Why Do Pickles Make Me Poop and Cause Diarrhea?

Why Do Pickles Make Me Poop

Understanding Why Do pickles make me poop? Learn why pickled foods stimulate digestion and bowel movements, who’s most sensitive, and how to prevent pickle-induced bathroom emergencies.

Pickles are a beloved snack for many people. Their sour and salty briny taste livens up sandwiches, burgers, salads, and more. But some pickle lovers have noticed an unusual effect after eating them – sudden urges to poop! If you’ve ever wondered “why do pickles make me poop?” read on to learn the science behind pickles’ impact on digestion and bowel movements.

How Do Pickles Stimulate the Digestive Tract?


To understand why pickles might make you poop, it helps to look at the unique composition of pickled cucumbers:

High Sodium Content

Pickles are packed with sodium from the brine solution used to pickle them. One dill pickle spear can contain 230-400mg of sodium. That’s up to 20% of the recommended daily sodium intake!

This influx of salty sodium impacts the body’s fluid balance, potentially drawing extra water into the intestinal tract via osmosis. This can stimulate bowel movements.

Sodium also triggers contractions in the intestinal muscles, helping move contents through the system quickly. The high amounts of pickles could explain their poop-inducing powers.

Acids – Vinegar, Lactic Acid

Pickles get their tangy zing from acids produced during fermentation, mainly vinegar and lactic acid. The acidic pH helps preserve cucumbers in pickles.

However, research indicates acids can increase motility in the colon, causing contents to move through the intestines faster. The acids in pickles may interact with sensory nerves that influence stool urgency signals.

Low Fiber, Low Water Content

Unlike many raw fruits and veggies, pickles have low fiber content, and the high sodium strips cucumbers of fluids during the pickling process.

This makes pickles quite easy for your body to digest quickly. Their rapid digestion seems to result in a bowel-stimulating effect for some people.

So in essence, the high sodium, acids, and low fiber/fluid nature of most pickles gives them digestion-influencing qualities that can impact bowel habits, especially in those prone to loose stools.

Other Potential Reasons Pickles Make You Poop

In addition to their inherent composition, a few other factors may contribute to pickles’ poop-inducing potential:

  • High Vinegar Content – Vinegar contains acetic acid shown to increase GI motility. Pickles are soaked in vinegar during processing.
  • Spices and Herbs – Some pickled products include herbs and spices with known impacts on digestion, like garlic, mustard, horseradish, and chili. These can stimulate bowel movements.
  • Overeating – It’s easy to overindulge when munching tasty pickles. Eating a lot of any food can lead to looser stools.
  • Pairing With Certain Foods – Having pickles alongside problematic items like dairy, oils, or beans may worsen food intolerances in sensitive folks.
  • Carbonation – Enjoying pickles alongside carbonated sodas introduces air into the GI tract which may influence motility.

So it seems the combination of pickles’ inherent sodium, acids, and low fiber content coupled with possible overindulgence, food intolerances, added spices, and soda pairings gives them a reputation as a poop-provoking snack for many folks. But why do pickles affect some people way more than others?

Why Pickles Make SOME People Poop More Than Others

While many pickle lovers do seem sensitive to their impacts on bowel habits, not everyone experiences this reaction. Some key factors determine who will be most prone to pooping from pickles:

  • Baseline Fiber Intake – People with overall low fiber diets are more sensitive to digestion-influencing foods.
  • Gut Microbiome Imbalances – An unhealthy gut flora profile exacerbates response to salty, acidic foods like pickles.
  • Underlying Digestive Issues – Conditions like IBS, Crohn’s, colitis, etc. make the colon extra sensitive.
  • Medications – Some medications like antidepressants and metformin can cause loose stools. Pickles may worsen this effect.
  • Genetic Differences In Taste Receptors – Variations in salty taste reception impact salt consumption patterns. Supertasters may eat less pickles.

So in general, those with underlying GI issues, poor diets, microbiome imbalances, and certain medications get hit hardest by pickles’ bowel-stimulating qualities. Healthy folks with a taste preference for salty foods also end up consuming more pickles, intensifying effects.

Tips for Enjoying Pickles Without Emergency Poops

Here are some tips that may allow pickle lovers to continue enjoying this tangy treat while avoiding any undesirable urgent toilet trips:

  • Try cucumber pickles or fresh pickles which undergo less fermentation and have less sodium.
  • Opt for low-sodium/no salt-added pickle varieties to reduce impact on fluid balance.
  • Stick to small pickle servings and avoid going overboard. They’re easy to overeat!
  • Avoid combining pickles with dairy, fats, onions, garlic, and other gas-producing foods.
  • Consider taking a probiotic supplement to support a healthy gut environment less prone to disruption.
  • Stay well hydrated with water when eating pickles to counteract any fluid loss effects from sodium ingestion.
  • Choose pickled products made without suspect ingredients like artificial colors, MSG, sulfites, etc. if easily bothered.

While pickles do seem to stimulate bowel movements for many people, those who employ smart precautions can still enjoy pickles in moderation without undesirable toilet consequences.

Read also: why does energy drinks make me poop

Are pickles good for diarrhea?

Are pickles good for diarrhea/
Are pickles good for diarrhea?
High Sodium ContentExacerbates dehydration and fluid loss in diarrhea due to excessive sodium, drawing more fluid into the intestines.
AcidityIrritates the gastrointestinal tract, particularly when inflamed from diarrhea, as pickles have an acidic pH.
SpicesSome pickled products with spices like chili, garlic, mustard can irritate the digestive system, worsening diarrhea discomfort.
Low in FiberLacks the fiber essential for firming up loose stools in diarrhea; fiber helps absorb excess fluid in the colon.
Hard to DigestThe low moisture and high salt content make pickles challenging to digest, especially when the gastrointestinal system is compromised during diarrhea.

The Bottom Line

Pickles are an enticing snack for the salty-sour lovers out there. But research shows their high sodium content, acids formed during fermentation, and low fluid/fiber amounts make them a digestion-influencing food that can induce sudden poops in some folks.

Those prone to loose stools or with underlying conditions like IBS seem most likely to experience pickle’s poop-provoking potential. However, most healthy adults tolerate moderate pickle intake just fine. Stick to sensible portions, opt for fresh or low-sodium pickles, and drink fluids to counteract the effects. Then enjoy pickles without the pickle-induced panicky bathroom runs!

People Looking For

Do ALL fermented/pickled foods make you poop or just cucumber pickles?

It’s mainly cucumber pickles that have a reputation for influencing bowel habits. Other pickled vegetables like cabbage, carrots, onions, etc. are generally less problematic, likely due to differences in sodium content, texture, serving sizes, and overall composition.

What about pickle juice? Does drinking the brine make you poop?

Since the high sodium brine is responsible for the poop-inducing properties of pickles, drinking pickle juice could certainly stimulate bowel movements, loosen stools, or cause urgency. Pickle brine has an extremely high amount of sodium without any fiber or texture to help slow digestion.

Can eating too many pickles cause other digestive issues beyond pooping?

Yes, overdoing pickles long term could potentially lead to conditions like gastritis, reflux, or even ulcers due to the high acid content. Some people also report temporary gas or bloating after eating a lot of pickles. However, moderate pickle intake is perfectly safe for most healthy people.