inability to break down certain foods will trigger the release of different gases. This can result in smelly stools, smelly flatulence, and other digestive symptoms.
The average poop size varies from person to person. However, a drastic change in poop size can sometimes signal an underlying health issue.
Although a one-off or temporary change in poop size is typically not a cause for concern, anyone who notices significant and prolonged changes should contact their doctor.
Although the time between poops can vary from person to person, regular pooping is important for a healthy digestive system.
People should try to poop when they feel the urge to do so. They should neither delay nor excessively force a bowel movement, as doing so can lead to complications.
Some other possible complications of delaying pooping include:
Pooping is an essential bodily function that eliminates waste and makes space in the digestive system.
Pooping may feel good for a number of reasons. For example, passing stool involves the contraction and release of certain muscles, as well as the stimulation of certain nerves. Some of these nerves provide pleasurable feelings when activated.
Also, because the urge to poop can feel uncomfortable, the act of pooping releases this discomfort, which may feel pleasurable.
There are individual variations in the consistency, color, smell, and size of poop.
However, anyone who notices a drastic change in their poop or in the frequency of their bowel movements that has no clear cause or does not resolve in few days should contact a doctor. Such changes can sometimes indicate an underlying health issue.