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What Causes People To Poop Right After Eating?

Discussion in 'Gastroenterology' started by Dr.Scorpiowoman, Jan 3, 2020.

  1. Dr.Scorpiowoman

    Dr.Scorpiowoman Golden Member

    May 23, 2016
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    People may sometimes feel the urge to poop immediately after eating. When this happens, the person may feel as though the food is passing straight through them. However, this is not the case.


    In fact, it can take 1–2 days before food finishes its journey through a person's digestive tract. Therefore, a person who poops shortly after eating is likely to be passing food that they ate a day or two earlier.

    The most likely cause of needing to poop right after eating is the gastrocolic reflex. This reflex is a normal involuntary reaction to food entering the stomach. However, the intensity of the gastrocolic reflex can vary among individuals.

    In this article, we outline what happens during the gastrocolic reflex and discuss the conditions that can increase its intensity. We also explain the dietary and lifestyle factors that can help reduce the urge to poop right after eating.

    Why does it happen, and is it normal?

    It can take 1–2 days for food to pass through the digestive tract.
    The gastrocolic reflex, or gastrocolic response, is a normal involuntary reaction to food entering the stomach.

    When food enters this organ, the body releases a hormone that causes the colon to contract. These contractions move previously eaten food further through the digestive system, which can result in the urge to pass stool.

    For some people, the gastrocolic reflex is mild, causing no symptoms. For others, the gastrocolic reflex is intense, and the urge to poop after eating can be particularly severe.

    Conditions that can affect the gastrocolic reflex
    Certain health conditions can affect the gastrocolic reflex. For example, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can cause a person's digestive tract to move food through their system at a much faster rate.

    Other conditions that could cause a person to pass stool more quickly than average include:

    • food allergies and food intolerances
    • anxiety
    • gastritis
    • celiac disease
    • inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
    • Crohn's disease
    Each of the above conditions may increase the intensity of the gastrocolic reflex, resulting in an urge to poop soon after eating. They may also give rise to additional digestive symptoms, such as:

    • bloating that subsides after passing gas or stool
    • a frequent need to pass gas
    • abdominal pain or discomfort
    • mucus in the stool
    • diarrhea
    • constipation
    • alternating diarrhea and constipation

    Gastrocolic reflex vs. fecal incontinence
    Diarrhea is a possible cause of fecal incontinence.
    Another potential cause of feeling the urge to poop is fecal incontinence. The condition may range in severity from mild to a complete loss of bowel control.

    Fecal incontinence is relatively easy to differentiate from the effects of an intense gastrocolic response to food. Specifically, fecal incontinence can occur at any time. It does not only occur after eating.

    A person may develop fecal incontinence for several different reasons, including:

    • diarrhea
    • nerve damage in the rectum
    • damaged muscles in the rectum
    • damaged rectal walls
    • rectocele
    • rectal prolapse
    People who are concerned that they may have fecal incontinence should visit their doctor for a diagnosis. A doctor can explain the many different ways to treat and manage fecal incontinence.

    A change in diet may help treat an intense gastrocolic response.
    Some foods are more likely than others to cause an intense gastrocolic response. These include:

    • fatty or greasy foods
    • dairy products
    • foods high in fiber
    Keeping a food diary can help a person identify foods that may be intensifying their gastrocolic response. The diary should contain a record of the foods that the person eats, as well as their digestive response to the foods.

    Once the person has identified a possible trigger food, they should temporarily avoid the food to see whether their symptoms improve.

    Managing stress

    For some people, stress can increase the intensity of the gastrocolic reflex. These individuals may benefit from activities that help reduce stress. Examples include exercise and meditation.

    Passing stool immediately after a meal is usually the result of the gastrocolic reflex, which is a normal bodily reaction to food entering the stomach.

    Almost everyone will experience the effects of the gastrocolic reflex from time to time. However, its intensity can vary from person to person. Certain lifestyle factors can help reduce the urge to poop following a meal.

    People should see a doctor if they frequently experience diarrhea or other gastric symptoms following a meal. These symptoms could indicate an underlying health issue that requires medical attention.


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