Woman running in a shopping mall

Gastroenterologist explains the phenomenon of shopping and pooping

Dr. Joseph Salhab, aka @thestomachdoc, spilled the beans (or should we say, dropped the TP?) on why our favorite stores trigger an urgent need for a bathroom break.

In a video that went viral faster than a toilet flush, Dr. Salhab revealed the ins and outs of the “Mariko Aoki phenomenon.”

Apparently, since as far back as 1985 in Japan, folks have been sprinting to the restroom as soon as they set foot in bookstores. The good doctor couldn’t believe his ears until his followers spilled the (bathroom) beans. Is it the aroma of freshly brewed coffee or the scent of books that unleashes the inner call of nature?

The Mariko Aoki phenomenon is an interesting concept related to a reported urge to use the restroom, particularly for a bowel movement, when visiting bookstores. It was named after Mariko Aoki, a Japanese woman who first described her experience in an essay. The phenomenon gained attention when it was discussed in a book by Shintaro Ueda.

Mariko Aoki – an unsung Poopable hero

As the story goes, some individuals, upon entering bookstores, especially those with a rich collection of books, experience a sudden and urgent need to use the restroom. The reasons behind this phenomenon are not entirely clear and various theories have been proposed. Some suggest that it could be related to a combination of factors such as the smell of books, the atmosphere of the bookstore or even the act of browsing through shelves.

Dr. Salhab was not entirely sure either. Although he chalks it up to feeling relaxed and at peace in your go-to shopping spot, which could trigger a diuretic effect.

The diuretic effect refers to an increased production of urine, which is often associated with the consumption of certain substances or conditions that promote fluid loss from the body. While diuretics primarily affect the kidneys and urinary system, there can be indirect effects on the digestive system, including the bowels.

Poopers are hitting stores daily, not for the bargains, but for the porcelain throne privileges!

Some diuretics might have secondary effects on the gastrointestinal tract, possibly through neural or hormonal pathways. This stimulation can contribute to the urgency to use the restroom. Changes in fluid balance and electrolytes can influence bowel motility (the movement of the intestines) as well. An increase in bowel motility can lead to a more urgent need to rock a dump.

Fortunately for all the poopers out there, most major department stores do offer restrooms for their customers. Those establishes that do not should have their business licenses immediately reviewed!

Next time you’re strolling through Target or perhaps your favorite local store, know that it’s not just the sale signs making you giddy—it might just be your inner body compass pointing you to the nearest restroom.

Stay tuned for more Poopable insights, where we unravel the mysteries of bathroom behavior, one flush at a time! 💩✨

Does this story rumble your tummy? We’d love to hear from ya! Shoot us a note! Or drop a comment on this article or any others that flush your senses. 

By Neil

Neil launched Poopable in 2023, making him the Poo Poo Presidente. After overcoming childhood public restroom anxiety, one of his proudest accomplishments is relieving himself on six continents and over two-dozen countries. His preferred bathroom includes a neutral scent, double ply toilet paper and a strong industrial flush. His trade secret to making any restroom poopable – baby wipes.