In case you’re person who doesn’t like to chat about what happens in the bathroom, take solace in knowing that nervous poops are an IRL thing that affect a bunch of people—in fact, many experts note that there’s a connection between the goings-on in your gut and your anxiety levels. Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon, for one, isn’t afraid to dish about his pre-competition gastro emergencies.
In a recent Instagram post, Rippon candidly and directly addressed the topic. “Embrace your nervous sh*ts. Every hour on the hour, I’m taking a nervous sh*t until I compete. It’s a cross I have to bear,” he said. But considering he took home an Olympic bronze medal from South Korea, it seems the inconvenience didn’t take a toll on the athlete’s performance.
Though Rippon isn’t alone with the nervous-poops #struggle, why exactly do they come about? California-based gastroenterologist Rudolph Bedford, MD, told Self that extreme stress makes your adrenal glands release adrenaline into your bloodstream, which can stimulate the small intestine and colon, leading to lots of bathroom runs. And if you have IBS or another digestive issue, you might be even more susceptible to it happening.
“Trying to deal with your ability to cope with the stressful situation is important. Ultimately, you need to deal with the mental aspects of why you become so anxious in a situation.” —Dr. Rudolph Bedford
Luckily, there are some things you can do to help the problem. First, avoid caffeine and fatty foods, which can act as a trigger. You can also help calm down your body with meditation, yoga, or therapy to help prevent stress from causing those frequent bowel movements. “Trying to deal with your ability to cope with the stressful situation is important,” Dr. Bedford said. “Ultimately, you need to deal with the mental aspects of why you become so anxious in a situation.”
Essentially, keep calm and carry on when you feel your stomach starting to move, and eventually the rumblings might stop happening so frequently.
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