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Why Does Spicy Food Burn When You Poop?

Why Does Spicy Food Burn When You Poop?


Lots of people love the painful deliciousness
of spicy food. At least… when it’s in your mouth. But why do foods that burn going in also burn
going out? Well, turns out, it’s for the same biological
reasons. Because in some ways, your butt is a lot like
your mouth. Lots of spicy foods get their pungency from
a chemical called capsaicin. It’s produced by plants in the genus Capsicum, which includes chili peppers and their relatives. Capsaicin binds to a receptor expressed all over your nervous system called
TRPV1. It has a handful of jobs, but it’s best
known for its role in pain. When there are risky levels of heat, this receptor tells your danger-sensing cells and other chemical messengers to send signals
to your brain, which can make you feel pain. And because TRPV1 also interacts with capsaicin
molecules, you feel the burn of habaneros in your mouth. According to your nervous system, hot peppers
actually feel, well, hot. Temperature-wise. But TRPV1 receptors are in lots of places,
and that includes your anus. See, the capsaicin you eat doesn’t get completely
digested. Some of it does get absorbed by your body
and sent to your liver to be broken down, but some of it sticks around
and gets pooped out. Which means the TRPV1 receptors in your anus can interact with capsaicin just like the
ones in your mouth. Ouch. There are actually TRPV1 receptors all along
your digestive tract, which is why some people get cramps or discomfort
from spicy foods. And when your body’s being told things are
way too hot, it usually tries to cool down. You sweat, your nose runs, and your mouth
waters in an attempt to cool off and flush the offending
substance. Your intestines might get in on the action
and throw in some water too. And that’s why your spicy food poop is sometimes,
uh, looser than normal. Now, consuming capsaicin regularly can actually
make your body desensitized, possibly by decreasing the amount of certain
chemical messengers, so your brain reports less pain. Like, “oh ok, this happens all the time, there’s no fire or real danger, everything’s
fine.” In fact, using low doses of capsaicin for
pain relief is an active area of research. So go ahead and order those jalapenos on your
pizza, because maybe eating spicy foods more regularly will help with those burning bowel movements. Even though it might not be super pleasant
in the meantime. Thanks for asking, and thanks especially to
all of our patrons on Patreon who keep these answers coming. If you’d like to submit questions to be
answered, go to patreon.com/scishow. And don’t forget to go to youtube.com/scishow
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100 thoughts on “Why Does Spicy Food Burn When You Poop?”

  1. I ate a ghost pepper last night while hanging out with some friends and I woke up and went to the bathroom cut to me aggressively typing why does my butthole burn

  2. I rarely eat spicy food, but when I do I've never had this happen. And I've always heard this effect called lava butt.

  3. There is zero chilli in our food …… instead i poo soooo bad odor and warm …… as i eat any thing …..in between pooping started …..my partner is lyk ….ouuffff…..ouupppsss

  4. Watching this while sitting on the toilet in agony.. Buffalo-firecracker chicken tacos was not a good idea for lunch.

  5. Im taking a dump rn and my butthole burns alot rn because I ate tacos last night and put hella red sauce.

  6. That explains why I have an arse like the start of Bonanza the following morning after eating a Bangalore Phaal down Brick Lane.

  7. I’m currently getting my anus lit up. I had yakisoba with too much sriracha. It was the kind with the chili seeds still in it…

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