why does poop smell?

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Poopy Pants asks:

Why is poop so stinky? I mean... food doesnt smell like that, so why does poop? Also, why do some people's poop smell worse than others?

(((Poonurse: I thought about answering this question that it was due to bacteria in your stomach. And then I thought that when you are first born, you don't have that bacteria, which is why babies poop doesn't smell. And then I remembered that baby poop is just horrible. Do you have any insight?)))

---- Dave

Dear Poopy Pants,

You are right on about the bacteria. The bacteria inside of the feces is what makes them smell so bad. Specifically, the bacteria produce various compounds and gases that lead to the infamous smell of feces. Just in case you were wondering, you can get very sick by eating feces because it contains so many types of bacteria and other harmful substances such as parasites. So I wouldn't suggest adding poop to your diet any time soon.

Poop will vary in smell depending on the type of foods and drinks that you consume. Generally speaking, feces will smell worse if you consume foods or liquids with many artificial flavors or chemicals in them. The bad smell of feces will usually be reduced by eating more natural foods that do not contain any artificial flavors or chemicals. Also, the poop of meat eaters usually smells worse than that of vegans.

Incidently, I change about 10,000 diapers a day at work. The baby's first poop is called meconium. While tarry, black, sticky and yucky to look at, it does NOT STINK.

Please be advised that I am only a Poonurse. I am NOT a medical doctor. Any advice I give should be taken moderate skepticism. Please consult a REAL medical doctor if you feel you have a serious medical condition.

-- Poonurse

Poonurse is an RN with 25 years experience in labor and delivery. Her qualifications include seeing a lot of poop, and owning a computer. Also, she works in Michigan, which she calls the asshole of the universe, so that's another bit of credibility.

Got a question for her?

179 Comments on "why does poop smell?"

sawa's picture

E.coli is an inhabitant of the rectum. E.coli bacteria are making your feces smell.

ChiliKahKah's picture
j 1000+ points

Human poop is similar to natural gas. A smell is added to natural gas so that the dangerous presence of gas can be detected. Nature makes poop stink so that we do not step in it or God forbid, consider eating it.

IBS NO MORE's picture
k 500+ points

I'm wondering if Chili saw the latest comment on Chief's broken toilet poll before writing that comment.
(Anon. Coward 12/9/09, just after Capt. Craptastic's comment)

How I beat IBS

When you say the word “poop,” your mouth makes the same motion your butthole does when pooping…
The same can be said for the phrase “explosive diarrhea.”

Jewel Reed's picture

I would like to know why my poop smells like cat poop. I has smelled this way since I had gallbladder removal surgery and had my last hernia surgery and they put in a patch in my stomach... Pleas help!!!

MOSSYDOG's picture

I just stumbled on this thread after typing "when I fart hot, they stink sweet" Into Google. It's a bumper sticker I made to put on the bumper of someone who pissed me off once.

"Ahem" -- General poo and fart lore: 1)Farts stink because they are comprised of gaseous anal oxide.

2)When on the road (or if you are someone who poos), rub a little white petrolatum, or similar substance, on yer poo-hole when you start your day. Poo-poo will slide out easily all day, and the TP will be *clean*. Also, if you enjoy anal sex, you''ll always be ready!!!

3) RE: Ass Munchies, my first Ex wife had the same problem, but she only de-feceated every other day or 3 (she was from Boston and so was, umm anal retentive) She called it "Big Doody" cause it was HUGE, and her butt always smelled .. too bad for her cause I really like to 69 and when in that position your nose is, literally, in her butt.

4)Once I worked at this great restaurant that served roasted garlic with home baked (fantastic) bread at every table. Needless to say, I ate A LOT of garlic, and although it didn't leak out of my pores (I'm a Dago) my farts were very airy and smelled like roasted garlic, but no poo smell at all.

5 2 Tbsp rice bran daily (if you can still find it.-- It tastes just like slightly sweet beach sand)gives the perfect poo - not too hard, not too soft, floats, not much stench,relieves both too hard and too soft stools. I have shared this tip with many many humans over the desperate, meaningless years of the sad and unholy stench that is my worthless existence, and the outcome (heeheeheeheeheeheheheheeheeehehheee) has always been the same. Stay strong my fellow poo-ers and evacuate proudly. Poo will never let you down!.......Mossydog

shit eater's picture

ha, these people have no lives. just devoting their time to see who can leave a bigger douce. well my colleges, i know who can leave the worst and the best. my sister, she has has every color from red to green. the only color she has to accomlish now is purple! uhh, anyone got pounds of blueberries? :D

RingStingRodney's picture

I definitely think it's all about the food/drink you consume. I have gone out and gotten pissed on beer, tequila, red wine and more tequila, the next day when i have a hangover shit, my shit is dark like the black plague, and it smells totally obnoxious, like the sweat from a baboons balls. Usually i have a quite a good relationship with the smells of my farts and craps (nothing smells as good as your own brand) but, not even I can handle the morbid stench from my bowels after I have been drinking heavily.

Poo Conscious's picture

this site is mad, who knew there was so much conversation to do with what comes out of your ass. and there is some pretty interesting shit on this site too.....literally.

Mr. pooperson's picture

Ummmmmm ok y do they even hav this site and seriously ur #1 source 4 ur #2 business???? wo wud hav a businuss that has 2 do with poop?????

anyways its bcus ppl et different stuff and so it combines lol i cant beliv im saying this ()U() :D

Bilgepump's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorh 3000+ points

Mr whateverthefuckyouare, first...what did you say, you lazy ass text speak motherfucker? You want an answer, ask a real question in English, or at least attempt to make an intelligent, legible comment, otherwise, quit wasting space here.


The proper order is kiss me, then go smell the other dog or cat's butt. I cannot stress this enough.

"One of the founding members of the Front Page Hyena Pack, and runs as its alpha male when the urge strikes him, which is often." Daphne (one perceptive chick)

Poop Master Gork's picture

I like to drink cheap beer and eat copious quantities of hardboiled eggs then play Dutch Oven with my GF. She hates that! The next day my shit smells like something crawled up my ass and died.

Anonymous Coward's picture

Everytime I crap at my job in the woman's bathroom, I always hear fellow co-workers chatting amongst themselves saying... "OMG! DO YOU SMELL THAT? IT DOESNT EVEN SMELL HUMAN!" But the most classic comment I have ever heard was "Damn! You can smell it all the way out in the hallway!" and "What's that smell? It's coming from under the door".....

I have had a few co-workers get so pissed off at me for stinking up the woman's bathroom at my job that one of them looked under the stall at my shoes then waited for me outside the bathroom for me to come out like she was gonna beat me up or something. When she recognized my shoes, she gave me dirty looks and made snide comments about my stinky shit to another co-worker.

I actually think I got fired from a job once because of my stinky poop stinking up the woman's bathroom at my former place of employment. I got fired with no reason given.

Oh well....They can all kiss my stinky ass as well for all I care ......bunch of worthless bastards.

Anonymous Coward's picture

my floaters tend to remind of the scent of hot turds on a summer day !

Brainiac's picture

Crap-Tastic !!!

Craponericus's picture

After having tons of laughs and learning some interesting stuff about crap I decided to ask you ass experts a question.

Every time (and I mean it when I say every time) I make home made pizza the next day I get very bad gas and a stinky diarrhea that is so bad it's like I'm peeing through my ass. I changed the pizza recipe, didn't make it spicy but it's the same. I even changed the tomato sauce... nothing. I really like my pizza but it's a nightmare the next day.

The ingredients I put in my pizza are the ordinary ones (cheese: mozzarella, gouda, emmental, prosciutto, sliced Champignon mushrooms, pepper, onion and tomato sauce. And the normal spices, oregano, salt and so on).

Any ideas? Could it be from the yeast I put in the dough?

ChiefThunderbutt's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatorf 5000+ points

Craponericus ... Are you affected by bread in an adverse way? Could be that you have wheat allergies or intolerance. Here is George Stella's recipe for a low carb soy flour pizza crust which isn't half bad.

Eat chilies and feel the burn!!

How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on!

IBS NO MORE's picture
k 500+ points

Craponericus -- If it's not the bread...

Try making your pizza without the meat or use crispy bacon instead; go easy on the cheese (esp the emmental) or substitute softer cheeses like feta; and also chew each mouthful thoroughly (try for 30 chomps each).

Nasty farts and uber-diarrhea typically come from starch fermentation, which happens 1) when we don't chew starches long enough (starch digestion starts in the mouth and cannot proceed if not started properly there), and 2) when we eat meat protein with starches.

Open your eyes AND your mind to the power of food!
Health via Food (scroll down to read by chapter)

When you say the word “poop,” your mouth makes the same motion your butthole does when pooping…
The same can be said for the phrase “explosive diarrhea.”

Anonymous Coward Zorro's picture

my shit doesn't stink. it is so trumped out and wonderful it should be dried,powdered, and mixed with aluminum (to penetrate and irritate the skin of course!) to be placed under the arm pits.

Don't feel bad if your shit stinks - not every one can be fabulous. It is the crappy little people like you who elevate me to greatness in comparison.

In case your a rock - I am being sarcastic. Everyones shit stinks because a few trillion bacteria farts can sting even the noses or humans/the gods (i dunno who they are). Bacteria truly are the supreme lifeform. Stop under estimating them so grossly meat sacks!

crapic-jam's picture

I stumbled upon this page as I sit here (legs going numb due to lack of circulation) trying to make something happen.

Used to be a regular (am b4 shower/pm b4 bed) girl. Then I had my gallbladder removed & every few months or so (usually after a sizzler's buffet of wings & steak) 30min after the meal my stomach felt like an atom bomb explosion. I was always lucky enough 2 find a safe place (except for the time I was in the handicapped stall & someone's grandma parked her walker at the door & stared me down through the crack...I digress as that's another story).

Anypoop, ass I was saying: it seemed like I would get the ass-gasket down in the nick of time to plop down (no pun intended (npi)) onto the seat for the aftershock of the a-bomb in my belly.

These sessions can only be described as the most violent shit-sessions in the history of ever, so bad that my ass filed a restraining order against my inerds.

Joking aside, I'm sure u get my point...I could poop.

Now, I have the opposite problem. I'm so full-of-shit (no pun intended (npi), shitto) I only go once a week if I'm lucky. When I go, these stinkers I mean sinkers appear to be pretty solid but they are never bigger than a mcnugget and never more than a 6 peice, average is happy meal (4 peice). Oh, and they are the color of a mocha frap, have that 'new shit' smell and round like a marble.

My question is this, is there anything you ass-perts can recommend I take that can regulate my expulsion without cramps?

Also, if I can get a time estimate of consumption to crap-down, example:

Consumption = launch sequence start
Colon = c
Shit = number between 1&10
Crap-down = lift-off

Attention: the launch sequence has been activated, the crap-down begins in c minus shit seconds...

Or you could just tell me how long it takes to work, that would be great to plan around my 1.5 hr commute.

Poop-dough Fun Factory's picture

Sometimes I have days where I wake myself up by stinking up the room with my farts. Those nasty paint peeling, heavy and hot, make the dog leave farts. I'll go around the first part of my day chasing myself from room to room. Then it happens, I joyfully let out another one of those sticky mother fuckers and I thought it was just a fart. A little later I'll find that I really sharted myself, so I'll run to the bathroom and scoop that shit out. Clean it up and all, only to find that I've given myself a rash for the next few days. Is my poop super acidic? Could this possibly be some super power that I need to consider exploiting?

The Worlds Greast pooper.'s picture

i take a dump every couple days like 4 or 5 days actually i just took one about an hour ago. it's normal when we go to the bathroom. we just can't stop from mother nature. it's cleaning us out the bowels. and we go pee it's fleshing us out. so i don't know why it stinks it just does. after your done just spray some Perfume It will be ok after you spray perfume if it stinks in there.it's just part of life when we go to the bathroom you just can't help it.

prarie doggin's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Quality Moderatorg 4000+ points

Sorry, I had you confused with The Worlds Greast speller.

miss poopsalot's picture

Ummm waahh I did a fair bit of laughing so far but came here for a real question...that is I seriously have the best poos after a good beef steak, like the next morning, and I think it has to have been with a baked potato and salad. Anyone else have a favorite poo-recipe? These are the best ever--very little stink, nice and solid, about an inch in diameter, definitely sinkers and I feel really well relieved after. ?? Happy crapping one and all.

swag girl's picture

LMAO, I haven't been on here in a while, you guys crack me up. I never thought that talking about your bowel movements was like a chat line! Don't stop keep on talking about your poop. This is a classic.

ChiefThunderbutt's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatorf 5000+ points

miss poopsalot ... My least stinky offerings come after a night of stuffing myself with fried pot stickers, moldy cabbage, pinto beans and washing it all down with a case of good pale ale. You are cordially invited to come over for a few whiffs some morning.

Dirty old men need love too!!

How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on!

prarie doggin's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Quality Moderatorg 4000+ points

A few whiffs? Chief, have you no couth, you nasty hillbilly?

You're not going to offer her some coffee and pastry too?

IBS NO MORE's picture
k 500+ points

PD -- what would be the point of offering snacks? She would be knocked out cold already from the whiffs.

When you say the word “poop,” your mouth makes the same motion your butthole does when pooping…
The same can be said for the phrase “explosive diarrhea.”

ScottyGills's picture

I have an interesting question for all your brown stuff compatriots out there.I eat hard boiled eggs sometimes and my stools are of a very nice persuasion ie nice and hard an no wipes needed and when i consume porridge my stools are like fluffy clouds with at least half a toilet roll needed to clean the said starfish!....why is this so???.I also have a tip for you fellow shitters out there...crap first(thus if you can hold ya yellow stuff in at the same time)then piss of the skid marks afterwards..works everytime.

sooperpooper's picture

I'm glad I stumbled across this thread.

I just pooped a solid slugger and the stench was so foul I had to look it up, haha. Spoiled deviled eggs if you'd like to know (and if you didn't, well now you do!). It's usually a sign that my bowel movements are off. About a minute later I had to run back to the toilet to poop out a soft-serve ice-cream like feces that stung so bad Chuck Norris would cry.

So my question is this; I had two poops, the first was solid and had been brewing up all day, normal poop. The second was diarrhea-like and just came out after the first one (stung like a bitch too!), if your poop is not ready to go but comes out anyways is it filled with acids from your intestines? Does poop that is ready not have those burning acids in it (or what happens to the burn)? hmm, basically why does poop burn sometimes?
*insert funny poop related sign-off line here*

IBS NO MORE's picture
k 500+ points

SooperPooper -- Our intestines do not use acid to digest anything. That only happens in the stomach, and unless there's a problem with the pyloric valve, stomach acid stays there. When it doesn't stay in the stomach is when we get nasty problems like duodenal ulcers.

Poop burns sometimes due to the acid character of the residues of the foods that were eaten to create the poop.

When you say the word “poop,” your mouth makes the same motion your butthole does when pooping…
The same can be said for the phrase “explosive diarrhea.”

curious's picture

My 2-year-old son recently has had several poops that do not stink at all. He has been taking antibiotics for an ear infection. Could that be causing it or is there another possible reason?

sticky-poop's picture

I am a x-tobacco user and since I quit the poop doesn't come as easily nor as regular. It's also very sticky and black..

Anonymous Coward's picture

My shit stinks and I have come to the conclusion that it's because we eat a lot of meat and not processed foods. However, I ALWAYS block the loo. Why is that, I go daily, sometimes twice but man, every time I the block the loo. I know I'm full of crap like us all LOL. Any suggestions folks?

MSG's picture
Comment Quality Moderatori 2000+ points

Hello, Sticky--if your poop is black and sticky, have your doctor check it for occult blood; that is a symptom of internal bleeding and may have nothing to do with quitting smoking.

Hello, AC, you may be blocking the toilet with excess toilet paper rather than poop. If your poop by itself is really big enough to block a toilet twice a day, you should carry a knife with you to break up the big turds before you flush. Then don't use that knife at the dinner table.

ChiefThunderbutt's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatorf 5000+ points

Sticky, Most smokers end up blocking their lungs with tar from the tobacco smoke. It sounds like your lung clogage has dropped into your rectum and you are now suffering from a rare malady known as "nicotineum buttclogamus". It might be a good idea to do what MSG says and see a doctor.

Good luck to ya!

How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on!

How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on!

Dingle Berry's picture

This site has helped me greatly as well as brought me much enjoyment, immature but true. Thanks guys!

Anonymous's picture

To be honest, my poo got even smellier after I dieted by drink only green tea everyday.

Anonymous's picture

what a hillarious bunch of idiots!

Anonymous's picture

Anyone else notice the fact that this nurse changes 10,000 diapers per day? I find that to be more fascinating than the poop smell.