Can you eat your own feces?

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you eat your own feces?” and discuss Is smelling poop bad for you?

Can you eat your own feces?

No, you cannot eat your own feces. Healthy human stool contains a diverse range of organisms with an average of 90 billion bacteria per gram of wet stool and also parasites.The 3 main classes of parasite responsible for human disease are protozoa, helminths and ectoparasites (1).  There are also beneficial bacteria that help you digest food and manage a wide range of biological activities, including your metabolism.

It is “minimally harmful,” according to the Illinois Poison Center, to consume excrement. Bacteria frequently seen in our digestive tracts may be discovered in feces. It’s OK to absorb these bacteria in your intestines, but you should not do so in your mouth.

Not only the ingestion of feces are a risk to health, but the ingestion of feces contaminated water and soil, because they can carry harmful bacteria and parasites, such as D. fragilis. D. fragilis has worldwide distribution, and, in contrast to many protozoa, is more common in developed countries, such as Denmark and Australia. The prevalence is higher in children and in adults caring for children, reaching up to 71%. While serology is not routinely performed, 91% of Canadian children and adolescents have antibodies to D. fragilis (1).

Poop may be poisonous, but what happens if you overeat it?

Toxicology experts at the Illinois Poison Center say that eating excrement is “minimally harmful.” Poop, on the other hand, is a natural reservoir for the bacteria present in the intestines and can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or low-grade fever. Despite the fact that these bacteria are harmless in your intestines, it is not recommended that they be consumed in your mouth.

What happens when a child consumes poop?

There is no danger in ingesting a mouthful of excrement, particularly when it is a child’s own excrement, according to the Illinois Poison Center. In rare cases, symptoms akin to food poisoning may result. Animal feces that are contaminated with certain germs or viruses might cause more severe sickness. It’s unusual to see anything like this.

However, the ingestion of feces or contaminated water and soil containing human feces may lead to diarrhea and other diseases, such as infection with parasites. Diarrheal disease caused by fecal pathogens is the second leading cause of mortality in children under 5 years of age, responsible for approximately 760,000 deaths annually. Fecal pathogens are primarily transmitted through the fecal– oral pathway with commonly reported exposure points of water, fields/floor, hands, food, and flies (2).

Is the smell of feces harmful?

Stools that have a foul odor have an especially pungent aroma. Fungus in the colon and certain meals may cause foul-smelling feces in certain individuals. As a result, smelly stools may be a sign of far more severe disease. Foul-smelling feces might bring on symptoms of diarrhea, bloating, or gas.

Volatile organic compounds are emitted from the whole body and can be analyzed from exhaled air, feces, saliva, skin, urine, and blood. Since the beginning of the 20th century, the number of studies linked to variations in volatile organic compounds emitted by humans to detect diseases has been steadily increasing, whether they concern parasitic diseases such as malaria or chronic diseases such as asthma, diabetes, or tuberculosis (3).

What’s up with the foul odor in my feces?

Lactose ferments in the large intestine if you don’t have enough lactase enzyme or if you don’t make enough of it. This produces gas and feces that smell bad, abdominal pain and bloating, excessive flatus, and watery stool following the ingestion of foods containing lactose (5).  Relieve the pain (and smell) by limiting your intake of dairy products, opting for lactose-free goods, or using lactase supplements..

Malabsorptive and maldigestive diarrhea result from impaired nutrient absorption and impaired digestive function, respectively. Classic symptoms include abdominal distention with foul-smelling, large, floating, pale, fatty stools (steatorrhea) and weight loss (4).

Transplantation of feces

Poop may be useful in the medical field under some circumstances (although not for eating). Fecal transplantation falls within this category. Bacteriotherapy is another name for it.

C. difficile colitis may be treated with this method (C. diff). Severe diarrhea, stomach cramps, and a high temperature are all symptoms of this virus. Long-term antibiotic use is a factor in the development of this illness. Fecal microbiome transplant is emerging as an effective therapy for the treatment of recurrent C. difficile colitis disease (6).

Since there may not be enough beneficial bacteria in one’s feces, they may not be able to fight off other illnesses, such as Clostridium difficile. Fecal transplantation may be an option for those with persistent Clostridium difficile infections.

The procedure necessitates the use of excrement donated by a third party. The feces are examined for evidence of parasite presence. A blood sample is often requested from the donor in order to screen for fecal-transmitted illnesses like hepatitis A. Prerequisites may also be to not have recently traveled to endemic areas for Amebiasis or Giardiasis and not have any chronic GI disorders, such as inflammatory bowel disease (7).

A liquid diet or laxative preparation will typically be consumed by the recipient of a fecal transplant prior to the transplant itself. As a result, they’ll subsequently be sent to the gastrointestinal (GI) lab, where a doctor will implant a colonoscope into their anus. 

When the doctor arrives, he or she will place the donor stool in the colon. Beneficial bacteria from the fecal transplant will help fight off C. diff and lessen the risk of recurrence.

Even if a person has a persistent C. difficile infection, they should not consume their own feces. In a fecal transplant, the highly-tested stool is delivered in a controlled environment. A fecal transplant isn’t an alternative to just eating excrement.

Poop-eating children

Pet excrement, whether it comes from a dog, cat, or bird, may be eaten by children. You don’t have to be alarmed if your youngster eats his or her own excrement. But there are still a few things parents and caregivers may do to ensure their children’s safety:

  • Give the youngster some water.
  • Face and hands should be washed.
  • Be on the lookout for food poisoning-like symptoms.

Food poisoning-like symptoms include:

  • low-grade fever
  • diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • vomiting

You should see your child’s physician if any of these symptoms continue or even begin a few weeks down the road. Taking a stool sample may be recommended to detect the presence of parasites or germs.

If a youngster consumed animal waste, this is particularly true. Other parasites, such as roundworms, may be found in animal feces.

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In this article, we answered the question “Can you eat your own feces?” and we discussed Is smelling poop is bad for you?


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  2. Bauza, Valerie, et al. Soil ingestion is associated with child diarrhea in an urban slum of Nairobi, Kenya. Am j trop med hygiene, 2017, 96, 569.
  3. Gouzerh, Flora, et al. Odors and cancer: Current status and future directions. Biochim Biophys Acta Rev Cancer, 2022, 1877, 188644.
  4. Juckett, Gregory, and Rupal Trivedi. Evaluation of chronic diarrhea. Am family phys, 2002, 84, 1119-1126.  
  5. Swagerty Jr, Daniel L., Anne Walling, and Robert M. Klein. Lactose intolerance. Am family phys, 2002, 65, 1845.
  6. Russell, George H., et al. Fecal transplant for recurrent Clostridium difficile infection in children with and without inflammatory bowel disease. J pediatr gastroenterol nutr, 2014, 58, 588-592.
  7. Ahm, Sarosh. Fecal Microbiota Transplantation. metabolism, 2018, 31, 32.