How Poop Works: A Tour Of The Factory

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We at PoopReport spend all day talking about poop. But how many of us know what it really is and how it really works? Many of the explanations we read are written so that only trained medical professionals can understand them. But I'm going to try to demystify the process so that the next time your stomach doubles you over in cramps, you can think to yourself, as you stumble to the bathroom, "Hey! I know why this is happening! Thanks -- *ughnnnnnnnn* -- Motherload!"

The human digestive system operates like a factory. The plan of operation for this facility is pretty simple.

  1. Obtain raw materials
  2. Prepare raw materials for processing
  3. Construct the product
  4. Export the finished product
  5. Profit from the endeavor

The raw materials needed here are food and water. They need to be of a particularly high standard in order to produce a quality end result. If automobile manufacturers used junk parts, and if they didn't use the proper mixture of chemicals to make paint, for instance, the end result would be one ugly and poorly operating vehicle. Same thing goes for your stomach: even though the goal here in your digestive plant is to actually produce a piece of shit, it should be some good shit. Nobody likes a crappy car, and nobody likes sub-standard turds, either.

Once you have obtained the supplies needed to begin the process, you must prepare them for assembly on the turd line. The workers that perform these preliminary tasks are called enzymes. The first enzymes on the assembly line are stationed at the receiving dock -- that is, your mouth. Arriving in your saliva, these enzymes begin the breakdown of carbohydrates, or starches. Once the food makes it to the stomach, the enzymes that arrive via stomach acid convert the food into chyme, a liquidy substance of partially-digested food, water, enzymes, and acid. The chyme is then squirted out into the small intestine, where the next group of laborers starts in on it.

These are the lipase enzymes -- the little guys that digest fats and other lipids. Since fats do not dissolve in water and tend to clump together in a large congealed mass, the enzymes need a chemical solution to assist them in their work. This substance is called bile. Bile is stored in a small organ on the underside of the liver called the gallbladder.

Bile is essential to help the enzymes emulsify the fat molecules. This is kind of the same effect Dawn dishwashing liquid has on greasy dishes. Without bile, it would be impossible for the enzymes to complete this step, and the fat in your factory would continue down the line unchanged. This can result in ugly product flaws -- excessive gas, or greasy poop.

The workers in the bile department know they're crucial to the process -- which, in some factories, gives them a sense of entitlement. Every so often they'll go on strike. Sure, they'll tell you that cholesterol caused crystals to form in the gallbladder, creating gallstones that blocked the passage of bile. Or maybe they'll say it was a mass in the liver or the gallbladder or some other symptom or complication of liver or gallbladder disease. Management isn't dumb -- they know a work stoppage when they see one. But the bile department is critical, which means management has no choice but to appease them.

Assuming bile has been successfully delivered, the chyme passes on to the small intestine. There nutrients are absorbed into the circulatory system to be transported to other divisions in the company -- the skin division, the muscle division, the brain division -- for use in growing or repairing cells, or for the storage and release of energy.

The remaining chyme is then conveyed on to the large intestine, a.k.a. the colon. The colon's main job is to remove the excess water and salts from the chyme for recirculation back into the factory, thus leaving a more solid substance. Bacteria located in the colon assist in fermenting and further digesting the chyme, but very little absorption of nutrients actually takes place beyond the small intestine.

The colon department extends from the cecum (a pouch that joins the small intestine to the large intestine), up the right side of the abdomen, across the upper abdomen, and then down the left side of the abdomen, finally connecting to the shipping department, a.k.a. the rectum and the anus. The colon has three parts: the ascending colon and the transverse colon, both of which absorb fluids and salts, and the descending colon, which acts as a warehouse, storing the resulting product until it's ready for export.

The workers in the colon are bacteria -- legal aliens granted permission to live and work and raise their families in your large intestine. They're good, honest laborers. But sometimes bad bacteria manage to sneak into your stomach, perhaps hitching a ride in spoiled milk, for instance. The bad bacteria can prevent the good bacteria from doing the job. The guards in the colon are vigilant but cruel: if this happens, they'll fill the colon full of fluid to flush everything out -- bad bacteria, good bacteria, and anything that might be in the colon. Accounting writes this off as a loss: diarrhea.

But if the good bacteria are allowed to do their job, this is the end of the manufacturing process. A good, solid product successfully reaches the rectum, where it is retained until it is time for export. And if everything has gone well, the end result is profitable for all. The body reaps the benefits of the nutrients derived from the extraction procedures, and you can take pride in the magnificent labor provided by the microscopic employees of the great poop factory within you.

For the best possible outcome, it is wise to utilize strict quality control standards when selecting your raw materials. Limit the intake of excessively fatty foods or other junk to prevent unnecessary overtime on the part of the work crew. Provide an adequate water supply to aid in the absorption process, and avoid stressful situations that can create disturbances in the muscle contractions needed to keep the assembly line in motion. Poor working conditions, inadequate or improper supplies, and damaged or misused equipment can result in worker strikes, faulty products, or even permanent shutdown.

Not all automobile manufacturers are successful, and not all poop factories will be, either. But as general manager, you play an important role in the profitability of your poop manufacturing plant. You should make every effort to maintain your equipment by having routine inspections and avoiding pollutants or harsh chemicals that can lessen the effectiveness of your intestinal employees. If you drink plenty of water and eat foods low in fat and high in fiber, you should produce some quality poop that will make you the envy of the next industry convention.

43 Comments on "How Poop Works: A Tour Of The Factory"

Poopgirl's picture
m 1+ points - Newb
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I'll take your advice! I want to make my poop factory work better!

P.S. If this is first post, YAY! If this is not, ignore the P.S.
Poop on!

-Poopgirl

Poop on!

-Poopgirl

Anomalous Coward's picture
k 500+ points
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My GI tract has an accounting department? If my shit production goes up do I get a raise? Dose George Bush know about this?

Crappen Geocacher's picture
m 1+ points - Newb
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Almost had first post, but was not logged in.

Without a Gallbladder, you have to watch out for fat and spicy foods, from what I found out, but it is a good idea to avoid these things even with a good gallbladder

Anal About Poop's picture
l 100+ points
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This was great! You should have this animated. I would watch it. Very funny AND informative. I could visualize the tiny poo workers.

SamDamnit's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorj 1000+ points
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I don't want my workers to go on strike, so after work, I am going to buy them all a round of beers.
_______
Sir SamDamnit!
The Emir of Crapistan

SamDamnit!
The Emir of Crapistan

Crappen Geocacher's picture
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Delivering Brown to America's Hindquarters for 46 years. I call the sewer system and Garbage collection, part of America's Hindquarters, and it works pretty well.

One advantage of a good diet, is the better poops you have, and less paper needed, and that helps to prevent clogging the sewer system.

Can't forget exercise, this helps the poop factory to work better, at delivering the product.

DungDaddy's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorj 1000+ points
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This report is great. I feel like a second grader watching the 1960's animated science films. Thank you, Motherload.

Interesting comment by anomolous coward. You have it only partly right though. This is how it works: If your production of BULLSHIT goes up, you become a liberal pee-head and mention George W Bush in the second post on a poop website. The only clear reason is you can't help yourself.

Hu Flung Dung's picture
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What a great analogy of the digestive tract, Mother Load. You're truly a great addition to the PR staff.
_______
Yes, those are my brown spots. Yes, those are your walls.

Yes, those are my brown spots. Yes, those are your walls.

Double Flush's picture
k 500+ points
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"even though the goal here in your digestive plant is to actually produce a piece of shit, it should be some good shit." This part made me laugh. Thanks Mrs. Load! (yes I do know she is married)

You did a really awesome job on this--it makes things a lot easier to take in. However, I was wondering-without my gallbladder, could I eat fats and not get fatter?

_______
Damnit, someone stole my signature!

[Insert witty banter here]

Anomalous Coward's picture
k 500+ points
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DungDaddy - Do I detect hostility?
I am not a liberal, I am just about as conservative as you get. I was not denigrating the president. Not that it matters, but I admire and respect the man. In light of the "George is one of us" post, I thought it amusing. Obviously I was mistaken.

Thunderbox's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Quality Moderatorj 1000+ points
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Great stuff ML, apart from a wondrous poop expert, you`re a great story teller.

I`ve always kept, as you might expect of a Brit, my servants in the lower quarters under a strict regime of reward and punishment. As a result, my bowels work like a Swiss clock.

Defecation is performed once a day, after breakfast, in an orderly and profound manner.

The voice of sanity

GottaGoGirl's picture
i 2000+ points
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I think this should be stickied to the top of the main page!

Motherload's picture
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I am glad that you appreciate my particular style of writing, but I must say that this story became what it is with the help of a little "fine-tuning" by our dear editor, Dave.
_______
Always looking out for number two!

Always looking out for number two!

Bunga Din's picture
j 1000+ points
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Awesome report as always Motherload, this one was a true masterfece though. I do have a few questions, who fills out the bill of lading and how does the shipper decide he's ready to ship? Is there some quality control guy at the very end who takes a final sample and signs off on it? Sometimes we poop very small amounts and sometimes very large and from my experience it isn't always based on the volume taken in from the previous day.

P.S. I think my ass is now ISO 9001-2000 compliant.

daphne's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardSite AdminComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatore 6000+ points
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Motherload, this means I am a hybrid, ethanol-run vehicle since I don't eat my friends.

I'm a Saturn VUE Greenline with a toiletpaper attachment in the mid console.


_______
.....hugging bunnies since 1969
www.daphneszoo.com

.....hugging bunnies since 1969
www.daphneszoo.com

Motherload's picture
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Bunga, the only real paperwork involved is usually handled by the general manager in the end.

The quality control guy is the one that makes the decision on what goes into the recieving dock. After that, its basically all just a bunch of shit.

As far as shipments go--some factories such as Thunderbox's run on a regular schedule, and others like mine and The Dumpster's seem to have alot of "emergency evacuations" and fire drills going on.

Size of shipment is probably just based on how the little guys down in the old plant are feeling on any given day.

(
_______
Always looking out for number two!

Always looking out for number two!

DungDaddy's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorj 1000+ points
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AC, I guess if you work for Bush, he should know about it. Sorry to peg you wrong, but I am a bit hostile sometimes about how fast these discussions go political. I guess I'm to blame now.

Poop Shooter's picture
k 500+ points
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Daph, your a Veg-A-Matic, while the majority of us are just garbage disposals. Good for you girl, bad for us, but it's a good thing my local union really enjoys working 7 days a week and 24hours a day. They did go on strike last week and rejected the coffee and Pepto I consumed and made strange substances come out where it should not have.

After some talks with the union rep, a Mr.Tummystance, I agreed to their demands and they returned to work much more happily.


_______
Regional Power Pooping Champion 1995-2006
Poop Shooter!

Poop Shooter!

shitwit's picture
k 500+ points
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Great piece, Motherload~! My factory operates much like Thunderbox's, but on occaision it does have some setbacks. Lately it's been very busy trying to restore order. Anti-biotics really did a number on production!


_______
Brown tidings I bring
to you
from my ring

Rock-n-roll! Poopy-poo!

GottaGoGirl's picture
i 2000+ points
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HAH ha! When I read Poop Shooter's post about Veg-O-Matic, I thought of the Salad Shooter. Which is what Sam could be called, with his lettuce lace!

Anomalous Coward's picture
k 500+ points
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DungDaddy - No big deal bud. I generally tend to avoid the politickin' thing for just that reason. No offense taken - have a good one.

SamDamnit's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorj 1000+ points
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"Salad Shooter" I like it!
_______
Sir SamDamnit!
The Emir of Crapistan

SamDamnit!
The Emir of Crapistan

daphne's picture
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I have a new nickname. I am dubbed Salad Shooter. This is good. It is better than to be dubbed "Smelly".

_______
.....hugging bunnies since 1969
www.daphneszoo.com

.....hugging bunnies since 1969
www.daphneszoo.com

daphne's picture
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Ooops, double post. Sorry. Move along people. Nothing to see here.


_______
.....hugging bunnies since 1969
www.daphneszoo.com

.....hugging bunnies since 1969
www.daphneszoo.com

poo-per-ee's picture
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At the end of the assembly line is the spray paint booth. You forgot to mention the paint crew.... And what's up with them always using the same brown paint?

Anonymous Coward's picture
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You have some control over the final color. Order in some red beets to the loading dock, for instance.

daphne's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardSite AdminComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatore 6000+ points
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There's always that weekend special "hangover black". It's good for the Halloween holiday.
_______
.....hugging bunnies since 1969
www.daphneszoo.com

.....hugging bunnies since 1969
www.daphneszoo.com

Anonymous Coward's picture
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So is there a "typical" amount of time from consumption to release of the final product? I've always wondered if there is a "typical" duration involved in the whole process.

Motherload's picture
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AC, here is a brief run-down of the approximate timing of digestion:

It takes 5 or 6 seconds for food to go from the mouth to the stomach.

The time it takes for the stomach to empty all of its contents into the small intestine depends on how much food was consumed, the fat content of the food, and the acidity level in the stomach, but this step is usually complete within 2-4 hours.

It takes about 5-6 hours for the small intestines to digest, absorb and move the remaining contents to the colon.

The colon continues the process of removing excess water and preparing the final product. The assembly line is much slower here than in the small intestine, and this phase lasts from 12-24 hours.

So what goes in usually comes out within 20-30 hours if there is nothing interfering with normal processing.


_______
Always looking out for number two!

Always looking out for number two!

Bobby's picture
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I, happily poo 3 times per day. Some solid, some not so solid, but always easy to get out. I never have constipation problems. I'm 39 years old.
Good article, ML>

healthy 1's picture
j 1000+ points
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Very well balanced and well written story ML.

It is a funny, yet true story. One other thing, if the poop factory employees are happy, the whole body is happy.

It is these workers who begin the nutrient storage. Good nutrition results in a healthy body.
_______
Watch out for the deadly F4, though he's been gone since '53, he will be back.

"Two percent of the population think; three percent of the population think they think, and 95 percent of the population would rather die than think."

Turd A'Float's picture
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I have been told by someone who claims to know, that healthy liver and gallbladder are crucial to quality defecation.

Miss Simone Scat's picture
k 500+ points
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This was very informative.
Done in cartoon form, would have made for an awesome school film.
Producing waste since 1967

Producing waste since 1967

Deja Poo's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorj 1000+ points
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My factory works pretty well but it's smokestack emission can occasionally be overwhelming. If the Kyoto accords ever get passed, I'm going to have to buy some serious Methane credits.

Very informative, ML. More importantly, very understandable.
_______
Yo quiero Taco Bell.

Yo quiero Taco Bell.

MSG's picture
Comment Quality Moderatori 2000+ points
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This article is truly excellent. My own case shows a side effect: after two surgeries for stones (bladder & kidney) I was put on a high-water regime of 64 oz a day. I have maintained it diligently and (so far) with success--no more stones. However, my bowel movements, which formerly were a 2 or 3 on the Bristol Scale, are now a 4 or 5. They are still satisfying and decently formed, but neither as hard nor as frequent as before: I used to have 3 a day most of the time, and now it is just 1 or 2. To me it is obvious that, the more water I drink, the more is still left after the colon thinks it is finished absorbing it.

prarie doggin's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Quality Moderatorg 4000+ points
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Excellent article. I'm sure it was an oversight, but you forgot to mention the work done by union local 128. This is the corn reconstruction union. They are the ones who take every bit of corn (on-the-cob, creamed, muffins, etc) and rebuild them back into perfect polished kernels. These are then handed back to the factory with instructions to bypass the spray paint booth. They are but a small cog in a large gear, but I thought they deserved mention.

JPK's picture
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There is something I do not understand about human feces process. The food going in has a colorie value (something about burning it to heat a kg of water 1 degree C), but the end product feces after digestion still retains a portion of the calorie value. It also seems that different foods will retain more calorie value like corn or nuts (because high dietary fiber content according to wikipedia). Now my point is, is there some other way to determine the releasabilty of the calorie value of food? It just seems that our society needs to have a different accepted way of dieting then simply calorie counting. Is there some sort calorie releasabilty scale to foods? With this knowledge people could construct better diets. I am not so much a science guy, so maybe someone could help me with this one. Many times I have looked into a toilet before flushing wondering, and I would love an answer.

Bilgepump's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorh 3000+ points
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JFK, it must be pointed out that your body doesn't just expel what you ate the day before, but dead cells, bacteria, waste product FROM burning those calories, etc. Stop eating, you'll still shit. The body is reduced to consuming itself, if not fed, starting with fat cells, and then muscle tissue, etc.

"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)

ChiliKahKah's picture
j 1000+ points
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Brought to you by the Makers of Brown 25. 0
(ala Groove Tube)

Poopmeister General's picture
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I'll never take 'parking my breakfast' for granted ever again; not now I know about all the hard graft that goes into the end product. I love my little poop factory workers....salt of the earth, working class heroes one and all!

Anonymous Coward's picture
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Yo fellow poopsters, this article is great but it doesn't explain what happens if you haven't pooped for five days??? Yes, my company seems to have gone on strike and I don't know what to do. all I do is fart and pee, no poop. I actually miss them now. any help motherload?

Anonymous Coward too's picture
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I regrettably did not in hindsight treat my workers well, eg medication abuse & emotional overeating, & now the place has completely shutdown. I've got some relief workers in, eg laxatives as well as trustworthy natural food products, to pander to any qualms & hopefully restore full production. I hope for sum semblance of normality in future & a return to efficiency & busy industry.

Anonymous Coward's picture
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Haha!!! Cummserative bastard so quick to hate he was yelling at his own party. Started something he was "trying to stop".... Typical Republican. Anyways starting stuff and pretending to be peace makers.