What to take when you can

How to Make Yourself Poop

Infrequent bowel movements lead to abdominal pain, a drop in appetite, and bloating If you haven’t had a stool, there are some ways you can help your digestion and make yourself poop Start with the gentler methods and try to adapt your diet and lifestyle If the problem persists talk to your doctor

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Community Q&A

  • Do not be alarmed if you do not poop every day — some people are not as regular as others Maybe your food or fiber intake is low and you don’t eat as much
  • This can be due to a number of reasons, including medications and inactivity Talk with your doctor to see if any medications are causing you to be constipated, such as a painkiller Further, as the article states, consume more fiber and intake more water, and try to exercise daily
  • If you haven’t been able to go after trying these home remedies you may need to see a doctor immediately Make an appointment to discuss your difficulties in moving your bowels
  • You should be concerned for a condition called diverticulitis this occurs when there is outpocketing of the intestinal wall Nuts can get caught up in these outpockets and lead to inflammation Talk with your doctor, and try to eliminate nuts from your diet
  • Yes, because the human body is built to squat when pooping If you look at apes or cavemen (or even humans when pooping in the wild), you will find that they all squat
  • Yes Uterine contractions and hormones on your period can promote constipation or diarrhea
  • No, although your stomach may be a little bloated and you may feel heavy but your body weight won't differ from other times Don't hold it in, and if you're constipated, see the article's suggestions
  • Yes, you should be doing it daily or every other day at most - and it should come easily You may need to change your diet Try to reduce sugars, starchy carbohydrates (breads, chips, cookies, pasta, etc), and unhealthy fats Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, and healthy protein/fat sources like beans, nuts, fish, and chicken breast Once you have a healthy diet in place for a while, that should make your bowel movements more normal If it doesn't, see a doctor
  • Try prunes or prune juice, or maybe an over-the-counter laxative Coffee may also help If these things don't work, consult your doctor
  • Multicolored poop doesn't necessarily mean there's a problem But if you're worried you should consult your doctor

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Your race is in an hour, and you know you've gotta go Here’s how to guarantee a timely Number 2

On a perfect race morning, you’d wake up, have breakfast, and use the bathroom—at least once, maybe twice—and then head to your starting corral feeling great, not worrying whether you’ll have to stop along the way for an emergency Number 2

But sometimes, your routine fails you Maybe you’re traveling and in a different time zone, maybe your diet’s been a little off, or maybe you’ve just got a nervous stomach But some mornings, you just can’t go, no matter how much you know it’s essential for a good run

So what do you do now? We looked at the latest research, and talked with Felice Schnoll-Sussman, MD, a gastroenterologist at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University and a New York City Marathon finisher, to find out Here’s what science says about how to get yourself to go

Many runners swear by their morning cup of joe as the thing that gets their bowels moving—and although scientists aren’t sure exactly why coffee works this way, at least one study has found that it does seem to induce “a desire to defecate” (It’s unlikely that caffeine is responsible, because even decaf coffee had this effectGetting enough fiber is important in the days and weeks before a race for keeping digestion regular and preventing constipation.)

But Schnoll-Sussman says that any warm beverage can help stimulate a bowel movement, including a cup of tea or even hot water “The warm liquid acts as a vasodilator,” she says “It widens blood vessels in the digestive system and helps increase blood flow and GI activity”

Schnoll-Sussman advises runners to drink a hot beverage in the morning and then sit on the toilet for a while “Just the act of sitting there for few minutes can bring on the urge to go, even if you don’t feel like you have to right away”

Physical activity can bring on a bathroom break, which is one reason a warm-up can be so important before a race “Before you head out the door for a hard workout, I would suggest exercising lightly to help stimulate a bowel movement,” Schnoll-Sussman says

If you’re trying to unload in the comfort of your own home or hotel room, try jogging up and down the stairs or doing some jumping jacks or dynamic stretches Already at the race start? Warm up with some strides while you’re still near the porta potties

Use this dynamic warmup to get the most out of your run

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“Make sure you’re getting up early enough on race morning to go through your whole morning routine, including time for the bathroom,” Schnoll-Sussman says People racing in a different time zone, she adds, should try to stay as close to their body’s natural schedule as they can (Need more help? Try out these 8 Tips for Runners with GI Distress)

If you’re from New York and you’re racing in Portland, that might mean getting up and having your breakfast on East-Coast time—even if it’s a few hours before your race On the other hand, if you’re a Californian racing Boston, you’ll already be waking up several hours earlier than you’re used to “That’s a little bit tricker,” Schnoll-Sussman says, “but in this case it’s also important to wake up with plenty of time to spare, so that your body has extra time to digest your breakfast and feel the urge to go”

A recent UCLA study suggests that putting gentle pressure on the perineum—the area between your genitals and anus—may help break up and soften stools for people who have been suffering from constipation

While it’s not yet a common treatment prescribed by doctors (and it wouldn’t be her first line of advice for runners who don’t typically have pooping problems), Schnoll-Sussman says that it may be helpful for people with specific types of blockages or medical conditions “It might be worth a try if you’re in a bind,” she says—and while it will probably be a bit awkward, it certainly can’t hurt

Some runners confess to using glycerin suppositories on particularly desperate race mornings But Schnoll-Sussman would not recommend this, especially if you have never tried one before

“The time it takes for a suppository to take effect is very variable from person to person,” she says “It could work in 15 or 20 minutes, or it could take several hours—so if you do it race morning, you risk having to start the race before it works” If a runner did want to use one, Schnoll-Sussman would suggest using it the night before a race, or at least not trying it for the very first time on race morning

Getting enough fiber is important in the days and weeks before a race for keeping digestion regular and preventing constipation But on race day, consuming more fiber than usual can cause diarrhea, so don’t eat (or drink) large amounts the morning of, especially if you’re not used to it

Staying hydrated is also key—especially if you’re flying on a plane or otherwise traveling “Constipation occurs when the stool is too dry to move through the body easily, so drinking plenty of water can always help move things along,” Schnoll-Sussman says Filling up on H20 the days before your race, and drinking that warm beverage first thing in the morning, is the best way to make sure you’re able to go when you need to

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