In the last couple of years many people have been forced to work from home, which has enabled them to navigate the “can’t poop at work problem” with effortless ease.

I’m hearing reports that, whilst getting back to some kind of ‘normal’ is welcome to many, some people are suffering from a loss of confidence when returning to the work place and unsurprisingly, a lot of these fears come from using toilets at work.

This issue seems to affect more women than men; the latter more inclined to proudly announce their toileting needs to their colleagues and then provide a full report of the experience on returning to the desk!

I have several clients whose bowel function has improved enormously whilst working from home because they haven’t had to deal with the ‘toilet shame.’

Toilet shame? What? 

Is that even a thing?

Yes it absolutely is.

Many of us find using toilets at work a terrifying prospect and we are really self conscious about it. I’m super blessed because I have my own private en-suite facility in the clinic, but as I recall there were several hazards that a person might encounter when needing a poo at work:


  • you might create a dreadful smell
  • you might sound like you’re dropping off a depth charge
  • it takes ages for your poo to come out and leaving your desk empty for a long time attracts the kind of attention that you just don’t want from your boss
  • the flush might not work
  • the toilets aren’t that clean and don’t feel hygienic
  • your bowel habits are really nobody else’s business
Years ago in my late teens, I was working for a property maintenance company and I used to dread needing a poo at work because the ladies loo was sandwiched in between the gents cubicle and the main office, which was filled with men. It was such a scary prospect that if I did need to go, I used to have to wait until lunchtime and then walk over half a mile to use a disgustingly filthy public toilet in a pretty seedy and suspect part of Bristol (as it was then).

Although the risk to my personal safety was huge, I still considered the anonymity it afforded me around having a poo to be of greater value, and whilst it was far from ideal, I had at least found a solution to my toileting trouble – which gave me some relief.

Why is holding on to a poo such a bad idea?

Those who do not find solutions will continue to hold on to their poos for hours and hope that the opportunity presents itself when they’re back in the comfort of their own homes later that day. Sadly, bowels don’t always oblige, and when we hold on like this we kind of disengage the presentation mechanism.

The anal sphincters in your back passage can literally get out of synch, and over time, this behaviour will create digestive irregularity and contribute to chronic constipation which you really DO NOT want. Constipation results in you polluting your system which in turn will have a far reaching ill-effect on your health further down your life line.

Alarm set for 6am for a morning poo - bowel habits morning poo

Three Simple Things to Improve Bowel Habits

Bowel habits are so-called for a reason. You can honestly train yourself to perform better in this area, so try implementing these tips and see how you get on.

In an ideal world, we would wake up and a good poo would be the first thing that happens in the morning. In order to encourage this habit to form, I recommend you implement the following actions on a daily basis:

  1.  Wake up earlier to give yourself time to actually have a poo comfortably in the morning. If you leave getting up to the last possible moment and then rush round like a lunatic, you’ll put your body into a stress response which will stop your digestion from functioning well. The optimal time to open your bowels is between 5am and 7am.
  2. Before you do anything else in the morning, drink a pint of luke warm water down in one go, or as close to it as you can manage. This stimulates a reflex in your digestive tract which usually promotes a mass movement in your intestines, resulting in a good poo.
  3. Stop eating any food after 7pm in the evening. When you overload your digestion in the late evening, you slow up the whole process and things aren’t ready to move by the time you wake up the next day, hence the poo arrives inconveniently a bit later in the day when you’re at work.

If you’d like more top tips to improve your digestive health, can I recommend my book called Let That Sh*t Go! – 31 Things to Do if You Want a Better Poo!