If you've ever done serious damage at a buffet table or experienced the wrath of food poisoning, you might have found yourself reaching for a trusty pink bottle of Pepto Bismol. This concoction is designed to settle your stomach and tame spasms, but the last thing you need is a bowel blowout when you least expect it.
This leads to an important question: Does Pepto Bismol make you poop? The short answer is: probably not. In fact, it can actually bulk up your stool to the point that it makes it harder to push out (more on that later).
In this article, we’ll break down what Pepto Bismol does to your gut and how it affects your pooping patterns so you’re not caught off guard by any surprises during your next bathroom visit.
Does Pepto Bismol Make You Poop?
No, Pepto Bismol probably won’t make you poop since it’s not a laxative. On the contrary, Pepto Bismol increases the amount of fluid that’s absorbed into your intestines, which thickens your stool.
That’s because of the main active ingredient, bismuth subsalicylate. This stuff reduces inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract and binds to excess water, giving your poop a more solid consistency.
Bottom line: Pepto Bismol does the opposite job of a laxative.
If you’re plugged up and haven’t pooped in a while, there’s a good chance you’re dealing with bloating, cramping, and horrific farts. This might tempt you to take a swig of Pepto to find sweet relief. But that can actually make your constipation worse thanks to Pepto’s antidiarrheal effects.
Instead of Pepto Bismol, take a laxative, increase your fiber intake, and stay hydrated—these should kick your colon into high gear.
What Does Pepto Bismol Do To Your Gut?
In case you forgot their classic jingle from the early 2000s, Pepto Bismol is designed to relieve nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, and diarrhea. Also called “the pink stuff,” Pepto Bismol is an over-the-counter (OTC) medication that’s safe and effective for temporary use.
The scientific name for the active ingredient in Pepto-Bismol is bismuth subsalicylate. Let’s break that down in DUDE language:
- Bismuth is a mineral that has antibacterial, antacid, and antidiarrheal effects
- Subsalicylate is an anti-inflammatory medication in the same class as aspirin
The most popular form of Pepto is the iconic pink liquid, but it also comes in chewable tablets with the same ingredients.
When you take Pepto Bismol, the bismuth subsalicylate coats the lining of your stomach and intestines, forming a protective barrier against irritants and pathogens. It also reduces inflammation, stops spasms, and reduces excess levels of stomach acid.
A single dose of Pepto Bismol usually takes 30-60 minutes to kick in—butt there’s a weird side effect to watch out for on the toilet.
Does Pepto Bismol Turn Your Poop Black?
If you take Pepto Bismol, there’s a decent chance you’ll drop a black turd in the toilet. Black stools happen because of the interaction between bismuth subsalicylate and the sulfur compounds in your gut.
As Pepto Bismol works its way through your digestive tract, it undergoes a chemical reaction that forms sulfide compounds, which add a touch of noir to your otherwise boring bowel movements.
Don’t panic. Pepto’s black poop effect is temporary and you should go back to brown after a day or two.
Aside from changing the color of your crap, common side effects of Pepto Bismol include a black tongue, constipation, and bowel blockage (although that one’s super rare).
Can Pepto Bismol Make You Constipated?
We get it—you bought this pink potion to solve your gut problems. But the unfortunate answer is yes, it’s possible for Pepto Bismol to cause constipation.
The active ingredient (bismuth subsalicylate) is designed to stop diarrhea. Butt sometimes, the medication does an overcorrection and stiffens up your stool to the point that it can’t escape.
Pepto Bismol has absorbent properties and binds to excess fluids in your gut. This is necessary to stop the runs, but it can also make your stool hard and dry. Additionally, the anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties of Pepto can affect the muscle contractions of your intestines. If these contractions slow down, it can slow down the movement of stool through the digestive system, leading to constipation.
Don’t let the potential for getting plugged up scare you away. Everyone reacts differently to Pepto Bismol, and even if you do get constipated, the effects should subside after a day or two.
Pepto Prevents Diarrhea. We Clean It Up.
Pepto Bismol has been stopping diarrhea for more than a hundred years. The pink potion has done more than enough to earn a spot in your bathroom cabinet. But while you’re waiting for it to kick in, you better make sure you’ve got the proper cleanup material on hand for those Hershey Squirts.
Whether you’re dealing with the aftermath of all-you-can-eat wings or just a standard daily dump, your butthole deserves DUDE Wipes. Infused with aloe and vitamin E, these XL wipes don’t just clean your crack—they give it the spa-like treatment it deserves.
Next time you’re at the store picking up Pepto, make a detour to the TP aisle and grab a pack of DUDE Wipes.