Playful, elegant, and not above the judicious use of the word “shit."

Every comment should include the word “poop”

So it’s time to talk about some of the good things going on around here in regards to feedback I get from this site because my chi or my energy or whatever is all so negative lately that my four day pooping streak SUDDENLY ENDED. And just let me start by saying that I don’t remember the last time I pooped four days in a row. Maybe never? Jon may be mad at me for publishing this, but he is a day-to-day pooper. I married a man who considers it a problem when he goes more than 24 hours without a shit. Obviously our marriage works only because my poop and his poop cancel each other out.

I call him when I poop, he calls me when he doesn’t poop.

The other day I went to my New Faux P.O. Box and found a little pink slippy thing that told me I had an oversized package I needed to pick up. I nearly pooped my pants, and this was before the four day streak had even started! A package! For me! This was in addition to some awesome things I have already received, including lots of cool postcards and letters from around the world, places like New Zealand, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, Texas, Maryland, Washington D.C., and Australia. I got a “More Cowbell” lapel button from Ali in Virginia, and a lovely woman named Tess even sent me the Justin Timberlake CD (I actually did pee my pants when I opened that package). Alas, no where in the liner notes is he naked. That’s when the pee traveled back up my pants leg and into my bladder.

I opened the oversized package before I even got back to the car — I set Leta on the curb and hoped she wouldn’t fall over into the street, because I was drunk and had knives in my hand, and I was listening to Satan on my MP3 player, don’t say I can’t multitask! — and inside was the “Jeopardy!” Quiz Book 2, and my new bedside companion, Put Hemorrhoids & Constipation Behind You, from a another lovely woman named DeAnn. This is the best book ever written because there are illustrations inside that show how to insert suppositories correctly and which is the best position to sit on the toilet for prime poopage.

At least once a week I get an email from someone who tells me that the reason I am so constipated is because of my horrible diet, that my horrible diet is going to kill me and my daughter. Did you know that all I eat are pop tarts and Doritos? IT SAYS SO RIGHT THERE ON THE INTERNET. Here is lesson number one in today’s entry: 1) Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet. In addition to pop tarts and Doritos, I eat small kittens for lunch. You wouldn’t know that unless you knew me, unless I had come out and said so right here on my website. I EAT SMALL KITTENS.

The truth is (can you handle the truth?) I have a pretty healthy diet. I indulge in Doritos about once a month for lunch on a Saturday afternoon with my husband outside on the porch. Jon and I share pop tarts in the morning, and I rarely finish mine. The pop tart complements our glass of orange juice and a small portion of a whole wheat bagel. I eat a high fiber, whole grain lunch, and for dinner we usually have lean meats and a green vegetable. Yes, occasionally we’ll eat pizza, and yes, I will give half of my piece to the dog, but when someone says, “My favorite food is ice cream,” THAT DOESN’T MEAN THEY EAT ICE CREAM FOR EVERY MEAL.

My constipation goes deeper than my diet. I don’t know how deep it goes, perhaps all the way to my toes, but I have to follow a pretty strict regimen to stay regular, a regimen including weekly exercise and a specific amount of water intake a day. I also get a lot of email asking me for advice on constipation wondering what I did during pregnancy to curb it and what I do know to make sure the poop flows. So in addition to thanking DeAnn for the book and everyone else for the wonderful things they have sent me in the mail, I wanted to take this post and help out those people whose bottom systems are giving them problems.

Lesson number two in today’s entry comes from the constipation book: 2) Did you know that you’re supposed to be able to poop in less than two minutes? IT SAYS SO IN THE BOOK, MEN. The optimum time from urge of evacuation to actual elimination should take no longer than SIX MINUTES! Which means you shouldn’t have to take in any reading material. I have never in my life known a male who can poop in under 30 minutes, who doesn’t have to take in an entire year’s worth of MacWorld to see him from start to finish.

I’m leaving comments open on this post and I’m asking for your advice! GOD! I’m so confusing! First I say, no advice, and now I’m asking for it. Think of it as a discussion. How do you stay regular?

(p.s. I went to my mailbox today and got another over-sized package, a beautiful picture book of pictures taken from this site and professionally bound, and I don’t know who sent it to me. Did you send it to me?)

(p.p.s. I should point out that the four day streak of consistent pooping has everything to do with the soybeans we’ve been eating every night for the past week. I love edamame!)

  • Curious about something, when you drank a lot of booze (assuming you once did drink a lot of booze) did you poop better? I have come up a with a half-assed (pun not intended) theory about booze and shit as of late.

    This is an equal opportunity question.

  • Sarah

    I’ve heard that Uncle Sam cereal is the best! Or any type of Kashi cereals.

    For breakfast I have oatmeal with wheat germ and flaxseed meal… I’m pooping by noon.

    Good luck!

  • Cora’s mommy

    When I ate a brownie earthquake, it put me into labor. So, if it can make me poop a kid out (which is what it feels like) it might just make you go #2!

  • Regarding my previous comment:

    By “better” I meant, faster.

  • ab

    Mihow,

    For me it depends on the kind of booze. Beer is a sure-fire way to make the Cosby kids go to the pool. Hard liquor, not so much. Do with that what you may.

  • Toni

    You now what is the WORST? The worst is when your dog or cat eats a piece of string and it comes out with poop strung on it like Christmas lights and they can’t quite push all of it out so you have to get a paper towel and grab the end of the string and let them run like hell.
    That, my friends, is the WORST; especially when your baby wants to play with the paper towel afterward.
    Just kidding! ~slaps hand~ Apologies!

  • In the past I stayed regular by having colitus which unfortunately is nothing like coitus. Doctor says I’m cured and every book I read says I’m not. Gotta love medical science. Anyway, an inflamed bowel will really move things along. Wouldn’t recommend it as a solution to your problem.

    Poop!

  • non-reg

    I just went to visit my boyfriend for a week and couldn’t poop once the entire time. oh the pain! but then i had an experience like your cousin… the second i got back home, the big motherfuckin’ poop came, and i nearly keeled over and passed out on the public toilet seat.

    when the constipation is less severe, i’ve found that super hot water with lots of lemon juice works, it ties up your stomach in knots and CAN work. there has been an instance when this did not work, and then i happened upon something else totally NOT practical and unconventional.

    when you get a coconut from the market and peel the white flesh from the shell, there is that thin layer of brown rind on the coconut. if you eat some coconut with this brown rind (which is LOADED with fiber), you will poop the biggest poop, although perhaps not in 2 minutes…

    godspeed

  • Toni

    The “slaps hand” should have tildas bracketing it. To denote that it’s an action, you see.

  • Cora’s mommy

    OMG, I am at work and all this reading about poop is making me have to go, which is the worse place to have to do the deed. I will hold it until I get home, which by that time the feeling will have faded and I will be left feeling bloated! CHEEKS STAY TOGETHER!

  • craig

    mmmm, small kittens…tasty…for a meal or a snack…

  • RighteousRedhead

    Wow, I am right on time with the pooping. Other than an occasional occurance of constipation (usually from dehydration), when I have to go, I usually go in two minutes and not more than six. The boyfriend swears I’m abnormal, but now I know he’s the one who has problems as he spends a minimum of 35 minutes “logging off” or “downloading” as we call it here. (Yes, we may even surpass you and Jon is sheer geekiness.)

  • cigarettes and coffee.

    for breakfast.

  • Coelecanth:

    Good to hear things are better for you. A girlfriend of mine came down with colitus in her late teens. She now has Coloscopy bag. :[ Very sad.

  • Cate

    I used to not think about poop so much, and then I started reading dooce, and really all I have on the brain is Poop, poop, poop. (Three extra uses of the word poop – go me!)

    As for staying regular – mostly I just am. But if I run into a little problem, I find that eating a bowl of cereal within 10 minutes of waking up in the morning usually does the trick. Or the morning latte. Recovering Mormon that I am, I used to feel terribly guilty for stopping at the Java Hut almost every morning, but then I read in a book about food remedies that coffee is good for clearing the constipation and I thought “Hey! It’s for my health – a way of staying regualar.” So b-bye guilt!

  • I have no advice for you, as I typically poop 3-4 times a day. I get worried if I have only gone twice! But yeah, typically takes an long to poop as it does to pee.

  • Stephen

    For regular poopage porridge works for me, but not for others I know. I also can’t be without milk in my diet or the poop business gets ugly.

  • g

    Metamucil, baby. Metamucil.

    At least it saved me during my pregnancy.

  • liz

    well i used to get diarrea every day, my ass felt like it was on fire every time i’d wipe it. then i had my baby and i was perfectly normal, pooping every day and never getting indigestion or anything like that.

    after the baby was born i couldn’t poop, i was always constipated, now i drink ALOT of water, TONS of water, where i practically go to pee every 30 min or less sometimes, and i can finally poo in like 1 min maybe 2 min 🙂 yay! i poopy good! (if i don’t drink water then i can’t poopy fast)

  • Some months if I work at it, I can poop every day of the week. Most of the time, I poop about 3 times a week. When I want to stay regular, I eat Oatmeal or RaisinBran for breakfast, have a banana or two, an apple, jamba juice for lunch, coffee somewhere in there, and a regular exercise plan of at least 20 minutes a day for a whole week.

    It’s so much work though, sometimes I’d rather just crap once a week.

  • Eat more fruit.

    …At least, that’s what my mom tells me.

  • Munchy seeds !

    http://www.munchyseeds.co.uk/system/index.html

    And lots of water & juice.That and lucky bowels,I’m guessing.

    Excue me whilst I go al gushy for a second : I love your blog !

  • Ground flax seed is supposed to do the trick. Barlean’s makes a great supplement with other EFAs that’s supposed to have the fiber from flax, too.

  • monkey

    Dear dooce

    I’ve been reading you for ages and whenever you talk about constipation, I just go, oh, ow, oh, no, ohmygod, ow. Ow. Because I so, so feel your constipated pain. And when I saw that you had opened poop comments I thought, oh!, oh! ohmygod! oh! Dooce is comfortable sharing her bottom system. Maybe if I share with dooce…

    And,so, at great length, this is what has helped me to poop. Every day. Sometimes twice!!!

    –Heaps of water, at least two litres a day. Less of a chore if it’s filtered water (those Brita charcoal filter things are good) and / or fruit / herb tea (smoosh up some ginger / lemon / lemongrass, stuff it in a jug and pour a litre of boiling water over it, or tea baggies from the healthfood store are nice too). But you already drink heaps of water!
    –Metamucil before meals. Mmmm! Orange fibre pooping thing. Yum. Other fibre supplements, like psylium (sp?) husk in its natural(er) form absorb a lot of water in the bowel, which makes you… yeah. Constipated. Damn. Metamucil seems not to do this. Of course, Metamucil may not work for you, but I reckon fibre supplements are worth experimenting with, if you haven’t already.
    –Foods that have a natural laxative effect. Probably different for everyone, so you know, if endame does it for you… eat them beans! For me, chickpeas are good. And loads of fresh green veggies like broccoli. And soft fruit – strawberries, bananas, peaches and stuff. From a tin is fine too. Also garlic and onions. And if all else fails dried fruit – apples, apricots, dates – works really well to um, move poop through my bottom system.
    –Caffeine. Deserves an entry all of it’s own. Green tea, black tea, triple strength espresso, diet coke. Whatever. Gulp and let the poop be free. But be sure to combine with the whole loads of water thing, or it can make you a bit dehydrated and, yeah, again, ow, whoops, constipated.
    –Eatin in general. When you eats, it starts off a process called peristalsis. As best as I can understand, it’s a series of poop promoting muscle contractions. Your stomach starts squishin’ the foods you’ve just et and your intestines start movin’ the older stuff along down the line. This is why (apparently) dogs need to go poop after they’ve eaten. Again, ymmv, but I’ve noticed I often need to poop after eating, and that eating regularly seems to coincide with pooping regularly. So there you go.
    –And I’m sure by now someone will have told you that squatting is the best way to poop? But, um, you can’t squat on a western toilet? And the crazy squat block things to put at the side of that western toilet are just too freakin’ weird? An upside down bucket in front of the toilet, to put your feet on, will put you in a better pooping position. I mean, you don’t have to use a bucket specifically. Obviously. But just something to prop your feet up and help you lift your knees closer to your abdomen which, um, I believe the phrase is, ‘straightens out the anal kink’ and makes for easier pooping. The theory is, the poop isn’t obstructed by your body all bent up inside and so it just… slides out. I’ve found it’s heaps quicker and less painful in that position.
    –Also: I’m all for reading. I reckon it stops you straining. So – and here’s an image – take something cool to read, pop your feet up on the bucket and try and relax. I know, I know, trying to relax when your bottom system is backed up is like saying ‘just relax while you write and sob in gut wrenching arse ripping AGONY’ but… try. For me, taking deep breaths from my abdomen works. That and reminding myself that it’s just going to be that much more painful if I don’t relax, so, y’know, I might as well.
    –Finally, if you’re really, really, reeeeeally constipated… you might need to, how shall we say? lubricate the passage. So… protect your fingers with something latex and get going with the soothing haemorrhoid cream of your choice. Yes, you do have to stick your finger in.
    –Really finally… there’s always an enema. Use sparingly. See above re lubrication.
    –No, truly, this is the last thing. Don’t give up. Something, or combination of things, will work for you. And one day you will awake to a glorious new bottom system era of regular poop. Or, at least, poop that’s not agonising gut wrenching arse ripping poop.

  • lurker

    Eat lots of fruits and veggies everyday. Lots.
    Drink lots of water.
    Avoid red meat when possible.
    Avoid eating too much bread.
    Drink lots of water.
    🙂

  • My husband eats a bowl of Shredded Wheat with Slim-Fast poured over it instead of milk every morning. He says the reason Slim-Fast helps you lose weight is because it makes you shit so much. He is one champion shitter. Usually he shits twice a day.

  • For some reason, watching Barney usually gets me going. Five minutes after he materializes, I have one at the gate.

  • mary

    i barely pooped once in the 5 years i was in a serious relationship. After the breakup, i pooped easily on a daily basis. go figure. not that i’m advising you to break up;-) Just an anecdote.

  • Not to brag or anything, but pooping has never been a problem for me. Under two minutes is definitely my standard.

    One time, I did have some problems that had to be solved with — I kid you not — botox injections. In my butt. Not the butt cheeks, but INSIDE the butt. I thought I would freak, but I was on Demerol and the doctor seriously could have cut off my arm if he’d wanted to and I would have smiled and laughed.

    Anyway, what keeps me from having more problems like that: Citrucel capsules. They’re the greatest thing ever for regularity.

    So, you might want to consider Citrucel. Or botox injections. It relaxes the muscles.

    The difference here, with the advice, is that it’s SOLICITED. Right?

  • take this as a labor of love, since i have just actually documented my disdain for poop talk in my last post on my site. 😉 i would rather everyone assume that i never poop at all.

    BUT – consider drinking TONS of water and then mentally keep note of when you find it most, er, difficult to go. think of what you ate that day. maybe make a list somewhere. you should eventually be able to eliminate things that exacerbate the problem.

    that’s the best i can do. now i’m off to my corner to sheepishly pretend that i’ve never pooped in my life.

  • perl

    usually walking into a Borders or Barnes & Noble does the trick for me. poop! poop! or else a doughnut, coffee, & a cigarette. oh, and Cora’s Mommy – thanks for the brownie earthquake/labor tip. I will try that sooooon! that’s the most pleasant inducer i’ve heard of.

  • I am just coming to the conclusion that it may be time to see the doctor because I drink tons of water, exercise regularly, eat a high fiber diet with only healthy fats and almost no cheese. I love edamame – it’s the best TV snack. But I still can’t poop. At least not regularly. AND I get bloated. I was happy to read the comment here about Zelnorm, because I have heard from several other people that it changed their lives. I have tried to be all holistic about it – I just want to eat and poop without all the bloat and discomfort.
    Thanks for this post! Although I have to say I have poop envy for all the easy poopers out there.

  • Surfie

    One word…beer. It keeps me regular. **hicup**

    I am the queen of drunken mommas!

    Otherwise, try some Colace. I believe you can get it OTC. It’s what the docs for whom I work recommend for all patients.

  • I’m a big fan of coffee and cigarettes for facilitating a 2-6 minute poop. No, it’s not healthy, but it works for me and keeps me happy.

    My husband also follows the coffee and cigarette routine, but still requires MacWorld or solitaire on his Palm Pilot to amuse him while he’s in there for half an hour.

    Everybody Poops, but everybody poops differently, I guess.

  • Heather, I wish I could give you some advice. Normally I’m as regular as can be. I do, however, have a homebase problem. Whenever I go away, it takes me a day or two to get back on track. Usually though, all I need is a bowl of Cheerios to get it working again.

    You know, back when I first started reading your site in the old days, I made up my own personal explanation for the term ‘dooce.’ I decided that since you had such a problem that it was a variation on ‘deuce’ as in “dropping a deuce” or in your unfortunate case, “painfully holding on to the deuce.” Just thought I’d share where my mind usually is.

    I wish you luck and lots more trips to drop the kids off at the pool.

  • I think I saw someone else say this, but coffee. I was super, super constipated as a kid, and when I started drinking coffee, it helped loads, so now I need at least two huge cups in the morning or I don’t go. Ever.

    See, if I miss a designated poop (post-breakfast, pre-lunch), I tend not to go for at least THREE DAYS. At least. And then it’s horribly awful, like that passing-out story you told.

    So, coffee, and sure as hell not scheduling any meetings during optimum pooping time.

  • And perl mentione Barns & Noble and Borders. For me and my sisters it’s the Hallmark store. I swear none of us can go in there without getting poop pains!

  • angel

    i, too, have problems with poopage. i’ve been eating a bowl of quaker corn bran squares every morning and i manage to go a teeny bit during coffee break at work.

  • i drink nature’s tea..i get it through my work. every night my fiance asks me, ‘did you take your poop tea?’ if i say no, he reprimands me. if i don’t drink the tea the next day i can’t poop. my mom thinks i am ruining my body by relying on the ‘poop tea’ she just doesn’t understand how it feels to go 3 days without pooping. i couldn’t imagine going longer…

  • Em

    How do I stay regular?
    Ha. Ha ha. I can’t remember the last time I was regular.
    But then I went about a month without pooping, and trying to start again involved much pain and crying and scared me away from doing that again forever.
    So now? If I go more than about 4 or 5 days, I pull out the Fibercon. My little miracle pill. And I spend all day near the toilet, anxiously awaiting the arrival of my poop time.

    Oh. Umm, also? Pooping seems easier when my Aunt Flow comes by to visit. So, there’s that, too.

  • Guiness. And schedule a really important meeting or appointment. The fear liquifies my bowels. Whee!

  • Normally a pretty regular girl, I get severely constipated about twice a year. I bloat up and my stomach hurts SO BAD that the pain makes me throw up for about a day. Then the stomach pain goes away, but the bloat moves to my bowels and I can’t poop for two or three days. The only time I ever pray is when I fly and during that rare period of constipation. Please, God, let me poop. Please let me poop. I’ve tried all the toilet positions, and what works best for me is sitting on the toilet like it’s a La-Z-Boy.

    Anyway, since it’s so rare but so painful, each time it happens I try different things, and the “dried plums” seem to work pretty well, and the fiber supplements don’t do shit. The praying just makes it worse because when God ignores my pleas, I feel like the pain is punishment from God for my unholy ways.

    The best thing in the world (for me, at least) is a few shots of booze at night followed by coffee and a cigarette in the morning. It’s worked the last two times and the constipation lasted 24 hours instead of three days. Of course, that isn’t the best way to STAY regular, but it helps me every time now.

    “Oh, hi, Mom–yeah, I feel much better–haven’t thrown up for a few hours…no, I don’t need any Pepto, but could you swing by with a bottle of vodka?”

  • I poop every single day. In the morning. Sometimes in the evening too. For 5 minutes, maybe a pause inbetween the pooooopies and the pooplets. If you work out at least 3 times a week you’ll be very regular. Also, green tea.

  • I stumbled across your blog a few weeks ago and I think you are one fucking hilarious girl.

    It is amazing how many readers you have. I think I only have one : )

  • Em

    Oh yeah… for a tasty remedy? Chex mix. The recipe’s on the back of Chex boxes, usually. It has been known to give people the runs. Including me, on occasion. And I don’t just get the runs, trust me.

  • Popcorn, coffee, grapes, or pizza work for me. Actually almost anything does. I’m as regular as a sunset.

    Great blog!

  • My husband sometimes poops four times in ONE DAY. I have no idea how he does it.

    That said, I had no idea that marriage would turn me into someone who regularly talked about her poop, but after we got married, my husband started talking about his. And now I tell him about mine, all the time, when before marriage (even though we lived together) I was a delicate flower who would leave the room to fart. Now? Not so much.

  • Jeannette

    Staying regular: I ride my bike to work.

    This might work for a couple of reasons:

    1. I drink lots of water from my camelbak while I am riding– staying hydrated seems to help.
    2. I ride six miles and have plenty of bumps to loosen things up.

    Good luck. I find there have to be several things in place to keep me regular, and my comfort and anxiety levels are definitely key.

  • Jess

    I just have to write that I love reading your daily trials and tribulations. I have no clue how to keep anyone regular. If I did then I would for sure not have all of the pooping issues I have.

  • midwifegoddessannie

    Magnesium oxide powder is good – its used for natural “bowel cleansing”. It acts by drawing a lot of water into the bowel (out of your bloodstream). You can take a dose that will clean your bowel out entirely… or just smaller doses when things are looking like trouble (and it doesn’t generally cause nasty bowel spasms!!) In Australia we give a daily glass of pure pear juice to bed ridden residents in nursing homes – it works a treat.