Ever wondered why pooping can sting after a spicy meal?

By The Gut Health Doctor Team

Dr Megan Rossi in a lab looking through a microscope

Never TMI around here. Hands up if enjoying your favourite chilli-ladened dish has ever preceded a ‘spicy’ trip to the loo, in which you experience a burning sensation as you poop? Well, you’re not alone!

Here is why..

  1. The short story is this. The active component in chilis is a chemical compound called capsaicin. The more capsaicin a chilli contains, the more ‘spiciness’ you experience when you eat it.
  2. Capsaicin activates a pain receptor which is found in various places in your body, including your mouth (you’ve experienced a tingling when you EAT a hot dish, right?) – and your, you guessed it, your back-passage.
  3. Some capsaicin, but not all, passes through your gut, undigested. When this comes out, this pain receptor is activated – and that causes the tingling feeling when you poop. Interestingly, people with IBS have been shown to have more of these  receptors, and so might feel the burning/ stinging/ tingling more than others.

This is NOT a bad thing. Capsaicin is thought to have heaps of benefits, including anti inflammatory properties, so there is no need to cut chilis out. Maybe just cut down if you are sensitive, and build your tolerance up over several months.


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