If you’ve ever meandered around a department store with shopping basket in hand, only to suddenly feel the urge to poop, you may be surprised to know that you are one of many. So many in fact, that Dr. Supriya Rao, a quadruple board-certified physician in internal medicine, gastroenterology, obesity medicine, and lifestyle medicine, addressed the phenomenon in an interview with BuzzFeed.
While there is no conclusive evidence on the subject, Dr. Rao offered a number of potential causes as to why people may feel the need to relieve themselves while shopping in large department stores. One such reason may be the fact that many of us are getting a lot of steps in while shopping. All that walking can certainly kick the bowels into gear. Alternatively, some larger chains, like Target, tend to come equipped with an in-store Starbucks. While a sweet treat may enhance the shopping experience, the added caffeine can prompt the need to poop.
Third, there may also be an emotional element at play. When shopping, some people may feel overwhelmed, while others may find the experience to be more calming and enjoyable. Regardless, whether the body is in a heightened state of emotion or feels more at ease, either could potentially prompt a bowel movement.