Want to Know Why Your Legs Fall Asleep When You Poop?
By Heather Jabornik
For some of us, our time on the toilet is a sanctuary. A special place for us to be completely alone. A time for us to relax unwind and take a deep breathe (especially if you spritzed the bowl with Poo~Pourri first).
It's easy to lose track of time and suddenly realize you've been sitting on the pot for almost an hour getting lost on the internet. You finish up your business and stand only to realize you now have the walking capabilities of a newborn deer.
Your tranquil toilet time has quickly turned and your legs have betrayed you.
So, what causes this crazy phenomenon? We spoke to a couple of doctors and got the scoop on why your legs fall asleep sometimes when you poop.
Knowing is half the battle and the first thing you should know is that this is not serious—unless of course you’re experiencing persistent numbness. Then it’s time to ring your doctor.
To explain the pooping pins and needles phenomenon so many of us know so well, Dr. Karen Bisesi, Doctor of Chiropractic at Indy Sports Chiro in Carmel, IN says:
“When you bear down to poop, you raise the pressure in your spinal column, technically called the intrathecal pressure. Sometimes that rise in pressure will cause the discs in your spine to move against the nerves where they exit the spine and cause numbness, weakness, and a generally weird feeling down the legs. Another reason not to strain too much when going #2!”
Another reason indeed! Also, try saying “intrathecal pressure” three times fast!
Dr. Lauren Vreeland, Doctor of Naturopathy at Newport Integrative Health in Costa Mesa, CA agrees.
“Sitting in the same position long enough can cause nerves or blood vessels to be compressed, leading to the ‘falling asleep’ sensation, or numbness and tingling in the legs.
Why does it happen on the toilet? The way you sit on the toilet may not be ideal, and an awkward position or bend in the legs can make nerve compression more likely.”
If only there was such a thing as Toilet Yoga! ...Oh wait.
Now that we know WHY your legs turn into wet noodles, here are some ways to prevent losing feeling in your lower extremities.
Just like you’d naturally shift positions if any other part of your body began to fall asleep, the same rule applies here.
Changing positions during #2 is your numero uno line of defense.
You’ve heard the expression “shit or get off the pot” about decision making? Make the decision to say no to latrine lollygagging.
We’re looking at you, toilet techies. Save the scroll and spin the roll.
Healthy bowel movements should happen fairly quickly and effortlessly. Having to sit for an extended period of time or straining are both signs your digestion is not functioning optimally. Diet and exercise can go a long way in improving regularity and stool quality.
Have a feeling it’s more physical? Take Dr. Vreeland’s advice and look at your diet. There are best and worst foods for digestion.
Fair warning: booze and chocolate are on the ‘worst’ list.
Two words: poop cushion.
Sounds luxurious, doesn’t it? Toilet seat cushions even come in gel! It’s like you’re pooping in the future.
Alexa, add poop cushion to my shopping list
Next time you turn to the toilet for your me time, remember to keep it short and sweet. Unless you like the feeling of pins and needles.