Why Doctors Are Urging TikTok Users To Avoid This Latest Health Trend

Doctors are urging people to avoid participating in a new TikTok trend, or at least not take it too seriously. Known as "No Poop July," the trend involves people filming videos of themselves pretending to not have pooped since the beginning of the month (via NBC News). The TikTok videos show young people, most of whom are men, sweating and pretending to stop themselves from having a bowel movement in a public place. 

While the videos are in jest, doctors are warning TikTok users that it should stay that way. "It's a funny thing to joke about, but it's a potentially serious thing to do," Dr. Steven Miller, a pediatric gastroenterologist at Johns Hopkins Children's Center, told NBC News. That's because preventing yourself from having a bowel movement for days at a time is actually harmful to your gastrointestinal health. Medical News Today reports that it's important to pass a stool when you feel the urge, and not doing so can result in negative health consequences.

What happens if you hold in your poop?

According to Fatherly, holding in a poop for a prolonged period of time can cause the water from the stool to become reabsorbed into the body and back up the colon, which can lead to constipation. As it turns out, however, constipation can cause more than just gas and bloating. It can also cause people to push harder when attempting to pass a bowel movement, resulting in hemorrhoids. In some cases, it can even lead to impaction, which occurs when there is too much stool backed up in the intestines, causing a blockage. This can result in pain and vomiting and will ultimately require emergency medical care.

Another possible outcome of holding in your poop for too long is known as rectal hyposensitivity, which happens when your rectum becomes desensitized, leading to incontinence (via Medical News Today). "When you hold in your poop, these same muscles send a signal to your brain to stop responding and can lead to slower emptying of the colon in the future," Dr. Rebecca Lee, a nursing professor at the University of Cincinnati, told Fatherly. While it's fine to hold in your poop from time to time, it should not become a habit, especially for prolonged periods of time.