Ask Nurse Jenny: What Happens To My Poop When I Don't Go?

m 1+ points - Newb

Marianne asks:

I understand that before a woman's period the hormone progesterone has a quieting effect on smooth muscle contractility, and that gastrointestinal function usually slows to some degree. My question is what happens to the poop when that happens? Does it build up in the body and come out later? Does it get absorbed? I am very weight conscious and don't like the idea of waste sitting around in my body that I can't get rid of - even if it's normal.

Dear Marianne,

The level of progesterone in a woman’s bloodstream drops during the first part of the fourth week of her menstrual cycle. It peaks around day twenty-one and then sharply declines, bottoming out at day twenty-seven, and remains at that level until after the first week of the next cycle. Its levels are exhibited in the thickness of the endometrium, as it makes the endometrium more vascular and glandular. This allows for the uterus to prepare for a fertilized egg by building up a nutrient-rich lining. When the egg is not fertilized, it becomes the corpus luteum, and its presence causes both estrogen and progesterone production to drop and the excess endometrial lining to slough off. Hence, Aunty Flow comes to town.

Progesterone also is credited for lessening uterine contractions. When a woman experiences PMS, she often is suffering from a lack of progesterone. One of the side effects of this is that she might become a bit constipated as the digestive track slows down a bit.

When poop stays around longer than usual, it is stored in the large intestine. The large intestine’s main job is to absorb water for our body. When poop doesn’t move, the large intestine just keeps on doing its job – absorbing water. This is what causes hard feces. Poop is not re-adsorbed into the body, though, because the molecules that compose it are too big to cross the large intestine’s membranes. It absorbs water and different medicines, but not the poop itself. So, set your imagination to rest; your poop is only drying out a bit while it hangs out in your colon, not sneaking its way back into your body.

On a final note, your last comment concerns me. Worrying about bodily functions, excretion, and how much fecal material is inside of the body is characteristic of anorexics and weight obsessive compulsives. If the fact that you haven’t pooped actually bothers you like you say it does, then you might benefit from some type of counseling.

Thanks for asking!

Please be advised that I am only a Poonurse. I am NOT a medical doctor. Any advice I give should be taken moderate skepticism. Please consult a REAL medical doctor if you feel you have a serious medical condition.

-- Nurse Jenny

Nurse Jenny is a registered dialysis technician who cleans blood for a living. She also has raised four beautiful children by herself. She knows poop and every other substance the body excretes.

Got a question for her?

11 Comments on "Ask Nurse Jenny: What Happens To My Poop When I Don't Go?"

pnuttycorn's picture
k 500+ points

I wish I had that problem. I pee outta my butt when Aunt Flo comes to town.

smelly d' poop's picture

my poo becomes softer and copious when i start,and One friggin mess!!

ChiliKahKah's picture
j 1000+ points

After reading of these details above, I remember why I did not go to med school !

MSG's picture
Comment Quality Moderatori 2000+ points

I imagine the normal preventives for constipation would apply: lots of water, fiber, and exercise. Also, heeding the impulse to poop when it comes, rather than putting it off.

runninggrrl2's picture
Comment Quality Moderatork 500+ points

Yeah, if you don't poop regularly, your body just sucks water out of what is in your colon and what you end up with is little rocks of poop that are way painful to pass later. If you take a little milk of magnesia, it'll draw some of the water back into your colon so you can pass what's in there.

An apple a day keeps the ExLax away!

An apple a day keeps the ExLax away!

Anonymous Coward's picture

If you don't poop regularly you're fulla shit. Literally.

Anonymous Coward's picture

If you don't get it out, putresine and cadaverine begin decomposing you from the inside out. Sleep tight.

daphne's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardSite AdminComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatore 6000+ points

Not at the amounts that are present in a few days' poop it doesn't. We aren't talking about chronic constipation here; we are talking about a day or two of having a slow digestive system.

.....hugging bunnies since 1969

.....hugging bunnies since 1969

Raggedmama's picture
m 1+ points - Newb

"Autointoxication is a process by which toxins become reabsorbed into the body instead of being excreted. The digestive tract is a tube that runs through the middle of the body and is a very large way by which we absorb nutrients in our bodies. Even though our digestive tract is a way to absorb nutrients, it can also serve as a seat of toxicity as well since it also the vehicle for toxin elimination. Constipation blocks the ability of the body to rid itself of these toxins and they can be reabsorbed into the bloodstream where are pumped back through our body.
Certain toxins from pathogens like yeast and bacteria are known to cause imbalances in brain chemistry. So when you add these toxins into the mix, they can cause all sorts of problems, including psychological/behavioral. The venous system, called the portal venal system, is responsible for returning blood back to the liver after things have been removed from the digestive tract. However, with constipation issues, particularly in the large bowel, then the toxins that would be eliminated through normal bowel movements are reabsorbed. Those toxins go back to the liver and from there they are sent back out into the bloodstream to circulate over and over which can cause chemical imbalances."

Dr Kurt Woeller

daphne's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardSite AdminComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatore 6000+ points

And again, this type of issue is seen in people with chronic constipation.

.....hugging bunnies since 1969

.....hugging bunnies since 1969

Anonymous's picture

Actually, in rare cases, the body can reabsorb fecal matter. It will cause weight gain, nausea, headaches, and a number of other symptoms.

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