Why it’s a bad idea not to go to the bathroom

Presse Santé

Sometimes people need to have a stool, but the timing is socially inappropriate, or they are ashamed to have it in a public place. While staying away from the occasional toilet is not dangerous, people who do so may experience constipation or more serious complications.

People who are reluctant to go to the toilet too often may begin to lose the urge, which can lead to intestinal incontinence. Other people may suffer from constipation. Constipation can be very unpleasant and can lead to more serious problems. In this article, we discuss the risks associated with stool retention.

We don’t have to get used to holding back

It is not dangerous to hold the stool once in a while. Sometimes people are not near the toilet or find themselves in a situation where it is inappropriate to go to the toilet. Others are too shy or shy to make a need in a public place and prefer to wait until they return home.

According to a published article, children suffering from constipation may develop a habit of retaining stool to avoid painful stools. Some children may stick to their stools if exercising on a potty seems too difficult.

When people develop bowel retention behaviors, they put their health at risk. People should have stool when their body signals the presence of stool in the rectum. Although timing is not always appropriate, doctors recommend performing stool as soon as the urge arises.

why is it bad?

Avoiding bowel movements can lead to constipation. When this happens, the lower intestine absorbs water from the stool, which accumulates in the rectum. Feces containing less water are more difficult to evacuate because they harden. In more severe situations, this behavior can lead to incontinence or cause serious problems such as stool obstruction (when hard, dry stool gets stuck in the colon or rectum) or gastrointestinal perforation (a hole in the wall of the gastrointestinal tract). ).

Stool retention can also cause dilation or stretching of the rectum. If a person loses sensitivity inside the rectum, called rectal hyposensitivity, episodes of incontinence can occur. The author of the 2015 study suggests that increased fecal burden in the colon can increase the number of bacteria and create long-term inflammation in the colon. This inflammation may increase the risk of colon cancer. Research also suggests an association between stool retention and appendicitis and hemorrhoids.

Children and stool retention

They involuntarily cough at the birth of a baby. When a child begins to go to the potty, they will learn to exercise the need at a socially acceptable time and, if necessary, contain excrement. An older study suggests that potty learning complications occur in about 2-3% of children.

Some children may hold stools after constipation. Remembering painful stools can lead to stool rejection. If the baby continues to retain stool, the lower part of his colon will accumulate until it is full. With repeated restraint, the child may lose rectal sensations, leading to irregularities in his urge to do so. When the rectum is full, softer stools may begin to flow around the accumulated stool. With reduced sensitivity, the child may cough involuntarily.

How long will we last without defecation?

The intestinal regime varies from person to person. Some people have stool every two days, others have it several times a day. The frequency of stool depends on a person’s age and diet, but most people cough one to three times a day.

Changing the emptying schedule may indicate constipation. These changes are subject to individual differences. For example, in people who usually have stools every three days, normal, well-formed stools that occur once a week may not require medical attention. People should have stool when their body signals the need for stool. If the timing is inappropriate, try to empty it as soon as possible.

There have been reports of extreme cases in which stool retention due to constipation or physical exertion has led to serious complications. In another example published in BMJ Case Reports, a man was paralyzed on one leg and suffered from abdominal compartment syndrome (a life-threatening condition resulting from increased pressure in the abdomen) due to severe constipation.

When to consult a doctor

Although it can be difficult to monitor the progress of a young child’s stool, parents or caregivers should consult a pediatrician if they see signs of stool retention in the child. A pediatrician can help them teach their child the right behaviors and toileting habits.

People who suffer from constipation because they regularly hold their stools can consult a pharmacist on how to prevent constipation. Pharmacists can recommend the most suitable over-the-counter laxatives. When a person loses a rectal feeling, he needs medical help.


People may delay bowel movements because the timing is socially inappropriate or because they are not close to the bathroom. Occasional detention is not dangerous, but if it becomes a habit, it can have health consequences. Constipation is common in people who hold back. Children who have suffered from constipation sometimes develop this restraint behavior to avoid the pain associated with hard stool excretion. In the most severe cases, people who chronically retain stool may lose the urge to have stool or develop severe bowel complications.

* Presse Santé strives to impart health knowledge in a language accessible to all. IN NO EVENT can the information provided replace the advice of a healthcare professional.

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