‘No Poop July’ Started as a Joke, Now Doctors are Freaking Out
For most of us, trying to hold in poop is an agonizing, nerve-wracking experience. But for some dudes on TikTok, it’s an opportunity to seize viral fame.
Over the last few weeks, you might have seen “No Poop July” trending on social media. This challenge involves people documenting their (fictional) attempts to go an entire month without having a bowel movement.
No Poop July is obviously a joke, but that hasn’t stopped doctors from voicing their concerns about the risks of holding in poop for 30 days.
Read on to discover the origins of No Poop July, why doctors are freaking out, and how we’re responding.
What Is No Poop July?
No Poop July is an internet challenge in which people pretend to withhold their poop for the entire month of July. It’s a spoof on other viral challenge-themed months like No Nut November, No Fap September, and Dry January.
The participants—mostly young guys on TikTok—aren’t actually stopping themselves from pooping. But at first glance, you might think otherwise. In their videos, the guys are trembling and sweating profusely with bulging neck veins, flushed skin, and distraught faces.
Most of the No Poop July TikToks feature the song “Monster” by Meg & Dia, specifically the part that goes “Monster, how should I feel?” The videos also include a caption that notes what day of the challenge the participant is on.
The Rise of No Poop July
No Poop July started on July 1st, 2020, when TikToker OkCron posted a video with the caption “Day 1 of No Poop July.” His camera slowly pans across his face, which looks slightly uncomfortable.
He stuck to his “challenge” over the next 30 days, posting TikToks where he became increasingly tense and sweaty. Each new video got more attention than the previous one, and soon thousands of people joined the trend.
OkCron repeated the challenge in 2021, which generated even more buzz. According to Know Your Meme, his day 13 update racked up nearly half a million likes. Just like that, a tradition was born.
2022 marked the year when No Poop July rose from a cult following to a mainstream media story. As of this writing, the hashtag #NoPoopJuly has more than 130 million views on TikTok alone, which caught the attention of NBC News and Yahoo reporters.
As you can imagine, there’s nonstop chatter about No Poop July on Twitter, Reddit, and Instagram. You can even buy “No Poop July Survivor'' t-shirts on Redbubble.
Are Doctors Really Concerned About No Poop July?
It’s hard to imagine anybody taking No Poop July seriously. Then again, TikTok is notorious for blurring the lines between fantasy and reality.
On Day 5 of OkCron’s No Poop July challenge this year, TikTok flagged his video with a warning label that said, “Participating in this activity could result in you or others getting hurt.”
@okcron Subject is losing control #fyp #nopoopjuly #july #funny #epic #meme #yeet #viral ♬ orijinal ses - Ensar
TikTok moderators aren’t the only people worried about No Poop July.
Dr. Steven Miller, a pediatric gastroenterologist at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, expressed his concerns with NBC News: “It’s a funny thing to joke about, but it’s a potentially serious thing to do.”
Dr. Austin Chiang, a gastroenterologist at Jefferson Health in Philadelphia, echoes this sentiment: “We hope that no one takes it seriously.”
How Long Can You Actually Go Without Pooping?
No Poop July is a goof, but it raises some serious questions: How long can you really hold in your poop, and what happens if you don’t go?
Holding in your poop for multiple days is obviously uncomfortable. You’ll probably experience cramps, bloating, and abdominal pain. In severe cases, constipation can lead to fecal impaction: a hard, dry clump of stool that you can’t push out.
Fun fact: The longest time a human has ever gone without pooping is 45 days, allegedly. The 28-year-old woman (yes, girls poop) had to undergo surgery to remove a fecal mass the size of a football.
As if this isn’t enough evidence to sway you from attempting No Poop July for real, Dr. Chiang says it’s almost physically impossible to complete.
"Honestly, people with regular, normal functioning GI tracts are not going to have this issue because their body will want to get rid of their waste," Dr. Chiang told NBC News. "So it's not like they have a choice in holding it in."
In other words, you probably won’t make it past day three.
DUDE Wipes Stands Against No Poop July
We support people chasing their 15 minutes of fame, but we gotta draw the line when it comes to discouraging people from pooping. In fact, we want you to poop more—and we’re not just saying that because it’s good for business.
Pooping is good for your gut, gives you an excuse to step away from work, and feels amazing. What more could you ask for?
To all the dudes attempting No Poop July, we’ll be there for cleanup duty when you inevitably succumb to your bodily urges.