Why is it a bad idea to refrain from going to the bathroom

Why is it a bad idea to refrain from going to the bathroom
Written by madishthestylebar

Sometimes people need to have a bowel movement but the timing is socially inappropriate, or they are embarrassed to have it in a public place. While holding back from going to the bathroom occasionally isn’t dangerous, people who do in the habit of doing so may experience constipation or more serious complications.

People who hold back from going to the bathroom too often can start to lose urges, which can lead to bowel incontinence. Other people may suffer from constipation. Constipation can be very uncomfortable and can lead to more serious problems. In this article, we discuss the risks associated with stool retention.

We don’t have to get into the habit of holding back

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

According to a published article, children who suffer from constipation can develop the habit of withholding their stools to avoid painful stools. Some children may hold their stool if they find potty training too difficult.

When people develop bowel retention behaviors, they put their health at risk. People should have a bowel movement when their body signals the presence of stool in the rectum. Although the timing is not always appropriate, doctors recommend having a bowel movement as soon as possible, 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 that accumulates in the rectum. Stools containing less water are more difficult to evacuate because they become hard. In more serious situations, this behavior can lead to incontinence or cause serious problems, such as fecal impaction (when a mass of hard, dry stool gets stuck in the colon or rectum) or gastrointestinal perforation (a hole in the wall of the gastrointestinal tract).

Withholding stool can also cause the rectum to become distended, or stretched. If the person loses sensation inside the rectum, called rectal hyposensitivity, they may experience episodes of incontinence. The author of a 2015 study suggests that an increased fecal load in the colon can increase bacteria counts and create long-term inflammation in the colon. This inflammation can increase the risk of developing colon cancer. Research findings also suggest links between stool retention and appendicitis and hemorrhoids.

Children and stool retention

At birth, babies poop involuntarily. When a child begins potty training, he learns to relieve himself at a socially acceptable time and to hold back his excrement when necessary. An older study suggests that potty training complications occur in about 2-3% of children.

Some children may hold stool after being constipated. The memory of painful stools can lead to a refusal to defecate. If the child continues to hold stool, the lower part of his colon will build up until it is full. With repeated restraints, the child may lose his rectal sensations, which leads to irregularities in his urge to do. When the rectum is full, softer stools may begin to flow around the accumulated stool. With reduced sensation, the child may poop involuntarily.

How long can we go without defecating?

The bowel schedule varies from person to person. Some people have a bowel movement once every two days, while others have it several times a day. The frequency of bowel movements depends on a person’s age and diet, but most people poop between one and three times a day.

A change in the bowel schedule may indicate constipation. These changes are subject to individual differences. For example, in people who usually have a bowel movement once every three days, a normal, well-formed bowel movement occurring once a week may not require medical attention. People should have a bowel movement when their body signals the need to have a bowel movement. If the timing is inappropriate, try to have a bowel movement as soon as possible.

There have been reports of extreme cases where withholding stool due to constipation or physical exertion has led to serious complications. In another example published in BMJ Case Reports, a man was paralyzed in 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 track 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. The pediatrician can help them teach the child the proper behaviors and habits for going to the bathroom.

People who suffer from constipation because they regularly hold back stool can consult a pharmacist for advice on how to prevent constipation. Pharmacists can recommend the most appropriate over-the-counter laxatives. When a person loses rectal sensation, they need medical attention.


People may hold back their bowel movements because the timing is socially inappropriate or because they are not near a bathroom. Occasional retention is not dangerous, but if it becomes a habit, it can have health effects. Constipation is common in people who hold themselves back. Children who have suffered from constipation sometimes develop this withholding behavior to avoid the pain associated with passing hard stools. In the most severe cases, people who chronically withhold bowel movements may lose the feeling of urge to pass or develop serious bowel complications.

* Presse Santé strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the advice of a health professional.

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