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Why Does Spicy Food Make It Burn When You Poop?

Everyone knows that feeling. You have some excellent spicy food. It's delicious going in. It's torturous coming out. Well, as SciShow explains in a new video, that's in part because there are more similarities between your mouth and your butthole than you'd probably care to admit. 

When you eat something spicy, the spiciness of that food often comes from the compound capsaicin. As SciShow explains above, capsaicin binds to your TRPV1 receptors. One of the jobs of these receptors is to detect heat, which is why you feel the delicious burning in your mouth when you eat foods containing the compound. 

However, TRPV1 receptors are all over your body, because any body part might bump the hot stove. Like with any amount of heat the body detects, your body attempts to cool down when you eat spicy food. That's why you have reactions like sweating that are more frequently triggered by a hot summer day or bustling kitchen.

As you might have guessed at this point, there are TRPV1 receptors in your anus. 

When you eat, say, a habanero, the capsaicin isn't completely digested. As it passes through your digestive tract, it triggers TRPV1 receptors, which is why some people experience cramps or an upset stomach after eating something particularly spicy. By the time the digested food reaches your anus, there's still capsaicin in the food waste and your butt feels the burn.

Now you have a deeper understanding of why it felt like your butt was on fire after you doused that late-night taco in hot sauce. You also can have a more complete appreciation for what this might have felt like the next day


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Dustin Nelson is a News Writer with Thrillist. This issue is personal for him. Follow him @dlukenelson.