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Cosmopolitan (South Africa) - - NEWS -

y co-worker and I were 40 min­utes into a busi­ness road trip when it hit me: I was about to, um, crap my pants. ‘I to­tally have to pee,’ I lied, start­ing to sweat. ‘Like, ur­gently.’

This wasn’t my first bath­room emer­gency. It’s hap­pened on the train, at the mall, dur­ing brunch. With so much ex­pe­ri­ence, I can read my au­di­ence. This woman got squea­mish when I said spicy food makes me per­spire, so I knew she couldn’t han­dle the truth. Thank­fully, we made it to a McDon­ald’s.

I’m grate­ful I didn’t soil my­self – but why couldn’t I have just said I might? Ev­ery­body poops, so why do we pre­tend oth­er­wise? I know plenty of gals who talk openly about sex – in­clud­ing em­bar­rass­ing in­ci­dents – but are tight-lipped about their time on the toi­let, as though they’d never been in a crappy sit­u­a­tion. In fact, women are on av­er­age twice as likely as men to en­dure chronic con­sti­pa­tion, and the SA Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal Journal es­ti­mates that 10 to 20% of the pop­u­la­tion suf­fers from ir­ri­ta­ble bowel syn­drome (IBS) and its hall­mark symp­toms, in­clud­ing di­ar­rhoea.

‘There is a ba­sic dis­gust as­so­ci­ated with poop,’ says Nick Haslam, au­thor of Psy­chol­ogy In The Bath­room. He points out that fae­ces has al­ways been linked to dis­ease and in­fec­tion. (Truth: it’s not as nasty as you think; it’s 75% wa­ter.) But some can­did celebs are loos­en­ing up the con­ver­sa­tion. Cameron Diaz writes in The Body Book about in­spect­ing your poop to mon­i­tor your health, and Jennifer Lawrence said on The Late Show that she sh*t her pants once while deal­ing with a pos­si­ble ul­cer. Is shame get­ting flushed away?

‘Re­duc­ing stigma is a good thing,’ says Rose Ge­orge, au­thor of The Big Ne­ces­sity: The Un­men­tion­able World Of Hu­man Waste And Why It Mat­ters. Talk­ing about defe­ca­tion, es­pe­cially with doc­tors, could help di­ag­nose med­i­cal is­sues more quickly. Here is some back-end back­ground for your next ex­change.

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