Pooping has all kinds of benefits, from flushing waste to making space in your digestive system. But if we’re being honest, one of the best perks of pooping is that it feels good.
There are few pleasures that rival the ecstasy of dropping a fat deuce. In fact, gastroenterologist Anish Sheth coined a name for this phenomenon: poo-phoria (you can read about it in his book What’s Your Poo Telling You?)
While the anus is arguably the nastiest crevice of the human body, it also has one of the highest concentrations of nerve endings. So if you find pooping exceptionally pleasurable, it’s not your imagination—there’s science behind that sensation.
Let’s unpack three reasons why pooping feels so damn good (and why it might hurt).
Three Reasons Why Pooping Feels Good
There isn’t a ton of medical literature surrounding the joys of taking a dump. However, there are a few hypotheses that can explain poo-phoria.
1. Pooping Stimulates the Nerves in Your Anus
When you have a bowel movement, it engages the muscles in your colon and rectum. Once your poop comes out, the muscles relax which stimulates two nerves in your nether regions.
First up is the vagus nerve, which runs from your brainstem through your gastrointestinal tract to your colon. The vagus nerve regulates several bodily functions including your heart rate, blood pressure, sneezing, puking, and pooping. Stimulation of the vagus nerve during a large dump may give you goosebumps and drop your blood pressure, causing a super-relaxed sensation.
Beware though: overstimulating the vagus nerve can trigger “defecation syncope,” the official term for fainting on the potty. This can happen if a person is constipated and strains themselves, causing a dangerous drop in blood pressure. Bottom line: don’t push so hard.
Pooping also stimulates the pudendal nerve, which is the primary nerve in the perineum, AKA your gooch. The pudendal nerve carries sensations from the penis to the brain and controls the anal sphincter, which may explain that oh-so-good feeling from pooping.
2. Pooping Relieves Abdominal Pain
The more you eat, the more your colon expands. Meanwhile, the muscles in your gut (namely the anal sphincters) tense up so feces don’t sneak out of your b-hole before you reach the bathroom.
When you finally have a bowel movement, the stretch receptors in your colon relax along with your abdominal muscles. Releasing all of that tension feels pleasurable, kind of like the relief you feel after a massage. This is also part of the reason why farts feel awesome too.
3. Pooping Can Stimulate Your Prostate
For those who aren’t well-acquainted with their dude parts, the prostate is a walnut-sized gland located between the penis and the bladder. It secretes fluid that protects and nourishes your sperm, but can also be a source of immense pleasure, hence its nickname: the male G-spot or “P-spot.”
Your prostate is surrounded by sensitive nerve endings, and since it’s just in front of the rectum, a hefty turd might be enough to give you some unexpected pleasure. Pooping isn’t the only way to stimulate your P-spot though. That’s what prostate massages are for, which can help you achieve the infamous prostate orgasm, or pro-gasm.
What If Pooping Hurts?
Bowel movements aren’t always as euphoric as we’d like them to be. In fact, they can be painful sometimes. Here are a few potential reasons why it hurts to poop:
- You ate spicy food: Hot foods are notorious for causing burning poops.
- Hemorrhoids: These are chronically swollen blood vessels that get irritated when you poop or wipe your butt.
- Constipation: Holding in your poop for too long can turn your stool hard, dry, and chunky, causing pain when you try to push it out.
- Medical conditions: Problems that affect the digestive tract including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, and ulcerative colitis can all lead to discomfort during bowel movements.
- Anal fissures: These tiny tears feel like a papercut on your butt hole and can hurt when you pass poop.
- A chapped rear: Wiping with dry toilet paper can cause the dreaded polished anus syndrome, symptoms of which include an itchy or potentially bloody b-hole.
If you can’t get your bowel movements to stop hurting, reach out to your doctor for medical advice.
Don’t Ruin Your Poo-Phoria With Toilet Paper
Pooping is a sacred ritual, and a pleasurable one too as we’ve learned. Unfortunately, many poor souls unnecessarily punish themselves by scraping their sensitive undercarriage with glorified sandpaper—AKA toilet paper.