You might be quite familiar with the term “pooped the bed” and might be wondering whether it’s an actual thing and why that is indeed the case.
In fact, I was literally today years old when I found out that your nerves and degree of anxiety you experience even affects your bowel movements in the first place!
So let’s dive right into the topic; why humans poop when they’re nervous and if you are one of those people suffering from this particular problem, what you can do to stop it.
The Physiology Behind Pooping When You’re Nervous
Many of our physiological responses to different situations have evolved over thousands of years. Human beings have not been intelligent species for much of our time on this earth after all! So many of the more prehistoric traits that man used to possess are still part of us psyche to different degrees but still remain nonetheless.
One of these traits is the flight, fight or freeze response. When faced with wild animals in the past, this response would kick in and in an instant, the human mind would have to decide whether to attempt to run away from the predator or fight.
If the situation calls for it, when the predator is much bigger and stronger, (even your ancestors wouldn’t mess with bears!) the flight response would kick in, whereby the release of certain hormones would prompt the need of the body to defecate, sometimes to such an extent that you would do so automatically.
What’s the point of this? Well, removing all solid wastes from your body would make you slightly lighter and make it easier to run away from the predator and the mess that we’d leave behind would deter a lot of predators from making the chase in the first place.
The way this works is high-stress or high anxiety, dangerous situations will cause an immediate response whereby the person experiences a sudden tightening of abdominal muscles beyond the control of the person.
Prehistoric humans were hardwired in such a way that being faced with potentially deadly predators would immediately cause contractions in the abdominal muscles in such a way that would immediately force out everything in your gut and intestines. Every single thing. Every bit of speed advantage counts in the matter of life and death of course!
The Current Advancement
Needless to say, we’re much beyond those years now and have reached a degree of advancement many years ago where we no longer needed these quick defecation techniques to ward off prey and could start wearing clothes!
But many of these physiological responses are left behind as traits in many people and particularly, people with shorter nerves or serious anxiety issues likely still face this during anxiety-inducing situations.
Now before you get too worked up, I should put this out there that everyone’s response to these situations is always the same. Some people get sweaty palms, others will tend to restlessly walk around and then there will be people with an increasing urge to hit the toilets.
So in case you haven’t experienced this at all, more likely than not, it’s not something you will experience so chill out! While muscle contractions are quite common in times of stress or anxiety, they won’t usually lead to an increased desire to poop all the time.
How to Address The Issues (Anxiety in Particular)
But what if you are among the unlucky few people who do suffer from this particular issue? Well, you certainly have my sympathies! Worry not, however; like many other psychological issues, there are different things that can be done in order to deal with this problem.
First of all, the best way to address this is to address the anxiety itself. If you are someone that suffers quite a lot from short nerves and anxiety, consider some counseling with trained psychologists to help you overcome the mental blocks that lead to your anxiety.
Instead of coping with it all the time, taking measures that reduce your anxiety issues will definitely help out a lot more in reducing problems. The urge to poop is entirely a motor function that you do not have control over but it is possible to address the psychological issues leading to it.
While we’re on the topic of addressing the anxiety, also consider starting yoga! The combination of postures and breathing techniques that are employed in yoga will go a long way to help calm and soothe your nerves.
A lot of the issues we experience psychologically manifest in us physically and vice-versa. Improving our breathing and posture is critical in improving our general mental health. People with severe confidence issues tend to have poor posture and short breath as a result.
We can see from this that the issue goes hand in hand and addressing one will help reduce the other quite a bit.
Also consider avoiding common stress eating foods, usually fatty foods and chocolates. Your body has trouble dealing with trans-fats and in times of anxiety, having these foods in your system make you more susceptible to having the urge to do the business.
Particularly avoid spicy food if your stomach can’t handle it! If you’re one to frequent the toilet at times of stress, spicy foods are just going to make things all the more difficult to handle. It won’t necessarily guarantee that you never feel the urge to take a poop when the situation gets tough but it will definitely make it much more likely to happen for sure!
We all have our problems and even though this is definitely one of the more embarrassing ones and is difficult to address, by addressing the source of your anxiety and working on your confidence and diet, you should greatly help your cause and minimize the likelihood of any unwanted pooping incidents while you’re still wearing pants!
So try not to stress too much and seek some help and you should be fine. You might hate this trait but many, many years ago, it’s what kept your ancestors alive and made it possible for you to exist!