Does Scuba Diving Make You Poop?

Author: Aziz Khan “Sinbad”
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If you or someone you know has been scuba certified, you’re probably familiar with the possible negative side effects of diving. During scuba class, you’re taught extensively about the bends. But you should know that there’s a less severe but much more embarrassing side effect that can hit you underwater.

Side effects from scuba diving can induce an uncontrollable urge to poop. If you’re planning your first dive, don’t worry. This uncomfortable phenomenon doesn’t happen to everyone. Scientists have determined that an underwater environment can induce our kidneys to excrete potassium and sodium, two ingredients commonly found in laxatives.

Another possible explanation is acute ischemic colitis. Decompression from diving may induce a bout of ischemic colitis, causing you to lose control of your bowels. We’re going to look at the best ways to avoid an underwater accident and tell you what to do if this worst-case scenario hits.

What if You Have to Poop While Scuba Diving?

If this article has you nervous about pooping while diving, take a look at these tips to help ensure you won’t have any issues.

Take into account the average time a dive lasts. Most scuba dives last around 45 minutes. If you’re comfortable controlling your bowels for 45 minutes, then you shouldn’t have any issues while diving.

Make sure to poop before your dive begins. This is the best tip we can give to guarantee that you won’t have to use the bathroom in the water. If you empty your bowels before your diving trip, there’s nothing in there to bother you while you’re underwater.

Pooping after a dive can help as well. An after-dive poo can save you if you have more than one dive scheduled in a day. If your body grows accustomed to pooping after a dive, the urge may not strike until you are done.

Follow these tips and you shouldn’t have any problems while you’re underwater. If all else fails and the urge strikes, remember that pooping on a dive will ruin your wetsuit and any relationships you may have with your diving partners. Fear of embarrassment can keep the poop at bay!

Does Scuba Diving Give You Diarrhea?

Not everyone experiences diarrhea after scuba diving. But like we mentioned above, some side effects from scuba diving can induce an unfortunate loose bowel episode.

Decompression sickness is a dangerous possibility of a dive gone wrong. In most cases, decompression sickness, or the bends, occurs when a diver ascends too quickly. In this scenario, gas bubbles form in the body which causes a multitude of complications. One of the possible complications is bloody diarrhea.

When we’re submerged underwater, our bodies react in strange ways. One of those ways is to increase the release of sodium and potassium from the renal system. The release of these elements can have a laxative-like effect on our bodies. Often, stools produced by laxatives present as diarrhea, especially if there is no current blockage.

Most adults know that a sudden episode of diarrhea is sometimes unavoidable. Maybe it’s from stress or something you ate previously. If you experience diarrhea while on a dive, it’s likely not related to the dive at all.

While some things can go wrong in our bodies underwater, diving is not directly responsible for diarrhea.

Also Read: Can you fart underwater while scuba diving?

How Do You Poop When Scuba Diving?

The short answer here is that you don’t. Pooping while scuba diving is never a good idea. If you’re in a wetsuit, you’ll trap your excrement against your body for the remainder of the dive. Not to mention the tightness of a wetsuit will make it next to impossible to clean the poo out.

In temperate waters, the moist and warm environment inside the wetsuit can cause bacteria to grow. You could end up with a nasty rash or infection from pooping in your wetsuit.

The next thing we’re about to say is going to be gross. Consider yourself warned. If you aren’t in a wetsuit and you poop on a dive, you may attract unwanted attention from sea life. Fish are almost universally attracted to strong smells. Many fish will feed on defecation from other fish. Introducing poop to their environment may cause one of the most disgusting feeding frenzies you’ve ever seen.

What To Do If You Want To Poop While Scuba Diving?

If you feel the urge to poop while scuba diving, hold it in as best you can. Sometimes, the urge will pass and you can continue the dive. If the need to poop persists, signal to your partner that you need to ascend. Once you’re back on the boat, you can poop in peace.

Whatever you do, never try to take off your wetsuit to poop while scuba diving. Taking off your wetsuit could jostle your dive equipment and endanger your life. If you do lose control of your bowels in your wetsuit, get back to the surface as safely and quickly as you can.

If the urge to poo is overwhelming and immediate, try to swim a bit away from your dive team. If you can feel the current, make sure it’s moving away from your dive partners. Unfortunately, emergency poo scenarios are hard to control, so try to handle it the best you can.


In extreme cases, side effects from diving can make you feel the urge to poop. Whether it’s from decompression or normal bodily functions, sometimes nature calls at the worst moment. Try not to stress and follow common-sense precautions to avoid underwater accidents.

If you know you’re going to poop while diving, be mindful of your environment and the people around you. Move to a safe distance and take care of business. Remember, accidents happen. Don’t panic and try to ascend rapidly. Rapid ascension can lead to serious life-threatening consequences.

Anyone who has been diving for years has probably found themselves in this predicament. In most cases, proper preparation can eliminate the urge to poop while you’re on a dive.

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Aziz Khan “Sinbad”
Aziz Khan “Sinbad” is a TV journalist and a documentary filmmaker by profession. He is a certified TDI-SDI instructor who is committed to sharing his passion and knowledge with those intending to venture into the deep blue.

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