There are some experiences that are universal, yet we are frequently too embarrassed to actually ask why certain things happen to our bodies. For instance, why a lot of men tend to feel cold after they pee, or experience chills when pooping. In a recent video, YouTuber and gastroenterologist Dr. Sameer Islam offers a surprisingly simple and scientific explanation for why going number two can leave you with the shivers.
“What happens when you have a bowel movement is that you are stimulating the vegus nerve,” he says, explaining that the human body has two nervous systems: fight-or-flight, and rest-and-digest. The vegus nerve is part of that rest-and-digest system, and runs all the way from the brain stem to the rectum.
“When that is stimulated, it can cause sweats, it can cause chills, it can drop your blood pressure and your heart rate as well,” he says. “This is why people sometimes faint if they stand up very very quickly, because that vegus nerve and their parasympathetic system is innervated. If you have a large bowel movement, that can trigger that sensation of those chills by stimulating the vegus nerve.”
“It may not occur all the time,” he adds. “It may not occur with every single bowel movement or habit, but it is a very common occurrence, and it is normal… It is normal to feel chills, to feel your heart rate change, and to feel other things that are maybe going on from having a bowel movement.”
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