Why do I wake up from, er, bathroom needs every morning?
May 29, 2016 12:12 AM   Subscribe

Almost every morning, I wake up earlier than I want/need to because I have to empty my bowels. Why?

For the past few months, and sometimes before this, too, I have been waking up earlier than I want/need to because I really have to use the bathroom. (I often wake up once to empty my bladder as well.) This is not something I am used to, and it's pretty disruptive because I never get enough sleep.
I wonder why this is happening. The pattern seems to be brought on my emotional stress (and anxiety/depression flare-ups), but I wonder HOW it works. It happens no matter what I eat the previous day (dairy-free and gluten-free, salad, veggies, cake, whatever), even if I only had a salad, no matter of suppliments, medication etc. Like, I can take an iron supplement before bed and would usually be constipated as a result, but instead wake up with diarrhea. (Sorry for TMI!)
Other relevant factors are that I have been recently diagnosed with endometriosis that could be impacting my bowels - but it should have done so far years, so this doesn't explain the bowel movements coming and going. I might also have Hashimoto's, which I know can cause all kinds of symptoms (and may even be behind the anxiety flare-ups), but how does Hashimoto's know when to do this? It happens no matter what time I go to bed or, as I said, what I ate. I don't think it's a stomach bug either, it really does seem to coincide with mental health - or maybe the not getting enough sleep part is what is making me depressed??
posted by LoonyLovegood to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
From your posting history, I'm guessing you're female, right? About how old --- just about everyone has to go more frequently as they age.

Also, have you been going to bed earlier than previously? Think of your bladder as having capacity for x hours: if you've been trying to get, say, x plus 2 hours sleep, then there's the answer.
posted by easily confused at 4:04 AM on May 29, 2016


I'm female, yes, and 27. Lately, I'm only getting 6-7 hours of sleep, so I don't think that's it.
posted by LoonyLovegood at 4:09 AM on May 29, 2016


Other relevant factors are that I have been recently diagnosed with endometriosis that could be impacting my bowels - but it should have done so far years, so this doesn't explain the bowel movements coming and going.

Oh yes it can. I have endo as well, it was untreated for a decade before a large ovarian cyst that had formed who-knows-when torsioned and burst. Endo can be cyclical, with very little rhyme or reason, however if you're a careful observer, sometimes you can find what triggers which specific issues with it. In my case, when I'm stressed, I have worse cramps. When I'm less stressed, it lightens up noticeably. Thankfully my endo responds very well to the Pill (it's not necessarily the case for all women with endo), so I've been pain-free for a couple of years now. It absolutely does affect bowel movements. Absolutely.

Have you spoken to your doctor about this? Do! Endo research is finally starting to be a thing; the more you talk about it, the more you'll learn and the more your doctor(s) can learn as well.

I have also noticed that regular aerobic exercise really helps stomach and endo stuff.

It does kind of seem like your body's choosing the time of day when you're most relaxed, but IANAD at all.
posted by fraula at 5:35 AM on May 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


Here is an explanation of the effects of stress on the bowel.

link

Basically stress lowers the threshold for sensing gastrointestinal events.
posted by SyraCarol at 5:56 AM on May 29, 2016


Other relevant factors are that I have been recently diagnosed with endometriosis that could be impacting my bowels - but it should have done so far years

Not necessarily. Hormone levels fluctuate. I'm not vouching for the credibility of any of these search results, but there's a school of thought that IBS and endometriosis are linked.

As a former sufferer of a painful disease , related to endo, that also involves growth of endometrial cells in unwanted areas (adenomyosis), I suffered frightening stomach cramps and other symptoms of IBS. I was diagnosed with IBS in my late 20s. The symptoms came and went, but always worsened with stress, plus alcohol, sugar, and other things that affect inflammation. My cure was a hysterectomy, which I'm in no way suggesting, but the stomach pain also disappeared after all the adenomyosis was evicted.

I hope you will talk to your gyn or a gastroenterologist about your GI symptoms, and ask if they could be related to your diagnosis of endometriosis.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 6:07 AM on May 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


TMI ahead: I have been going to pelvic floor physical therapy for issues related to urine leakage and I mentioned to my PT that I have to empty my bowels every time I enter a certain store (no matter what). She has given me an extensive explanation about why that happens and therapy to help it stop and it has been amazing. So, while I don't necessarily have a good answer for why its happening now, I can tell you that there are things that can be done!
posted by dpx.mfx at 6:58 AM on May 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


I might also have Hashimoto's, which I know can cause all kinds of symptoms (and may even be behind the anxiety flare-ups), but how does Hashimoto's know when to do this?

You should get that checked. I was going to suggest hyperthyroid but anyway, thyroid could have everything to do with this.
posted by BibiRose at 7:07 AM on May 29, 2016


Thanks for the answers! I am getting all kinds of things checked out at the moment. What I wonder about is more the timing of my, ahem, bowel movements than the movements themselves. Why every morning around the same time, no matter what I do the night before? Did I improperly digest an alarm clock?
posted by LoonyLovegood at 7:33 AM on May 29, 2016


WRT what ImproviseOrDie just posted – holy cow. I also have an IBS diagnosis. It sorta-improved with my first pill (estrogen-progestin), and disappeared once I changed to a medrogestone pill two years ago. This is the pill that nixed my endo symptoms entirely (heaven). So yeah, thumbs-up to doctors.
posted by fraula at 7:34 AM on May 29, 2016


i've been diagnosed with ibs-c and my doctors have all said that ibs-d/ibs-c are affected by menstrual cycles/issues and that those affects are far more pronounced with stress.

have you tried exercise before bed? that always, er, moves things along for me. if your bowels are empty before you sleep, maybe they won't wake you up.

this might seem like an odd suggestion - but have you had your blood sugar tested recently? there are some insulin/hormone/liver things that could be causing this, but that's usually accompanied by shaking, rapid heart rate, etc.
posted by nadawi at 7:59 AM on May 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm male, but I used to have symptoms almost identical to the ones you're experiencing, at much the same time every night. I saw a gastroenterologist, and he prescribed a daily dose of cholestyramine, a drug used to treat high cholesterol but commonly prescribed off-label to treat IBS. It worked perfectly.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:23 AM on May 29, 2016


What I wonder about is more the timing of my, ahem, bowel movements than the movements themselves. Why every morning around the same time, no matter what I do the night before? Did I improperly digest an alarm clock?

I think it's probably something to do with the function of serotonin in the GI tract. Serotonin plays a significant role in the regulation of GI movement, and is also a significant regulator of the sleep cycle. It seems reasonable to suspect that this (not terribly well understood) set of connections is the ultimate cause of the phenomenon.
posted by howfar at 11:40 AM on May 29, 2016


I think you're going about this the wrong way. You know how many ads for things like yoghurt and Metamucil and stuff say they help you "stay on schedule" or "on the clock" or whatever euphemism they have for pooping every day around the same time. It happens to me too, I usually set my alarm for 7.45am and going #2 is the first thing I do every morning, but for some reason some days I wake earlier having to poop. It gets annoying on weekends. On the other hand, yay for pooping every day.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 6:51 PM on May 29, 2016


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