Can you get sick from your own poop or just other peoples?

I know you can get sick if you eat food made by people with poop on their hands. You apparently can also catch pink eye if someone farts on your pillow from the small poop particles. But how come we don’t get sick from our own poop, or do we? I always thought we do not get sick from our own poop otherwise why don’t we all have a infection in our intestines from the bacteria, but then I read urinary tract infections are caused by E coli. Their seems to be some confusion on this. What if we made food for ourselves with our own poop on our hands would we get sick? What about if we touched our eye with poop on our fingers, would we get a eye infection?

You could. Your colon has a large range of bacteria to help keep nasties in poop in check but if those nasties get introduced into a different area, there may not be enough of a resident population of bacteria to prevent them from spreading. Your body is getting rid of the stuff for a reason; it’s best to just let it do its thing.

You can definitely get sick from eating your own poop. Big problem with people who have Alzheimer’s and traumatic brain injury.l


Perhaps I was not clear enough, I have gone poop, forgot to wash my hands and made food for myself and eaten and was fine. I have had others go poop, not wash their hands and make food for me and I was sick and had bad diarrhea. So I think maybe you can not get sick from your own poop.

Need answer fast?

There’s probably a lower probability that you’ll get sick if it’s your own, because the odds that you’ve been exposed to that particular illness are higher given that you’re carrying it around, but I’ll leave that to others to answer. Some other factors you should consider:

  1. You might have a better wiping style than they, such that your hands remain clean where theirs don’t.
  2. You might have a worse method of washing your hands, such that you’re exposed to your own fecal matter more often and thus have built up a higher tolerance than is normal.
  3. The other people who didn’t wash their hands just happened to have been carrying something to which you were particularly susceptible, but generally that wouldn’t be the case.
  4. Hand washing may have had nothing to do with your getting sick. It may have been something else, and it was just happenstance that you found someone who admitted to not having washed their hands, when you were trying to find out why.

You can definitely get sick from your own poop. The reason you don’t on a routine basis is that bacteria cannot cross the intestinal wall into your body cavities; they stay in the intestine and get pooped out. An intestinal perforation is a common emergency in general/colorectal surgery. This can cause an infection which can rapidly become lethal if not caught and treated right away.

Look, really, just don’t eat poop. Is that too much to ask?

LOL, this thread is too much.

Some people believe that fecal-oral transmission from poor hygiene is how Third World vegans get their vitamin B12. That may be a factor, but truthfully, it’s because their food contains insects.

Ewwwwww. TMI. Please use a spoiler alert next time.

How come no one is addressing the pillow fart statement?

They’d have to fart on your pillow nude, wouldn’t they? Just thinking it through.

I think Cecil’s column on coprophagia backs that up:

The rest of what you said makes sense too.

From some physiology courses, I’m skeptical that eating a small amount of poop would make you sick. There’s a bunch of nasty proteases in your stomach that should be able to kill most of the bacteria. Also, even if they get into the upper intestinal tract, where they going to go from there? Those fecal bacteria already live in the lower part and it’s already one long tube…the only thing stopping them from living in the upper part has to be environmental differences (enzymes that are loose)

In fact, I don’t know if a shit sandwich (of your own poop) is going to do anything.

Of course, other people’s poop, all bets are off, etc.

No, uh, shit!

Hey OP, how old are you? :dubious:

I usually do wash my hands, but I have perfected the art of never, ever getting shit on my hands while shitting. I perfected this when I was about, say, four. I even managed to change the diapers of some people I gave birth to without getting shit on my hands although that was a bit trickier. Wiping, you’re doing it wrong.

Great. Now I’m always going to smirk when I see someone with pinkeye.

How could you possibly know this? “Here - I made you a sandwich. By the way, I just did an epic shit and forgot to wash my hands”? More likely, you’re attributing meaning to a pattern that was just luck.

Yes you can. The bacteria that live in the lower part of your digestive system can easily make you very ill if they get into the top part.

But in general, people don’t get sick from ingesting small doses of bacteria - so failing to wash your hands before eating is less of a serious problem than you might think, in most cases.

Failing to wash your hands before preparing food, then storing that food in conditions where bacteria can thrive, allows a significant population to build up - and that’s what will make people sick - they ingest enough of a dose for the bacteria to overwhelm their defences.