The Reason We Poop More When It's Hot Outside

Your poop habits can say a lot about you and your health. But as it turns out, they can also be influenced by the weather. Perhaps you've heard of people experiencing constipation when it's hot outside, possibly because they were dehydrated and not taking in enough fluids to offset all the sweating. 

But did you know that the hot weather could also be causing you to poop more ? If you find yourself wondering how often you should really be pooping during the summer months — perhaps because you've been sitting on the toilet seat more frequently — this may actually have something to do with what you're eating, among other things. 

"Especially in the summer, people typically consume more fruits and vegetables because they're more accessible and affordable, and tasty," shared registered dietitian nutritionist and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dr. Julie Stefanski (via Everyday Health). The increased fiber intake resulting from this increased consumption could, in turn, cause more trips to the bathroom.

Alcohol and other sugary beverages could be to blame

During the summer, many are eager to go out and socialize after spending months mostly being indoors. Summer usually comes with parties and get-togethers, and admittedly, nothing says party like alcohol. Be wary, though: Drinking too much can have negative consequences for your poop patterns, especially if you aren't making sure that you're balancing out the dehydration caused by hot weather and alcohol consumption by drinking plenty of water. 

"Summer is all about getting together and enjoying ourselves, and an alcoholic beverage is one way to do that. But remember a lot of alcohol can give people diarrhea," New York-based internist and gastroenterologist Dr. Niket Sonpal told Well+Good, adding that his patient came up with the non-medical term DADS ("day after drinking sh*ts") to refer to it. 

Even if you don't drink alcohol, overconsumption of coffee-based drinks or fruit juices can cause diarrhea, too. The naturally occurring fructose in fruits, the artificial sweeteners found in sodas, the caffeine in iced coffees, and even fried foods (which also go hand in hand with outdoor summer activities) can also contribute to diarrhea, per Harvard Health

Trying different kinds of foods at outdoor festivals and events, another hallmark of summer, may also lead to bowel movement irregularity. Diarrhea brought on by foodborne illness is particularly common when it's hot outside, as food that has been under the sun for an extended period of time can become ideal places for bacteria to thrive. 

Heat exhaustion can also affect bowel movement frequency

According to a 2022 study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, researchers found a significant link between increased symptoms of IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) and gastrointestinal issues during extreme heat waves (via Live Science). Over a period of five years (during which 17 heat waves were recorded), 738 people with IBD and 786 people with infectious gastroenteritis were admitted to Switzerland's University Hospital of Zurich with flare-ups. Study author and gastroenterologist Dr. Christine Manser told Live Science that the extremely hot weather could induce physical stress and even alter the bacterial makeup of the GI tract. Moreover, diarrhea is one of the symptoms of heat exhaustion, which is when the body drastically loses salt and water after prolonged exposure to severe heat (per WebMD).

Summer also usually means travel. Travel-induced disruption of sleep patterns and stress hormones caused by planning and traveling can cause bowel movement irregularities, shared gastroenterologist Dr. Chris Damman (per Everyday Health). To remedy the negative effects of summer on your body (including your bowels), make sure to stay properly hydrated; opt for water instead of sugary beverages. You should also avoid spending long hours in the hot sun.