Constipation related to holding in one’s poop is a problem often observed in young children, according to 2014 research published in Przegla̜d Gastroenterologiczny. The researchers outlined how painful bowel movements can lead to anxiety around defecation in children as young as 1 to 3 years old, particularly as they undergo the new and uncharted world of potty training. Subsequently, children may try to resist defecation, leading to constipation. Among other symptoms, stomach distention may occur. Arching one’s back, wiggling, fidgeting, squatting, and lifting up onto one’s toes are all signs that a child may be holding in their poop.
Constipation isn’t the only way in which holding in our stool can affect the stomach, however. “Holding in bowel movements can be thought of as backed-up plumbing in your body,” co-founder of LabFinder.com Dr. Robert Segal told Well + Good. “The major problems associated with this are caused by fecal bacteria overload. Much of this gas-forming bacteria can result in abdominal pain due to gas overload and bloating.”