Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Does the rectum have taste buds?

  1. Dec 13, 2013 #1
    Does the rectum have taste buds?

    Looking at it from a Biology view, clearly it isn't possible.

    But my real question is what causes your rectum to burn after passing last nights Vindaloo?

    (Sorry if that was graphic and i wish to offend nobody but this is a serious question that has bothered me for sometime.)
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 13, 2013 #2


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    There are sensitive membranes just inside, that's why. If you were to rub oil of pepper up inside your nose, you would feel a burning sensation that is aside from the smell and occurs for the same reason as what you are asking about.
  4. Dec 13, 2013 #3
    So its the capsaicin from the pepper that burns if you were to put oil of pepper up your nose, but capsaicin is diluted by the hydrochloric acid in our stomachs which means by the time it has passed through the large intestine the capsaicin is no hotter than a bell pepper? (which is 0 on the scoville scale)
  5. Dec 13, 2013 #4
    Capsaicin binds to receptors which have nociceptive (pain sensing) properties as well as a role in body temperature regulation. The tissues which express these receptors are widespread and, conjecture here, are probably found in the anus/rectum which may explain why it burns on the way in and out, but not really in between.

    For further reading you can read the wiki article: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/TRPV1
  6. Dec 26, 2013 #5
    You are confusing the sense of taste with the sense of pain.

    In the case of hot peppers most people consider it a pleasurable sensation, but nevertheless what we feel is a result of our sense of pain being triggered by the capacin.

    As you know we can feel pain in a lot of places.

    So what is happening in your hole is the same thing that happened when you first ate the food, the capacin is stimulating your pain receptors.

    That that happens to you means you are probably off in regards to our stomach acid being able to completely neutralize/dilute it.

    Some of it evidently makes it all the way through to your rectum to cause the burning sensation
  7. Dec 26, 2013 #6


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Capsaicin is not easily broken down by the digestive system. A significant fraction remains by the time it exits the body. You can easily confirm this by tasting your excrement the night after a jalapeno fest. OK, OK, that was a joke.
  8. Dec 26, 2013 #7
    A lot of questions in medicine can be answered if you understand a little bit of developmental biology. Look up how the mouth and anus form in deuterostomes. It helps explain why your bum has the same receptors as your mouth.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook