The Curious Case of Ghost Poops
Poop comes in countless shapes, sizes, consistencies, and smells. Perhaps the form of your fecal matter is remarkably consistent and you rarely see any surprises. But for some people, poops are like a box of chocolates—you never know what you’re gonna get.
One type of turd that has recently generated buzz is a ghost poop.
One of these sandwiches immediately gave me the rare ghost poop, where you know you pooped but there’s no proof of it on the TP. Conflicted emotions. pic.twitter.com/r4xiRzq0bC
— Clara Sia (@seriouslyclara) September 22, 2021
The scholars at Urban Dictionary defined ghost poops as “The single most satisfying bowel movement that man is capable of.”
Generally speaking, a ghost poop means you experience the relief of a bowel movement without seeing any evidence of it, whether inside the toilet bowl or when you wipe your butt. However, There’s a heated debate online as to what exactly constitutes a ghost poop.
Rather than taking a hard side, we deferred to a doctor to explain the full spectrum of this mysterious phenomenon.
What Is a Ghost Poop?
As gastroenterologist Dr. Sameer Islam explains on his YouTube channel, there are three types of bowel movements that can be defined as ghost poops. Let’s break down each one and explain why (and how) they happen.
1. Poop That Doesn’t Leave Any Remnants When You Wipe
In rare instances, poop slides out so smoothly that it doesn’t leave any residue around your butt hole. This stands in stark contrast to those problematic poops where you wipe endlessly and can’t seem to get yourself clean.
According to Dr. Islam, there are two explanations for poop that makes a clean getaway. The first is that you had really good, healthy poop. “Not every single bowel movement needs to have something residual left in your bottom,” he says.
The second explanation is that you had a very small bowel movement. “Sometimes small bowel movements don’t leave any trace behind…not a big deal.”
Considering the lack of maintenance involved, these are one of the most prized types of poops. BuzzFeed writer Becky Barnicoat called ghost poops “insane, mythical, and highly sought after.” Urban Dictionary went as far as calling it “the king of all poops.”
If you want to increase your number of easy, smooth poops, Dr. Islam recommends adding prebiotic fibers to your diet, such as asparagus, bananas, apples, and oats.
2. When You Try to Poop, But Only Farts Come Out
If you feel a bowel movement coming, but can only manage to squeeze out a few farts on the toilet, that’s another kind of ghost poop.
“This is explained by having too much air in the colon and in the rectum,” says Dr. Islam. “It activates the nerves inside your colon and the rectum, giving you that urge to have a bowel habit.”
Even though you don’t poop, you may still feel relief from releasing all that tension in your gut. In most cases, this type of ghost poop is caused by eating a lot of “gassy” foods like artificial sweeteners or swallowing too much air (usually because of drinking straws).
Mistaking poop for a fart is generally harmless. However, mistaking a fart for a poop has dire consequences (for more on this, check out our sharting survival guide).
3. Poop That Disappears Down the Drain
In most cases, poop either sinks to the bottom of the toilet bowl or floats on top of the water. But it’s also possible for poop to slide down the drain without leaving a trace—you feel it, but you can’t see it. This is the third and final variation of ghost poop. It’s like an Olympic diver who goes straight to the bottom of the pool without making a splash.
That usually happens when your poop is long and smooth—a sign you have a super healthy gut.
“I would celebrate—you had a magical, ghostly poo,” says Dr. Islam. “Not a problem at all, nothing to worry about.”
Yes, You Need to Wipe After a Ghost Poop
Even if your undercarriage isn’t slathered with fecal matter, it’s still wise to wipe while you’re on the john. A quick maintenance wipe prevents swamp ass, stops bacteria from building up, and saves your undies from skid marks.
Don’t punish your butt with dry toilet paper though—keep your third pit fresh AF with flushable DUDE Wipes. They’re infused with aloe and Vitamin E to sooth your nether regions and help you steer clear of swassy situations.
As Dave Portnoy reminds us, “When you’re rich, only two things matter: flying private and cleaning your asshole.”