We all poop, and we all basically have a general idea of what makes us poop. Obviously, digested food goes somewhere, right? And you’ve grown up with enough jokes about prunes, beans, and the importance of fiber to get an idea that some foods are a lot more likely to make us, er, regular, than others. Hell, we all basically grew up watching commercials featuring Jamie Lee Curtis selling Activia, which I only know as the poop yogurt.
So, sure, we know a lot about what makes us poop, and even a little bit about what makes it hard for us to poop (don’t act like you’ve never been constipated, especially after eating a ton of junk food). But there are plenty of things out there–from the foods we eat, to the activities we’re into that can also trigger some digestive regularity or upset that you don’t know about. In fact, you might just do some of these things every single day and have no idea that they’re responsible for your urgent need to “haul ass to the ladies [room].” So, without further ado, check out these seven things you do that make you poop, from that latte, to your exercise routine, and everything in-between.
MenstruationBecause cramps aren't enough, that time of the month also means poop city for many of us. But why do we have to poop so much during our periods? One word: prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are essentially the chemical signals responsible for telling the uterus to contract. When uterine contractions happen at the end of the menstrual cycle, the uterine lining--which has been thickening over the course of a month or so--breaks down. Tada, you've got your period, probably with a side of cramps. But here's the thing: prostaglandins signals can trigger contractions elsewhere, too. Enough of them can even reach the bowel, and when the bowel contracts, you get poop, poop, and more poop. Congrats! Carrie
Eating BreakfastYour body's colon is most active in the morning, which means that it's prime pooping time. Throw some food into the mix--especially if it's high fiber like oatmeal or cereal--and you have a morning poop session in the works. So, if you've noticed that your urge to go number two increases after you've had a little something to eat in the morning, that's why. Daria
CoffeeCoffee contains caffeine, and caffeine is a diuretic; in other words, it'll make you pee. But there's another feature often attached to coffee drinking: Needing to poo, really badly. Whether you've heard jokes about the post-Starbucks bathroom rush, or you've experienced it yourself, it's important to know that while coffee induced pooping is a reality, caffeine erroneously becomes the scapegoat. Believe it or not, caffeine isn't what causes coffee poops. In fact, even decaf makes people poop. The truth is that there's a compound in coffee that can trigger a variety of gastric weirdness. Other factors, like the time of day that you drink coffee as well as gender (women have more poop woes!) also play a roll. iStock.com
ExercisingExercising makes everything better, and that includes your bowel movement regularity. Exercise increases blood flow throughout your body, including your intestines. This increased blood flow to that region can trigger intestinal contractions, and before you know it, you've gotta go. Plus, exercising doesn't just tone your body, it also tones your colon (yes, really) which can help make poop flow through it easier. Pinterest
StressStress can do a number on our bodies, and our poop flow. While stress might cause some people to experience constipation, others actually poop more and can even experience diarrhea. So, this begs the question: How do your poops react to stress? Fresh Meat
MedicationIf you're taking prescription medication, it's always important to check out the side effects. Sure, some of it is scary and includes very rare, worst-case-scenario situations that you will probably never experience. But don't ignore the more benign side effects that are a lot less problematic but are a lot more likely to actually happen to you. One of those pesky little side effects might include diarrhea, which can be super inconvenient if you end up having explosive bowels every time you take your medicine. But knowledge is power, so if you take medicine daily, pay attention to what it does to your poop. You might be able to plan your day (or escape plans) a little more strategically if you know what to expect. iStock.com
Drinking A Lot Of WaterIf you drink a good amount of water on a regular basis, congrats, your stools love you. But in all seriousness, water helps move your poop through your colon, which helps ward off constipation. So, if you're in a pinch, chugging water probably won't help you poop, but drinking plenty of it every day, your body will thank you...including in poop form. iStock.com
Is there anything weird that triggers your urge to go number two? Tell us in the comments, we love a good TMI session!