Yep, Pooping Can Make Your Eyes Water — Here’s Why

Closeup female hand picking a white tissue from tissue roll in the restroom.

File this under things you didn’t think you’d read about today: Poop crying. Because, apparently, it’s a real phenomenon.

There’s no research on the connection, but there’s enough people asking: Why do I cry when I poop? Especially when you dive into the archives of Reddit. As one brave soul dared to ask: Is it strange that tears stream down my face every time I poop? Another said it’s an automatic response that a tear rolls down their cheek when they go.

And, to be clear, these people say it happens in the absence of straining. It’s not pain, they say. It’s not that hemorrhoids are making things supremely uncomfortable. Sometimes it’s after a “monster poop.” As one commenter said: “People just don’t understand emotional pooping.”

Indeed, that’s what might be going on here.

“Some people do have such a sense of relief that they might tear up from having a bowel movement. The process of evacuating and relieving that pressure can sometimes cause that to happen,” suggests Justin Maykel, MD, Chief, Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery at UMass Memorial Medical Center.

That may be especially true if you have bowel issues to begin with, including difficulty defecating or — the opposite — extreme urgency that makes waiting even a few seconds to go a challenge.

Even though poop-criers say they’re not welling up because of constipation, we still have to have that talk, because it can get bad enough that it can really make you cry.

“Some people push so, so hard trying to have a bowel movement that it can even cause bleeding,” Dr. Maykel says. But if you’re not exactly in pain, the pressure of tightening up your body in an effort to try to push out a BM can still force out a few tears.

Poop crying or not, it’s important not to spend excessive amounts of time on the toilet — or use bathroom time as an opportunity to score alone time and read on your phone, Dr. Maykel says.

If stools are large and hard — and there is that sense of immense and overwhelming relief at successfully going number two — then the basics of BM health, including drinking lots of water and increasing fiber intake, may make the whole process go a lot smoother, he says.

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