Why Pooping Can Put You In A Good Mood

You know when it's your time to visit the throne. The urge to poop might come soon after your morning coffee, an hour or so after dinner, or while you're shopping. Even if you're relaxed at home, once you feel that movement deep down into your colon, it can be a little uncomfortable until you reach the toilet. Depending on your diet, pooping could even cause a little bit of strain. Yet when everything comes out as it should, you might notice a shiver of elation.

Down below, there are many nerves that are stimulated when you go to the bathroom. One is the pudendal nerve. This nerve is situated between your perineum and genitals, and it's what gives you pleasurable sensations in your genital area. According to Medical News Today, the pudendal nerve also controls your anal sphincter when you poop, which is why you feel those similar sensations. But that's not the only reason why pooping can put you in a good mood. As it turns out, your digestive health has a large influence on your mental health.

Your gut is connected to your brain

You can also thank your vagus nerve for this feel-good moment after you poop. According to Medical News Today, your vagus nerve sends signals between your brain and your colon. While going number two requires you to tense several muscles in your body, the release stimulates the vagus nerve. A 2018 article in Frontiers in Psychiatry says that the vagus nerve kickstarts the parasympathetic nervous system, which induces a feeling of relaxation and improves your mood.

Johns Hopkins Medicine says that your digestive system is like a second brain. No, it doesn't solve math problems, but it reflects what goes on in your brain. When you feel stressed, your digestive system won't work properly. Similarly, when your digestive system is out of whack, it could trigger anxiety or depression.

You might know that serotonin is responsible for regulating your moods, and low levels of serotonin can contribute to depression. Yet 95% of your body's serotonin can be found in your gut, according to a 2017 article in the Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology. In other words, if your gut is working properly to remove waste and harmful bacteria, your gut can keep producing enough serotonin to sustain a good mood.

Keeping your poop healthy

How often you poop is really individual, so your schedule might differ from others, according to AARP. When your bathroom schedule is regular, it's a good indication that you're relatively healthy. If your daily number two is off, it's a likely indicator that something else is off physically or mentally. A fiber-rich diet and plenty of water can help get you going again. Moving your body can also help get the bowels moving as well.

However, this might not be enough. Ultra-processed foods such as sodas, sugary or salty packaged foods, and other instant foods can wreck your digestive health, says Harvard Medical School. Saying no to these ultra-processed foods and adding whole foods such as fruits and vegetables can improve your gut health and mood. Fermented foods like sauerkraut and probiotics in yogurt will also keep your digestive system working as it should and restore that feel-good moment in the bathroom.