What are the effects of delaying bowel movements

What happens when you hold your poop?

During a recent trip to Manali, which typically takes 8 to 10 hours, I encountered a sudden urge to use the restroom while in transit. Despite my reluctance to relieve myself anywhere other than a proper facility, I chose to postpone until reaching Manali. This decision was influenced by my habit of withholding bowel movements and urination while traveling. However, I later learned that holding in feces is not advisable.

While defecation is a natural bodily process, it’s not always convenient to do so on demand. There are occasions when holding in stool becomes necessary, but the impact on health can vary.

Let’s dive deeper

When feces make contact with certain areas of the rectum, it triggers a signal to the brain, indicating the need to find a suitable place for defecation. However, the response time to these signals varies among individuals. Typically, these signals occur after eating, as certain foods act as natural intestinal stimulants and regulate digestive enzymes.

If you hold your poop for two hours

Initially, individuals may experience abdominal pressure and cramping when they need to defecate. While some people can tolerate these symptoms, others feel a greater sense of urgency. However, resisting the urge to defecate and enduring the cramps can lead to severe gastrointestinal issues.

If you hold your poop for six hours

Prolonged periods of holding in stool, such as six hours, can lead to constipation. Despite not feeling the immediate urge to defecate, this practice can alter the consistency of stool and result in constipation.

If you hold your poop for twelve hours

Continuing to hold in stool for extended periods, such as 12 hours, exacerbates constipation as the stool becomes harder. With the feces still present in the colon, attempting to pass it can lead to discomfort, potentially causing bleeding and painful anal fissures.

If you keep holding it for longer durations

Persistent retention of feces may necessitate the use of laxatives or, in some cases, manual removal. Should laxatives prove ineffective, manual intervention might be required to address the issue.