We Tried TikTok's Spicy Orange Hack To Poop Instantly. Here's How It Went

Getting things moving in the bathroom usually involves caffeine for me. A nice hot cup of coffee in the morning, typically hazelnut or caramel-flavored, has worked almost every single time. 

Even so, I apparently like trying viral TikTok poop hacks to poop in just minutes, so when I stumbled on a post by Bethany Ugarte-Cameron (who goes by the name lilsipper_official) involving oranges, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon powder, I thought, why not? For someone who loves all things spicy, there was added motivation from the moderately hot chili pepper, which has capsaicin as its active ingredient. The tip is to slice a whole orange into wedges, coat one wedge in generous amounts of cinnamon and cayenne pepper powder, and consume the slice, skin and all. According to Ugarte-Cameron, who promotes irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)-friendly content on her social media platform, this constipation hack works in just five minutes. "Every time I share this, I get messages thanking me, and it works about 95% of the time. So if you're needing a little push, try this constipation hack and wait five minutes ... It's cheap, effective, and works fast." 

I wasn't technically constipated, but I wanted to see if this hack could replace my morning coffee's job. I had all the ingredients I needed at home, so instead of turning to caffeine, I ate the cayenne pepper and cinnamon-coated orange wedge. On top of not tasting great, the hack didn't seem to work. Let's just say I waited not five, but 15 to 30 minutes before finally relenting and having a cup of coffee to get things moving. 

Here's how the spicy orange TikTok hack is supposed to work

There's a reason behind choosing the three ingredients, according to TikTok user Bethany Ugarte-Cameron. Oranges, a low FODMAP fruit considered safe for people with IBS, contain naringenin, a natural flavonoid thought to have laxative properties. In fact, a 2018 study done on mice and published in the International Journal of Molecular Medicine found that naringenin was positively associated with relieving loperamide-induced constipation in the subjects. Loperamide is a medication used to treat acute diarrhea. 

"Cayenne pepper and cinnamon contain capsaicin, which trigger your TRVP1 receptors (located in your mouth and also throughout your body and GI tract) and stimulate your GI tract — making things move through quite fast," added Ugarte-Cameron in the caption of her post. 

It is unclear why exactly we're being asked to consume the rind of the orange, but I can only assume that it's because the orange (well-washed before consumption, of course) contains a higher concentration of fiber, vitamin C, and other plant compounds beneficial for digestive and overall health. Vitamin C has been associated with bowel evacuatio,n while fiber makes you poop by pulling water into your stools and adding volume and softness to it. 

With that said, just because the hack didn't work for me doesn't mean it won't work for someone else.

Should you try this hack to poop?

Experts think that you can try this hack with minimal concerns, but there are some things to keep in mind. Pesticide residue on the orange peel is one, which can be eliminated to some extent by washing the fruit well in hot water. The rind can also be hard to digest for some, causing cramps and bloating. Plus, the taste isn't appealing, with the aftertaste of all three ingredients lasting long.

According to registered dietitian nutritionist Lauren Manaker (via Eating Well), while your TRPV1 receptor (not TRVP1 receptor), which does the job of helping your body recognize heat and pain, is activated by capsaicin, there is no definite science behind it stimulating your GI tract. Another concern with capsaicin is that it could cause stomach cramps, burning, and rectal pain in people with IBS. As for the laxative effects of naringenin, it should ideally be tested on humans before definite conclusions are drawn, say experts.

Also, the fiber content in the orange peel is unlikely to make you poop instantly. As explained by registered dietitian nutritionist Danielle VenHuizen (per Health), "For a person prone to constipation, there is no way that eating a high-fiber food is going to produce immediate effects ... While fiber can promote regularity, it takes hours for fiber to reach the colon and help alleviate constipation." That might explain why it didn't work on me. Fret not, though, as there are surely many other genius ways to get yourself to poop instantly