If you’ve started taking creatine supplements recently, you might be searching for the answer to the question, “does creatine make you poop?” from the toilet seat.
This mainstay supplement of the fitness industry is often touted as a quick, effective way to increase your athletic performance, but some people also experience GI distress, keeping some people in the bathroom.
Let’s look at the science and answer all of your questions, like “Does creatine make you poop?” and more. Let’s hop off the bog and take a look.
- There is no evidence to suggest that creatine makes you poop more or causes GI discomfort.
- However, going over 10g or more of creatine in a single dose, does increase the likelihood of diarrhea.
- To fix, split your doses into 5g or less.
- Drink 3-4 litres of water.
- Try micronized creatine.
Does Creatine Make People Poop?
No, creatine doesn’t make you poop according to the scientific evidence, though it is anecdotally reported by some people.
This naturally occurring substance, ideal for athletes, increases the performance of your muscle cells but there is no evidence to show it causes GI distress in normal doses.
However, this isn’t a blanket answer because this natural substance may react to something else in your diet, other supplements or simply be down to an individual’s response.
There has also been a study that shows taking a dose of 10 grams or more in a single serving, greatly increases the chances of experiencing diarrhea (more on this study below).
In this case, a simple solution would be to split your dosing into 2 x 5 gram doses.
If you find that your body is reacting negatively to creatine or you are experiencing diarrhea from this supplement, we’d recommend:
- first splitting the dose
- then giving your body time to adjust to the supplement
- then perhaps trying a more soluble micronized creatine vs regular monohydrate
You can also try some strategies to make your creatine dissolve better before consumption, like adding more water or liquid to your mixture.
You can find a full list of strategies in our article, what does creatine dissolve best in?
Can You Experience Diarrhea From Creatine Supplements?
As we touched on above, you can experience diarrhea in certain situations on creatine (on the other hand, you can also experience constipation. More on this later)
Diarrhea, or loose stool, can occur with creatine use during the loading phase or from overdosing.
One study we mentioned earlier found that doses above 10 grams of creatine in a single sitting may be more likely to increase incidents of diarrhea (1)
If your diarrhea persists past the loading phase, your creatine supplements may be reacting to another food, medication or supplements you’re taking.
Give it a few more days for your body to adjust before perhaps trying a micronized form of creatine. It may then be worth asking your doctor if this persists.
Some users have reported their creatine experience as “basically pi$$ing” from their rear end.
This is an extreme example, but diarrhea is something that is generally avoidable on creatine.
Can Creatine Cause Constipation?
Constipation is another one of the purported adverse effects of creatine use, and while it may be anecdotally true that taking creatine supplements can cause constipation, we didn’t find any evidence that shows this.
One theory is that creatine causes your muscles to retain more water instead of passing it through your stool.
But one comprehensive study that showed creatine supplementation increased total body water WITHOUT altering fluid distribution (2), so it doesn’t seem likely that this is the mechanism that causes constipation.
How to Avoid Creatine Constipation and Diarrhea
Here’s how to keep your muscle cells growing and your bowel movements right.
Regulate Your Dosage
Constipation and diarrhea from creatine monohydrate may be signs of taking too much creatine. Remember to keep your intake lower than 10g for a single serving.
The recommended doses for creatine loading phase are 20-25g, equally divided into 4-5 doses for the first 5-7 days and 3-5g per day for the maintenance phase.
If you’ve been following the recommended dosage but are still experiencing stomach issues, try reducing the dosage for a few days or splitting the dose even further.
You may also want to try micronized creatine powder which offers better solubility.
Drink More Fluids
Since constipation is often caused by dehydration, you can avoid it by increasing the amount of fluid you drink. This is especially important on creatine.
Increase your daily water intake, especially during the loading phase of your creatine supplementation.
It’s generally recommended to up your daily water intake from 2-3 litres daily, to 3-4 litres when supplementing with creatine.
Does Creatine Cause More Frequent Bowel Movements?
Users who’ve started taking creatine supplements claim creatine makes them poop more often.
This may be common at the beginning of the loading phase (if you’re doing one) but should taper off after the loading phase.
If your lower intestines are getting a long-term workout because of creatine, that’s a sign that you’re taking overly-high doses of creatine.
Scale back on your dose. Remember, that an effective dose of creatine is only 3-5 grams daily.
Does Creatine Make You Poop Blood?
Some novice athletes wonder, “does creatine make you poop blood?” and the answer is a firm No!
If your creatine intake causes you to experience blood in your stool, you have a different problem. Bloody stool is a sure sign to see a healthcare professional.
Creatine is used to increase muscle mass, and that’s primarily what it does, provided you take the correct dosage. There should never be blood in your poop.
Does Creatine Make Your Poop Smell Bad?
Some creatine users report having smellier bowel movements after taking creatine, but creatine in isolation will not make your poop smell bad.
If you’re consuming high doses of creatine which is potentially causing GI discomfort or diarrhea, then this could be why your poop is smelling bad.
Lower or split your dose of creatine throughout the day.
Alternatively, analyze your diet for any changes if you’ve noticed a different poop smell after taking creatine.
The strong-smelling stool isn’t uniquely caused by creatine, which could be due to your diet or too high of a creatine dose in a single sitting.
Does Creatine Make You Poop Water?
No, creatine does not make you poop water. If all you’re seeing in your stool is water, then this is a pretty bad case of diarrhea and you should visit your doctor if the situation isn’t back to normal within a couple of days.
Potential Side Effects of Creatine Supplementation
Now I’ll discuss whether taking creatine monohydrate can lead to adverse reactions like pooping blood or bloating.
Several factors could be behind these side effects, but they mostly stem from incorrect dosage.
This is an anecdotally reported side effect that people claim to have once they start taking creatine supplements and it really depends on what “bloat” means to you.
If it’s an aesthetic type of bloated “look”, then this would stem directly from water retention (though people often mistake the water retention of creatine being subcutaneous – outside of the muscle – rather than intracellular, which is where creatine stores water).
Bloating and stomach cramps are commonly reported during the loading phase and should taper off as you continue taking creatine.
But GI disturbances and muscle cramps are strictly anecdotal and there is no evidence that creatine causes this (3).
Water retention is one of the other side effects of creatine use, but it’s actually partly why creatine monohydrate users experience the great athletic performance increases they do.
In a nutshell, creatine pulls water into the muscle cells which actually helps with protein synthesis and helps keep you anabolic (in a state of muscle repair and growth).
Fortunately, you won’t experience diarrhea or poop more as a result of fluid retention as long as you take the correct dosage.
You’ll become stronger due to the creatine, and you may find that your muscles appear fuller as they take on more water. If your muscles start to look less defined, it’s likely you’re putting on fat which is nothing to do with creatine.
Any extracellular water retention issues are temporary and will normally dissipate within days (4).
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are some other frequently asked questions we see around creatine supplementation…
What Does Creatine Do?
I’ve covered whether creatine makes you poop, but what is it, and what does it actually do? This substance is found in your muscle cells and ingested through red meat and seafood.
Creatine also increases the body’s supply of adenosine triphosphate or (ATP), and can further stimulate muscle growth when paired with physical exercise like strength training.
How to Take Creatine Properly
Users only ask, “Does creatine make you poop?” if they’re overdoing it. That’s why it’s important to take the correct dosage and not overdo it.
Here I’ll cover how to take creatine properly and maintain muscle growth instead of feeling bloated.
What’s the Recommended Dose for Creatine?
The proper creatine dosage during the loading phase is 20-25g, split into 4-5 equal doses for 5-7 days. After the loading phase, you enter the maintenance phase.
You should take 3-5g of the supplement daily to maintain your muscle mass and body’s creatine stores. This regimen has no duration, and creatine is also safe to take indefinitely.
Timing isn’t important, but you may not have enough time to take your creatine supplement with a meal, so some like to try taking it right before their workout.
Either is fine and won’t negatively impact your body.
What About Taking Creatine With Sugary Drinks?
Some athletes mix creatine into sweeter drinks like juice, claiming to combat dehydration and induce faster absorption.
Although this is safe to do and can make it easier to consume the supplement, there are no added benefits to doing so (5).
Can I Take Creatine With Other Supplements?
Creatine is often ingested as a pre-workout supplement or mixed into protein shakes alongside other supplements like whey protein.
This is safe and won’t cause your body any harm. But check any contraindications for any of the specific supplements you consume to be sure.
What If I Quit Cold Turkey?
So now that I’ve discussed what taking creatine can and cannot do, what happens if you suddenly stop taking creatine altogether?
- Water Weight Loss – When you stop taking creatine, your body will naturally also stop retaining intracellular water, which can lead to losing some weight.
- Potential Power Loss at Maximal Workout Intensities – Creatine helps stimulate energy production and ATP in your muscles, so cutting this off may cause you to lose one or two reps at the tail end of your intense sets.
Conclusion – Does Creatine Make You Poop?
While this supplement can help improve athletic performance and some people report gastrointestinal discomfort, it’s unlikely to make you poop more.
If you’re pooping more after supplementing creatine, that’s likely a symptom of a different issue.
Proper usage of any creatine supplement, whether monohydrate or buffered, should lead to muscle growth and help you achieve your fitness goals without unwanted side effects.
Don’t let creatine affect your GI tract and follow the proper dosage; take it consistently and watch your muscles grow (while staying off the toilet)!
(1) Res Sports Med. 2008;16(1):15-22. doi: 10.1080/15438620701693280. Gastrointestinal distress after creatine supplementation in athletes: are side effects dose dependent?
(2) J Athl Train. 2003 Jan-Mar; 38(1): 44–50. PMCID: PMC155510. PMID: 12937471. Creatine Supplementation Increases Total Body Water Without Altering Fluid Distribution
(3) Sports Med. 2000 Sep;30(3):155-70. doi: 10.2165/00007256-200030030-00002.Adverse effects of creatine supplementation: fact or fiction?
(4) J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2021 Feb 8;18(1):13. doi: 10.1186/s12970-021-00412-w. Common questions and misconceptions about creatine supplementation: what does the scientific evidence really show?
(5) Biol Sport. 2017 Jun; 34(2): 169–175. Published online 2017 Jan 19. doi: 10.5114/biolsport.2017.65336. PMID: 28566811. The effect of combined supplementation of carbohydrates and creatine on anaerobic performance