A Poopless Month?

l 100+ pointsm 1+ points - Newb

Dear Dr. Adams,

Every so often, a story appears on PoopReport in which the writer discusses constipation lasting weeks or even a month. (Like this or this.) Most readers respond with disbelief. How is it possible to go a month without pooping?

-- Tydirium

Constipation is hard to precisely define. It typically refers to persistent, difficult, infrequent or seemingly incomplete defecation. There are many causes -- commonly inadequate fiber intake, but constipation could also be due to disordered colonic transit as a result of neurologic disorders, drug side effects, or a large number of systematic diseases.

So is it possible for someone to be constipated for a week, or even months?

Constipation associated with difficult or infrequent bowel movements certainly could last for a long time. However, with respect to an absence of bowel movements, this situation is unlikely to last for more than a week.

A person eating a regular diet every day could never go a month -- or even a few weeks -- without voiding several bowel movements. After only one week, this person would have abdominal pain, nausea, and possibly vomiting. Eventually, the vomiting would be of fecal material, and the person would be at risk of intestinal perforation. Both of these situations are dangerous, and require emergent treatment in a hospital setting.

It gets worse. Fecal material sitting in the colon for several days without moving is also dangerous. One adverse outcome is that the feces will irritate the colonic mucosa, eventually creating an ulcer that might perforate the colonic wall. This would lead to a catastrophic fecal peritonitis in the abdomen (with a high mortality rate). This is a stercoral ulcer, and is most commonly seen in elderly, bed-ridden nursing home patients who are typically constipated and may go several days without passing any feces.

So what about a person who is not eating any food? (For example, a hospitalized patient in ICU receiving nutrition via intravenous infusions.) Could this person go weeks to months without voiding stool? Most likely, this patient could go two to three weeks without voiding feces.

Why not longer? Keep in mind that even if we are not eating or drinking, our digestive system is still secreting fluids and mucous into the digestive tract. These fluids (gastric juice, bile, enzymes, mucous) will eventually pass through the alimentary tract and need to be excreted.

So my final thought is that it is nearly impossible for a person to go longer than a month without passing a bowel movement.

Why do I not completely rule out this possibility? The reason is that I have a deep respect for the resiliency and flexibility of the human body. Millions and millions of years of evolution and change have worked to provide each of us with a sophisticated and adaptable body. So even though I do believe that a month without a bowel movement is nearly impossible, I do keep the remote possibility open and attribute this to our wonderful and flexible anatomy and physiology.

Lastly, for any of you who may suffer from constipation, try to drink a lot of water every day. Aim for eight large glasses of water per day. Also, try to limit your intake of fat, and eat a lot of high-fiber foods. If the constipation still persists, a visit to your doctor is in order.

Best wishes,

Dr. Adams

Dr. Adams is a resident in the Department of Internal Medicine at North Shore University Hopsital in Manhasset, NY. Got a question for him?

128 Comments on "A Poopless Month?"

CyberPoop's picture

Dr Adams, you say it "gets worse" after mentioning the possibility of vomiting feces. My god.

Vomiting feces is certainly unattractive.

The Big Wiper's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Quality Moderatori 2000+ points

Yeah, CyberPoop, sounds like a scene from 'The Exorcist,' doesn't it? No, it's worse. All Linda Blair had to deal with was pea soup. Umm, umm, good!

Pulling My Pants Down For Peace, Plop and Posterity!

Jack Scat's picture
m 1+ points - Newb

That'd be cool if it curled out the same way it does out the arse. Unpleasant to be sure, but still fascinating.

LittleLoggerGirl's picture
m 1+ points - Newb

Hmm, I know I've got at least two weeks without pooping, and didn't get violently ill. I just got cold flashes and sweat and shaky. Then again my body's been conditioned in holding it for years so maybe that has something to do with my ability to hold it in for a long time. Who knows.

MP's picture

I've heard many stories of children "holding it" for weeks at a time during potty training and have witnessed this firsthand. Are children different?

Hasta La Turd's picture

Sounds like a severe side effect of eating too much shit.

feces's picture

I used to only poop once a week. My brother and I would do this and yell for the other to come and take a gander (we were 8). It was good fun, but it ended when my bro shat himself in 4th grade.

Snapper's picture
l 100+ points

Sal swears up and down that she went for 2 months with out a dung.

honey_monster's picture

Eughh! Poo vomiting.

The insult "Farty Breath" would never be more apt.

CyberPoop's picture

Hey BW, either way you get something chunky! heh

The Big Wiper's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Quality Moderatori 2000+ points

Yeah. Let's notify Campbell's about an ad campaign.

Grossout City!!!

Pulling My Pants Down For Peace, Plop and Posterity!

Slim Jim Junkie's picture

I heard my friends sister talk about puking shit. She said it was a severe side effect of some medication.

Evan Moore, Ph.D's picture

Complete Info >

Easy Info >

Mandy  Dennard's picture

Dr. Adams, I was wandering why my turds are so large and realy realy stink? Some times I wait a t least 3 weeks before I dump, and does this have anything to do with the load being hard as a rock? I'm afraid my hole is going to split wide open. When it hits the bowl sometimes it sounds like it's going to break it.I stick to a diet of good grease hamburgers and buritos.Also do you have a sugestion on how to keep my dump time under an hour? Thanks my shute realy hurts.

Evan Moore, Ph.D's picture

Mandy: I have no idea what a medical doctor would advise for your condition. But I have a very old nanny goat who suffers from the same symtoms as you. I have found it very helpful to give my nanny an enema of warm water, Woolite, and a little saddle soap. I then use duct tape to hold her anus shut for about 30 minutes so the solution can soften her rock-hard load. Then I massage her utters gently for a few minutes, reach around and gingerly snatch the duct tape from off her blow hole, and let it rip. WARNING: I am not advising this procedure for anyone other than my nanny.

JoeLee's picture

I'am suprised your nanny would allow you to massage her blow hole!!! And for you to have the courage to do so! It's just short of sodomizing, or maybe you should. =)

hisarowaaa's picture

yea i went a month at camp it was painful

poomaster's picture

as a 12 year old on a school camp i held my poo back from Sunday morning to Friday morning. the toilets were disgusting at the camp, brimming with crap and arse paper. the bus arrived on Friday morn to take us home.

by this stage i had very strong stomach pains (no doubt full of poo), and as the other students were boarding the bus i found myself running for the shit filled bowls.

i made it in time and pulled down my strides. it was just one single solid crap, it felt about 15cm in diameter. my arsehole had been ripped open but the relief was also unbelievable.

after that i learnt to feel free to have bowel movements in even the hardest of situations.

California Girl's picture
m 1+ points - Newb

Dr. Adams, I sometimes have the occassional "burning anus". It's when your asshole endures an intense burn. I maintain a healty diet of Mexican bean burritos, greasy spicy Chinese chicken, and nachos with cheese and jalapenos -- all with lots of hot sauce. The shit usually shoots out of my butthole extremely watery and the smell is extremely stinky and horrible. Sometimes I'll be out somewhere in public thinking I have to fart, and instead I get tricked and a stream of shit bursts out, ruining my Victoria Secret thong underwear! What should I do?

Mandy Dennard's picture

Evan Moore:I read your answer to my question,I tried the warm water and woolite enama (couldn't find saddle soap)used dr shoals soap.It shure was a pleasent experance,wish you had been there realy close to squeeze my utters I managed to bust a big load without you though.The first gallon was kind of hard,but it eased up after that.By the way the duct tape didn't hold,I used 2 rolls for nothing.Any way the woolite sure helped the smell.I also found my lost car keys in the first blast.Must be why i have had such an uncomfortable feeling.Now my turds are silky smooth and freshThanks for the advice. p.s. how often should i use this procedure?

Slim Jim Junkie's picture

When I ever had a burning anus, I would get in the showere ASAP, get some soap, and then wash my crack with the soap. Sometimes it works, but sometimes it doesn't.

Evan Moore, Ph.D's picture

Mandy, I'm glad I could be of assistance. Sorry I could not be more helpful in person. Next time, give me advance notice and I'll bring the saddle soap and duct tape. Apparently you bought one of those knock-off brands. You should've used only the 3M regardless of it's cost. And congratulations on finding the car keys. Next time remember to remove them from the cup on your bathroom sink before gargling, dear. As to the udder massage, I forgot to tell you, when you let some country rube perform that task, make sure he uses Cornhusker's lotion so he doesn't abrate you thus causing a case of those dreaded crusty nipples.

Constipated girl's picture

I also have a problem:

If i am constipated, it lasts usually 1-2 weeks. Then out of nowhere I have diarrhea for 2-3 days. I eat right and exercise. Why is this and how can it be cured.

Slim Jim Junkie's picture

well C-Girl, some other girls here said they have the same problem. They called it irritable bowel.

FartSmeller's picture

Be right back, I got a jumper in the door

constipated girl's picture

its not irritable bowel...i asked the doctor...diarrhea is normally at that time of the month. any other ideas?

me's picture


The Shit Volcano's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorh 3000+ points

The longest I've gone without crapping is 10 days. Traveler's constipation.

I found Jesus! He was behind the sofa the whole time!

Poop-O-Matic's picture

I also went 10 days without crapping. It was during Basic Training in the Air Force in San Antonio. I didn't think I'd ever dump again. I had real fear but was willing to risk death before I sought help from the Drill Sergeant!

ughmyasshurts's picture

It is possible cuz I went 31 days without a crap because I was constipated and took poop softners withc mad a shit-load of diureha behind the logger and then I had to goto the hospital and the used like 3 suppositorys to get it out the I had rectal segury cuz I like had a HUGE SWELLING in my arse hole and couldnt crap man what a pain that was lol

Great Emu's picture

I don't know exactly how long I went without shitting, but it was at least 3 weeks. I had intense stomach pain the entire time. When I first realized there was something wrong, I tried drinking water, and eating bran. It all came back up. After a week or so, I could usually hold food and water down. After another 2 weeks, I finally took a dump.

It was an enormous, dry log of crap. It so massive and dense, that it had it's own gravitational field that pulled makeup and shampoo bottles into the toilet.
Ok, I made that part up, but the point is, it hurt. It was a difficult birth, too. Simply pushing would never have been enough. I had to press my fingers against what I believe was a kidney, which was hard as a rock.

Everything's been fine since then.

The Shit Volcano's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorh 3000+ points

I just about fell out of my chair laughing at that one, Great Emu. I know about the shits with their own gravitational pull!

I found Jesus! He was behind the sofa the whole time!

Poopless Perry's picture

I have stick in my butt and it won't come out and it is blocking the poop from coming out of my hole. What do i do doctor? I haven't poop in almost 5 years and it is really becoming a problem. I am bloated like a balloon and i can't feel my brain. HELP ME!!!! It hurts really bad.
Ohh what can i do please help me lady. Thank you even if it can't be fixed. Bye Bye. Shmell ya later poopscicle!!!!!:)

The Shit Volcano's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorh 3000+ points

So why did you stick Al Gore up your ass in the first place?

I found Jesus! He was behind the sofa the whole time!

Malicious Pooper's picture

Five years? --Doesn't believe it-- People don't you think it would've seeped through her skin by now?

poisenous gases's picture

Ive just gone a month without a crap and I swear people can smell the crap cause people I meet frequently talk about rubbish, compost heaps, festering, decomposing, and numerous mentions of the word shit of course. Also I get a lot of people holding and rubbing their noses as if to wipe away a bad whiff and then theirs the coughing I am walking down the street and everyone I seem to pass by starts coughing i got a whiff of it myself and it smelt like ammonia mixed with shit of course - really pungent. Last night at college a poor woman sitting near me held a tissue up to her face the whole evening coughing red eyes gagging and looked really ill by the end of the evening. I feel like staying away from people altogether but I have just been venturing out after being socially phobic and am afraid I might start getting depressed again and start to obsess about my arse and the fear of never shitting again and now the added worry of vomitting shit - not much chance of a love life either unless I meet a feocalfilliac. glad Im not alone with all this anyway, any kind or humorous replies would be appreciated, either way I will keep you updated on my amazing foecal adventure.

FD's picture

when I was younger I had a problem with that, I'd go perhaps 2 - 3 times per month, and when I did it was like a brick. It was extremely painful. It just wouldn't flush, I had to put a plastic bag over my hand and pull it out and toss it in the trash outside. Eventually I developed anal fissures, and the occasional poo wasn't just painful, it was bloody and messy, and I'd leak blood during the day afterwards too, coming home from class with bloody underpants. The doctor prescribed metamucil and some gross foam in a plastic syringe you stick in your anus and ... well you get the idea. hehe. I make sure to be very regular now. :)

M's picture

I haven't shat in at least a month. I just started to get extremely bad abdominal pains tonight. I was sweating, and I almost passed out. I could hardly stand up. I haven't started to vomit yet, although I was very close to doing so just a few minutes ago. I've taken 7 laxitives during the last 5 days. They haven't helped. After this I'm going to attempt to fall asleep, but that will be very hard as my stomach feels like it could explode any second now, so I can phone my mother and ask her to drive me to the hospital. I'm hoping a simple Enema will fix this.

werewolf pooping on trees's picture

Oh God. 7 laxatives??!!! That's terrible! I read in a number of sources that too many laxatives can make constipation worse. You need some help. Literally.

dyson's picture

I get this weird thing where i wont crap when I'm away from home, but as soon as I get home i feel the need to do a really big shit.
I know it's psychological, but I don't know what to do about it. i'm a happy person in general, so i don't know why this effects me.

The Shit Volcano's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorh 3000+ points

This is classic shameless shitting, dyson.

I found Jesus! He was behind the sofa the whole time!

Poopless Pal's picture

Yeah, I've went at least a month without pooping myself. It always happens to me though. I always hear that you should go about once a day and I laugh. I get very sharp abdominal pains, and I'm used to throwing up ever so often. And When I do manage to poop, it is very difficult (obviously) and I can pretty much plan on being on the toilet for the rest of the day. Anywho, yeah.

just a regular pooper's picture

when i went on a school camp when i was 13 (i am now...13 actualy!) it was supposed to be for 5 days so i was pretty woried about the poo situation as mine are pretty stinky and take a while, they are perfectly normal apart from those two embarasing factors!
i did a dump before i left to clear the hole redy for it to fill with crap i ate on camp. the first nite i got WIND which is a sign i need to GO.
second nite and i decided i had to go. but turned out to b inconvient time...cant remember why but i was getin prety desperate by then.
third nite. i had to reely strain now to keep it in wen i peed. had major farts and feeling uncomfortable especialy at nite. luckily my tent-mates wer quite farty so they didnt mind if i had a quiet one...but i had to be careful as im sure uv herd the phrase 'silent but violent.' and violent these farts were getting!!
then came my godsend. the heavens opened, tents blew over, tents leaked, and the big marquee colapsed. so we all had to go home.
i went as soon as i got home. then, the next day, i went an amazing THREE times.
it was a horific experience and i seriously think there should be some kind of group that checks that public toilets are 1st-class standard. maybe there IS, but they sure dont do a good job.
it was only 3 - 4 days so i cant imagine how it feels to hold on for over a month. i hav a week-long ski trip coming up...i just feel sorry for the person who dares enter the hotel toilets after iv been in there...

Chris's picture
m 1+ points - Newb

I once went at least three weeks without pooping. Back in my Army days, I deployed to Kuwait. As a result, I went from a fairly normal diet (for a guy in his late teens) to strictly MRE-based meals.
It's not that I didn't try to poop. I did, but couldn't. As near as I could tell, the heavy preservatives used in the Army's field rations simply kept me from doing so. Either that, or the extreme physical exertion caused my body to absorb nearly everything I ate.

In any case, the compaction never really caused any adverse effects, except my continued amazement that the poops never came.

When I was finally able to squeeze a loaf, it was a half-hour labor of love. That damn thing must have been the hardest, most compacted turd I've ever released. I can still remember the thundering *CLANG!!* it made as it hit the metal bottom of the field toilet.

Thankfully, my movements were a little more regular after that. Still, it wasn't until I got back to the States that things finally settled back into a predictable pattern.

long poop spanner's picture

i have a question, i usally dont take a crap to often, it is common for me to go from within half a week or to a week, i try not to do it because if i do wait a week it will sometimes hurt to crap, but recently my anus started to hurt, it turnes out a bulge was there and hurt a little. i asked my dad who is a doctor and he said it was most likely a external hemroid. my question is, are some hemroids caused by not taking a dump to often? my dad said he would maybe take a look later, but he doesnt know that i take long poo spands. because i dont feel the need to poo right now and i was wondering if the pressure was causing a hemroid.

GottaGoGirl's picture
i 2000+ points

Constipated girl wrote on 09.23.2003:

"...I also have a problem: If i am constipated, it lasts usually 1-2 weeks. Then out of nowhere I have diarrhea for 2-3 days. I eat right and exercise. Why is this and how can it be cured.

That was a long time ago, but I'd like to add that those symptoms can also be a sign of colon cancer. BE VIGILANT ABOUT YOUR POOP!

Logjam's picture
Comment Quality Moderatori 2000+ points

GGG. I've noticed that you take special interest in these medical questions, and that you occasionally have some advice in addition to the standard: Go. See. A. Doctor. Could it be that you are a para-poop-professional and could take on the mantel of our dearly missed PooNurse? Maybe you could take a short night course? Just a suggestion.


kate's picture

last year after being anorexic for 8 months, i decided to start eating regularly again.
which was all fine until...I went 30 days without pooping!!! I was in the hospital almost everynight gettting enemas but they bearly worked...my body was so toxic that I was throwing up all the time...the doctors were in disbelief that someone 17 could be this constipated, my x-rays were remarkable.
anyway after a lot of laxitives I finally pooped but most of what came out was mucas.

Anonymous Coward's picture

You can easily go a month without pooping if you're dead.

Anonymous Coward's picture

I thought I had seen it all when it comes to the net, but today I realised I was wrong when I came across a site about nothing but taking a shit.

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