It’s recently come to our attention that some men enjoy the scholarly pursuit of weighing themselves before and after taking a big ol’ dump. Particularly enthralled by a discussion of “what’s the heaviest shit you’ve ever taken” on r/AskMen, we decided to seek out professional help to discover what’s healthy and expected when pushing out a shit for the record books.
The Daily Weigh-In
A lot of men admit to weighing themselves after pooping. Like, a lot. Take this guy who reports to be on the keto diet, and weighs himself after every poop, averaging half a pound per squat. Surely it feels great to be a big shitter, but according to Evan Goldstein, a surgeon who specializes in rectal rejuvenation at Bespoke Surgical, heavier poop doesn’t necessarily mean anything “good or bad.”
“When someone is on a keto diet, they’re on a high-protein, low-sugar diet, which can definitely lead to bulkier stool,” he explains. The high amount of protein leads to a dense piece of poop, while a sugar and fat-heavy diet will do the opposite — producing “more stool, but not necessarily heavy stool.”
In other words, a single heavy shit versus, say, seven pounds of diarrhea is merely a reflection of someone’s diet — not a marker of one’s health. “At the end of the day, it’s more the desired effect that one is achieving,” Goldstein says. “I’m assuming it’s weight loss, rather than loaded defecation.”
How Heavy Is Too Heavy?
So fine, heavier shits don’t make you any healthier. But let’s get back to the guy who claims to have weighed 15 pounds less after dropping deuces. Or this guy who claims he lost 21 pounds after shitting. Or the man who cared for an obese patient who pooped once a week, and produced something so massive it had to go into the trash rather than down the toilet. None of those stories can be true, right? That is, you can’t possibly be physically equipped to birth something that weighs double or triple the size of the average newborn.
Judith Meer, a physical therapist who specializes in the pelvic floor, explains, “You tend to produce about an ounce of stool for every 12 pounds of body weight — so if you haven’t had a bowel movement in a few days, you might have a few pounds of stool weighing you down.” She adds, however, that she’d “be surprised” if 15 pounds is a realistic weight loss amount.
“This particular situation sounds beyond excessive to me,” says Goldstein. “But the colon can definitely distend and hold a shitload of, well, shit.”
If you want to have particularly heavy shits, again, do it through your diet. “Things like protein, roughage and fiber can contribute to ‘heavier’ stool,” explains Goldstein.
How Long Is Too Long?
If the human body can handle the weight, what about length? This guy, for example, claims he took an “11-inch” shit that he “needed to cut up with a wooden spoon before flushing.” Forget what kind of havoc that wreaks on your plumbing, it seemingly can’t be good for your ass/body either. Again, not necessarily. “Essentially, this guy must have been super relaxed and was able to prevent his rectal muscles from contracting,” explains Goldstein. “That allowed the stool to exit in one piece. Otherwise, rectal muscles help ‘cut’ up stool as it’s coming out.”
According to Meer, assuming the rectal muscles are relaxed, such a poop is possible since the curvatures of the long intestine won’t break up the poop. “It’s possible to have stool that’s a foot or longer,” she says, “especially considering that the large intestine is about five to six feet long in total.”
What you should be aware of, she says, is the opposite of relaxed butt muscles. “We assess poop quality using the Bristol Stool Scale to determine if someone’s diet would benefit from more water or fiber. Thus, long sausage-like stools are what someone should aim for. For someone who witnesses smaller pieces of stool, it could be that they have trouble relaxing their rectal muscles, and therefore, those muscles are preventing a long, smooth stool from exiting their body.”
The opposite — “pellet-like poops” — aren’t ideal. Nor is the other end of spectrum — diarrhea. “If someone feels urgency to poop but can’t seem to get it out, that could indicate the hardness of the stool from lack of fiber and water,” says Meer. “Or if the stool that does eventually come out isn’t firm, it’s an issue with how the abdominal or pelvic muscles are functioning.”
How Girthy Is Too Girthy?
At a certain point, constipation reaches the point of no return, and the poop needs to be surgically removed. Case in point: This woman needed to get an impacted stool removed after three weeks of constipation due to pain killers. The doctors took 6.6 pounds of fecal matter out of her body. She looked legitimately pregnant with poop in the “before” picture.
Goldstein says such procedures aren’t common, but that he’s performed them on a couple of occasions. “It’s more common in elderly individuals or those who overuse pain medication,” he explains. “What’s key for each of them is that they’re on a proper and regular bowel regimen to prevent constipation and to keep things moving.”
One sign of your poop growing out of control might be back pain, says Meer. “Chronic constipation can cause low back pain, as the hard mass of fecal matter presses on the sacral nerves of the lower back.”
This might explain why one redditor claimed that he felt his back “pop” after dropping a 6.5 pound dookie. “Defecation can translate to generating significant forces that may affect other regions significantly,” explains Goldstein. “So [the pop] may have been due to the pressure he exerted while defecating, the angle of his pelvis while sitting on the toilet and/or the height of the toilet he was using.” A successful poop takes “an exquisitely coordinated ballet of muscle and nerve function,” adds Meer.
The lesson here: Don’t screw it up by tightening your butthole to accumulate your shit in the hopes of taking an extra heavy bowel movement later on. Be it a six-pound brick or half a pound of browned hamburger chunks, push it out every time.