Libraries, bookstores, bowels? Oh, my!!

I’ve noticed somthing strange over the years about my body.
For one, I am not what you would call a “regular” guy. Tried the whole bran flakes-high fiber thing and it just doesn’t help.
Now here is where it gets scary.
After about 5 minutes in a library or a booksore, I have the overwhelming urge to…ahem…take care of the Number 2 problem in my life. I’m serious. It NEVER fails.
Do you think bookstores and libraries should be marketing themselves as a replacement for the high-fiber diet? Or am I just a freak of nature? Anyone else noticed this phenomenon???

Happens to me all the time, but then I have Crohn’s disease, so I’m not normal to begin with. It has something to do with the standing posture, I think. Gravity tends to pull down into your rectum (which is the staging area) anything that’s in there to come down.

Patronize only bookstores that have their own bathroom (Barnes & Noble, etc.) or that are in the mall.

Now that you mention it, yes. I hadn’t really thought of it before. But it does happen at one of the four libraries I frequent (the most recently remodeled, come to think of it). It never fails: I have to take a dump within five minutes of walking in. I’ve never noticed the phenomenon at any bookstore or at any other library. And believe me, I spend a lot of time in bookstores and libraries.

Do you guys read when you’re on the toilet? Maybe you have some weird sort of connection wired in your neurons.

::eyes to brain::“Lotsa’ books here”

::brain::“Books equals relaxing defecation”

::sphincter::"Let’s rock and roll!

Damn, so I’m not the only one!

Do you find bookstores and libraries exciting? Like a little kid, when I get excited, so do my bowels.

Wow, I’d always assumed it was just me. I’d linked it to reading on the john, but then you’d think it would hold true anytime I picked up a book (which thank god it doesn’t).

My wife’s had this too… but both of us read on the john, and I don’t get the urge immediately upon walking in a library, while she does.

Happens to me when I plan on staying in a store for a while - book stores as well as fabric stores. Must be the smell of newsprint or fabric dye, or the excitement of “ohboyohboyohboy what am I gonna find today”.

**Small side note - I used to work in a B&N, and got a call one day. A man was asking to talk to a male employee, any male employee. Turned out the man was calling on his cell phone in our store bathroom, and the stall was out of paper, could someone please bring a new roll? [I am NOT making this up.] The manager obliged and sent all of us employees to parts of the store away from the bathrooms so the man could leave without being embarrassed.

You are not alone. Been there, ‘Done’ that.

Maybe all the paper dust in the library gets into your system and acts like dietary fiber. :smiley:

When I read the OP, I assumed that the answer might have something to with the fact that many people buy a big old cuppa’ joe when they arrive at the bookstore - coffee can make one need to… you know.

PS - how’s this for a new sig line?


That’s my guess. I agree with Screech. It isn’t only bookstores, libraries and my own study. It’s anytime I’m looking through interesting stuff, not knowing what I may find next.
[li]Going through a box of cool junk that’s been packed away for years[/li][li]Scouting the vegetation in an area I’ve never been before (I’m an amateur botanist)[/li][li]Even surfing the Web[/li][/ul]

So now all we have to do is figure out WHY it happens…


Bastard! :slight_smile:

Just a thought, but maybe it’s because libraries and bookstores are so serene? You get relaxed just being in that environment and then you get the urge.

No one has mentioned the hide-and-seek phenomemon (sp?).
Whenever i was a kid and hid i instantly had the urge to either go 1 or 2. Later i decided to hide in the bathroom behind the shower curtain for easy access if i did get the urge.

Anecdotal evidence is only worth so much, but I don’t think it’s excitement or anything about association of ideas. The same thing happens to my wife, who derives no particular thrill from bookstores, and who doesn’t typically read on the throne. I don’t think she ever spent much time browsing in bookstores until we started dating, but we noticed the phenomenon early on. I, on the other hand, do enjoy bookstores immensely and do keep plenty of reading material in the bathrooms of our house, and have no such regular reaction.

This always happened to me when I was a kid. Not anymore, but I never wanted to use the can there. Maybe it’s some kind of chemical in the books/glue/paper or something. Maybe it’s the excitement.


It happens to me in some bookstores and also when I am in music stores as well… This has been happening to me for years. Maybe it is something in the packaging/printing? At least I know I am not alone… Except when I am in the bathroom stall.

I first noticed the bibliobowel association when I spent time in my neighborhood public library as a elementary school student. No excitement there. This was before I learned to use the throne as a quiet place to read. As an adult I found I had the same reaction to book stores which is a bigger problem since they don’t always have a decent bathroom. I’ve never seen a “medical” explanation for the bibliobowel phenonemon but I suspect it has to do with paper dust. It’s nice to know that “it’s not just me.”

maybe it’s like the fight or flight response in animals. they urinate and defecate when they take off runnin’. maybe the adrenaline that comes with excitement has something to do with it?

I’m the same way. Other vertical activities don’t do the job. Libraries, archives, bookstores all have a tendency to cause this phenomenon, whether or not I am in such institution for fun or for drudgery.

I don’t experience bibliobowel syndrome, but I do experience “vocationobowel syndrome”. On a day off from work, I’ll visit the loo for #2 (heh heh, heh heh) once or twice a day, but I’m in the john 4-5 times a day at work. It might be psychological - time spent in the john is time that I can’ be given more work to do :wink: