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!)

  • Becky

    I read this and knew the string of comments wouldn’t be complete without a link to Turd Birds. You too can have a poop friend for a quick 20 bucks.

    http://www.turdbirds.com/order.html

    Two of my favorites are Tinkle McDumps and Grey Poopon.

    Here’s a description of the quality of the product…
    THE POOP ON OUR PRODUCT
    Bird body: Genuine California horse excrement (horse turds). Each turd is hand selected. They are carefully inspected at the collection site for shape, consistency, and color. If acceptable, they are then dried and sealed in liquid plastic. Rest assured, only the highest quality turds are used. The staff takes their shit seriously.

  • Oh, Dooce, how I understand… I had to stop going to my beloved summer camp when I was thirteen because in 6 weeks I pooped 6 times (and the last time was the night before I left). I came back with a hemmroid the size of my mess kit and haven’t been the same since.

    My pooping problems are less about real-life constipation and more absolute refusal to shit in any place I’m not comfortable with. I blame my parents for letting me have my own bathroom when I was little.

    Anyway, I have seriously fucked up my arse because of my hang-ups and now have a emergency solution. Anytime I feel a little backed up and bloated, I take Konsil. It’s like metamucil, only much better. My crazy proctologist recommended it. For, eh-hem, uncomfortable movements, soothe your bum with Balneol. It’s a cream. Unfortunately in my CVS you have to ask for it behind the counter. Why do they do that?

    My brother swears that checking his email makes him go. If only; then I’d be on the pot 6 times an hour.

  • midwifegoddessannie

    Oh SHIT I forgot to say “POOP” all I said was “BOWEL”

  • Honestly, I’m almost jealous. I poop all the time. Really. Every time I go to the bathroom (upward of 10 times a day due to excessive drinking of water), I poop. Every single time! And occasionally, just to make it that much better, my diarehea gets constipated. I know, you’re all thinking that that is a contradiction of terms, but you have never lived in my body. My god, the pain somedays. I actually poop so much, it occasionally bleeds. I envy you all.

  • I am a man and I almost always poop in under two minutes. I have never understood why so many man take so long to poop. Too much anal tension from all that homophobia, or something. And I never, NEVER, take reading material to the bathroom!

  • Suzyn

    Holy crap, Batman, who knew so many people were just bursting to talk about their poop?

  • Over 100 people have commented on poop.

    That is brilliant.

  • alice

    I’ve done most of the suggestions here and my belief is that some people just have a messed up ‘bottom system’. My husband says that I violate the laws of physics by being able to eat high fiber, healthy meals and drink tons of water and still go two freakin’ weeks with no action.

    Zelnorm did work the way nothing ever worked for me (Colace and Citrucel did nothing.) I actually was normal for a while on Zelnorm and it was lovely. Unfortunately, for me, it stopped working after a while and now I’ve stopped taking it. The doctor said she’s heard that from other people and it might work again after a break. I hope.

    Now I try to get by with Uncle Sam cereal and strong coffee right when I wake up. I am still not normal, though. Maybe I never will be.

    And I am a pretty mellow human being, so the ‘just relax’ advice makes me think, dude, somethin’ ain’t right about my ass – my head is doing fine!

  • The secret to regular poopage: pancakes with lots of butter and maple syrup. Keeps ya regular, if you don’t mind weighing 400 lbs.

  • My mother swears by Trim-maxx tea — not for weight loss, but for speedy evacuation of problem bowel. See URL.

  • It wasn’t until last weekend that I learned most people consider it normal to poop once a day. My schedule’s about one a week, I’d say. Always has been. But, baby, let me tell you–when it rains it pours. Is it possible to be technically consitpated (not going often) if it flows fast and free when I do eventually go? I would feel much better if someone could tell me the name for this condition. Please, someone, validate my poop!

  • I know you’re got to throw pop tarts at me, but I’ve never been constipated but once and I was pregant. Coffee,greasy breakfast food..ie bacon, eggs, things with butter–makes things um…slide out easier. Lastly cheap beer does it to me everytime, as in cheap I mean, bud, coors, miller anyone of those and the next day the bathroom is my second home. Think of it, you can drink and take poops–come on two great things in life.

  • bunny

    Thai food. Works every time, within an hour.

  • deucedropper

    where i come from ‘to drop a deuce’ means to perform the #2 bodily function. If it’s a big one we say, ‘i dropped a double-deuce!’ funny, that you’re the dooce that cannot deuce!

  • ellen

    yay – comments! love your blog, love your honesty and humor.

    and now the poop – Barnes & Noble, fear, and apples. My friend, who suffers from wild mood swings of the butt has good results with daily citrusel (sp?). It seems to even out the extremes.

  • i offer up the coffee enema.

    it’s uncomfortable but i’ll be darned if it doesn’t work.

    and being a mormon i didn’t drink coffee, but my doctor wanted me to drink a cup every morning to encourage things along, with the enema once a week.

    when i protested drinking the coffee because of my religious proclivities, she sighed wrote me a prescription for the daily cup o’ joe and said ‘here sweetie, give this to your bishop.’

    when things get stopped up too badly, this is the regimen i return to.

  • Well I can’t miss out on saying “POOP”!

    Like I say to my babies… GOOD JOB! YOUR SUCH A GOOD GIRL POOPING ON THE POTTY!

    And I love your blog!

  • We call em’ deuce too. We call mini deuces, deutens.

  • Brown-noser

    SHIT HAPPENS…
    but apparently not for you!

  • Kari

    Ugh. I hate prune juice… and even those “orange essence dried plums” make me sick.

    I am a spicy-food addict, but pooping jalapenos can be really painful.

    I am not regular, but not as bad off as what you have described. However, from time to time I get those episodes where I actually think I am going to die because of the intense pain in my bowels. I have fainted and nearly-fainted while I try to poop to eliminate the pressure and burning sensation. But fortunately those are rare.

    (Oh, and Leah – that is what happens to me: it is tough to get started, but then it is very wet when it starts coming out.)

    My man is a 45-minute pooper. That 6 minute rule is hilarious!

    Wow, so many comments in such little time: that in itself should validate that this blog is read and enjoyed by many. Especially terrific that we are all willing to talk about poop. 🙂

  • Charlie

    I’m sure I’m not the first to suggest that maybe you have IBS?

    http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/ibs/

  • I too used to be a once every 5 day pooper. When I became a vegetarian I became a multi-a day pooper. Jealous? I think Edemame has alot to do with it! While I was pregnant I craved chicken and ate it and had a few times of delayed poop enough to scare me right back into my vegetarian diet!
    Good luck with the pooping!

  • Perl (#81), I’m so with you on the pooping after book browsing thing. Why is it that I need to take a gigantic dump within 10 minutes of walking into a bookstore? Ideas anyone?

  • meet me @ the back door

    Trust me. ‘Reconvene the procedure’ butt at the other point of entry. It works.

  • Dave

    I didn’t have time to read all the comments right now, but in case someone else didn’t let you in on the news: Guys HAVE to read on the can. I am almost always in the 2-6 minute poop window, but I will go nuts if I don’t have something to read while doing so. It’s just a guy thing! Happy pooping!!

  • This must be horrible for you all.

    If you have not already considered food allergies I would try eliminating one food at a time and look for improvement – you will probably have luck with removing milk or wheat. Those are the most likely offenders.

    There are also allergy elimination therapies out there that can help you to be able to eat those foods again without the resulting constipation. I have had incredible results for other problems. Check out http://www.naet.com

    Good luck!!

  • di

    my husband jon says that within an hour of eating wasabi that he has to poop. and he is the most amazingly fast pooper i have *ever* seen – in and out of the bathroom sometimes in less than a minute. and he’s a good pooper, too.. poops nearly every day. i’m the 30-minute in the bathroom person with the reader’s digest. oh how i love reader’s digest in the bathroom!

    as for my own regularity, i drink a shitload (heh) of water each day and voila! i poop. i guess that doesn’t work as easily for you since you said you drink a gallon each day.

    stay with the soy!

  • I love the six minute rule!! I live with ALL MEN, well two big ones and 3 little ones, who all LIVE in the bathroom! I have to pound and beg for my turn in the loo.

  • Find a food that you are intolerant of or cannot digest(that gives you the trots). For me it’s lettuce, oranges, and corn, three of my favorite foods. The normal age for these intolerances to crop up is 30, so hang in there!

  • I have absolutely no idea – I think a lot of it is down to luck and/or horoscopes.

    All I do know is that whenever we run out of toilet paper I REALLY wanna go!

  • KTP

    Not that you need any more comments on this post, but I thought I’d join in. I’m newly pregnant, and holy stoppage of crap, batman! WTF? My doctor said that pregnancy really screws with your digestive system, and get this – the prenatal vitamins come with STOOL SOFTENER in them! Not that it works…

  • willow

    Poop seems like such a TMI topic, heh. Am I regular? ahahahaha. alas, no. No regular pooping for me. Pregnancy only makes it worse. Things I’ve tried with varying degree of success in the past..
    several glasses of the purple grape juice (I love the stuff, but can’t drink it unless I *want* to poop, because it seems to liquify the entire “bottom system” and not in a pleasant manner, but more in a searing acidic sludge manner)

    wine- red wine in particular- seems to cause poopage the next day (something which I have refrained from trying while pregnant).

    A couple mugs of hot cocoa almost always get things moving within a day or two. I’ve gone through a LOT of cocoa in the last several months.

    Spicy, greasy food seems to help move things along, but the accompanying bloat and intestinal cramping and pain doesn’t seem worth it.

    As for only taking 2-6 minutes to poop. Obviously I am in the Constipated group, because usually I’m in there at least 15 minutes if it’s a good day, and much much longer if it is not a good day.

    Good luck with the pooping!

  • not only does it take my friend jeremy over 30 minutes to poop, he often came over to MY apartment with HIS KITTEN to do the deed.
    usually i was too dumbstruck by the situation to refuse… i mean, a man carrying a kitten asking to use your bathroom to poop, it’s just something you don’t want to mess with.

    keep with the poop posts. they make me happy, as well as the general public, i am sure.

  • Honey

    Molasses in warm water makes me poop. And the library. If I’m desperate, I go to the library for a while.

  • Torrie

    All this poop talk has reminded me of the “Colon Blow” skit on SNL. Anyone remember that?

  • Amazing. Uncanny, even. 125+ comments about poop (or lack thereof).

    You should open up the comments more often, Heather. I enjoyed reading the comments here almost as much as your posts (which I really enjoy reading). You should think about writing a book on the various methods posted here about getting the ol’ plumbing to work.

  • Lisa

    I have a recipe from my doctor for a fruit paste that works really well and doesn’t taste too bad.
    Yakima Fruit Paste
    1 pound of rasins
    1 pound of prunes
    1 pound of figs
    1 cup brown sugar
    1 cup lemon juice
    4 oz. Senna Tea
    -Prepare tea using 2 1/2 cups of water and steep for 5 minutes- add only 1pint of tea to a large pot then add fruit
    -boil fruit and tea for 5 minutes
    – remove from heat and add brown sugar and lemon juice
    -use hand mixer or food processor to blend mixture into a smooth paste
    -place in a plastic container and put in the freezer (the paste will not freeze and will keep in freezer forever)
    -all you need to eat is 1-2 tablespoons per day (trust me)
    – it goes well on toast or crackers

  • Used to be, I’d poop every two or three days, and my husband would poop regularly after every meal. After a year on Atkins (actually, it happened well before we hit the one-year mark), we’re both once-a-day type of folks.

    I think someone commented earlier about laying off sugar, and everyone mentions drinking lots of water, and I think that could be what did it for us. It’s amazing how many things in our diet have sugar in them, and we don’t even realize it.

    In the midst of the most hard-core part of the diet, we both got way constipated. But then we started taking flaxseed pills once a day, and it fixed us up right. Now we only have to take them if we’re having… issues.

    Those damn sugar-free chocolates with sugar alcohols will make you go like a mofo, too. It’s like getting a trick with your treat. The Hershey’s sugar-free miniatures are especially good for that.

    But, yeah. I’m happy to have regular, healthy poops every day after I come home from work and my husband has just left for work himself. Or sometimes, right when I get up in the morning.

  • Caroline

    I have poop problems, and recently was at a restaurant and ordered something that had collard greens on the side…wow did I poop and poop and poop. Try collard greens, I swear by them!

  • Dried apricots make me poop like a goose.

    My poor daughter was so constipated as toddler that I had to give her a bottle of Citrucel and a tablespoon of mineral oil every day. She’s doesn’t require this anymore, but her poop still looks like pebbles. Poor kid.

  • Toni

    Honey. Omigod, I thought I was the only one! What IS it about libraries?

  • I never, ever write about this on my blog, because I grew up in a house where poop wasn’t discussed. Especially *MY* poop problems. Just. Not. Done.

    I’ve had irritable bowel syndrome since I was a baby. Probably since I was a fetus, if there were a way to tell such a thing.

    A couple of months ago, I went a little over 2 weeks without a poop. I gained 6 pounds. I fully expected to wake up one morning to find my colon stomping up and down my street, wearing a sandwich board reading “Hell no, I won’t go!”

    I went to the doctor.

    She suggested Metamucil wafers.

    And thanks to the magic wonder that is Metamucil wafers, my colon and I are now on speaking terms again. Granted, we will probably never be the best of friends, but I don’t think there’s any danger of another two week strike.

  • jess

    “the motorcycle racer position” is also the position that a great deal of the planet uses because they don’t have our weird western chair-type toilets, they have holes in the floor!

    no, really… often it’s a porcelain hole, and there’s a handydandy jug of water sitting next to it so you can rinse off after. and lemme tell you, the position works!

    yes, darling dooce, asian-style toilets really help with the gravity and the pooping and the generally not feeling as if you have a block of granite in your, ahem, “bottom system”. i have friends who, after living in asia for awhile, still complain that they have to balance their feet on the bowl to take a really satisfying dump. (i wouldn’t recommend this for anyone without a) serious poop problems and b) a spotter in the next room who can hear you if you topple over.)

    also, fresh pineapple does it every time for me. e-v-e-r-y time.

  • Don’t let anyone tell you not daily is not normal. If you feel okay don’t worry about it. Otherwise get psyllium from some place cheap like Trader Joe’s and take it w/ lots of water everyday. The only thing the doctors say is to notice if you have sudden bizarre changes in your normal poopage. So pay attention! 🙂

  • kdub

    This isn’t an insult really, but whenever I get on the computer to read your blog or return emails, I have to poop within 10 minutes whether or not I’m constipated. I swear it has something to to with the humming of the hard drive.

    Which brings me to another tangent-non-lethal weapons. They (whoever they are) have been developing non-lethal weapons and one of them emits ultra low sound waves that upset the entire digestive system and bowels. How’s that for forced poopage?

  • Chuckles

    Anxiety gets me constipated big time….stress upsets my stomach…I just can’t win. I just have to bare with it until it passes. My husband on the other hand…king of poops…but he has crohns disease..he did have surgery so doesn’t need meds (thank god)…but now poops at least 6 times a day…and always under 3 minutes. He wouldn’t know a hard poop if it stared him in the eye!

    By the way, I find gripe water helps me, at least gets rid of the gassyness. Not sure if you get it in Utah, but it’s plentiful in Canada!

  • Anne Marie

    Dooce, I usually only poop about two or three times a week. And I like it that way. Today, which is Friday (not one of my poop days) my boyfriend of 2 years broke up with me on the phone during my lunch break. I immediately (if not sooner) headed for the crapper and pooed away.

    Your constipation is a measure of how wonderful your marraige (Okay that’s kinda stupid…just trying to make you feel better about your constipation).

  • I am fairly regular, so I don’t have any advice to give. But I just couldn’t resist leaving a comment with the word POOP in it.

  • I keep reading it “poop tarts”.

  • Marisa

    Dump (no pun intended) several packets of hot cocoa mix into a large cup of strong coffee.