Eli5: how do our emotions ‘upset our stomachs’ / make us need the toilet?


Why is it that when we’re excited or scared, we can desperately need the toilet? Is it some sort of evolutionary defence mechanism?

In: Biology

When we get put into a fight or flight mode by our brain, our brain thinks that of we evacuate poop and pee then we can fight or flee better. Brain thinks poop and pee will slow us down.

Our gut is connected to our brain, called the gut-brain axis. Looks like it happens during our fight or flight response.

Whenever you ask this type of question recognize that you will basically only get the perspective of cognitavists/neuroscience positivists and shit like evolutionary psychology. These are but one perspective among many, and many disagree with these. How humans function is a very controversial topic, but reddit is almost entirely composed of those two views.

Stressful situations release adrenaline and other hormones, which prep the body for fight or flight as has been said. When looking at our human species evolution as a whole, for most of history, people didn’t eat every day, and certainly not 3 times a day. Digestion is really low on the priority list when we’re talking about pre-historic humans that were being hunted by predators and fighting with other tribes constantly. So when you have to fight or run, blood is pulled away from things like digestion and your stomach and other non-essential things to give more energy and blood to your muscles and heart so you can run or fight.