How Constipation and Nostalgia (surprisngly) are Related.

A type of nostalgia has now been linked to pooping. Surprised? We were, too! Medical science doesn’t have one single ideal number for poop frequency - everyone is different, right? However, the general consensus is that anything from 3 times a day to 3 times a week is fine, depending on the person. Additionally, constipation is loosely defined as pooping less than three times in seven days. link

The “behavioral immune system” may be used to help explain the link between nostalgia and constipation. The behavioral immune system is the psychological mechanism that helps us detect and stay away from things that may carry disease, like corpses or bodily fluid. Thus, we’re programmed to be disgusted by feces, and, therefore, keen to get it out of, and away, from our bodies.

Maggie Koerth-Baker, a scientific journalist wrote, that innate sense of disgust has consistently propped up a rotating roster of medical “explanations” for constipation, additionally she's said: The ideas documented in the Ebers Papyrus, which dates to the 16th century B.C., persisted all the way through the 1930s, in the guise of “autointoxication” — accidental self-poisoning that begins in the bowels. Constipation, then, could literally cause any disease, from cancer to schizophrenia. And this emphasis on constipation as the cause of all disease got stronger in the late 19th century, after scientists began to understand the germ theory of disease, Whorton said. Suddenly, there was a scientific explanation for what everybody already thought to be true. Bacteria lived in your poop. Bacteria caused disease. Clearly, the longer your poop sat in your body, the more at risk you were of getting sick."

So, the cause of our constipation is linked to the vagueness of modern life...and a return to older, more wholesome (and decidedly less modern) practices may be the cure.

Overall happiness, too, may be a factor: A 1981 study on the link between personality and pooping habits found that “individuals who describe themselves in more favorable terms tend to produce more frequent stools.” (And people who were “more socially outgoing, more energetic and optimistic, [and] less anxious,” the study found, tended to produce bigger ones.) A bit weird, huh? But it makes you think...when were your happiest times? Were your bowel movements also frequent, happy, and large?

In conclusion, enjoying the present, in other words, may indirectly be a safeguard against constipation and a cure against it would be to move forward and avoid nostalgia when possible.

The photo comes from Flickr user Quinn Dombrowski and is licensed under Creative Commons.