Is It Normal to Have Blood in Your Poop?- VyWhy

Last updated on 2021-12-24 04:17:24


Here’s when to just wipe it from your mind.

If you have bloody poop due to something like an anal fissure or hemorrhoids, doing your best to eat high-fiber foods and drink plenty of water can help keep your poop small, manageable, and less likely to injure you on the way out. Being careful not to use painkillers over longer periods of time may help prevent peptic ulcers in the future. And being wary of unpasteurized milk and undercooked food like ground beef can lower your risk of a foodborne illness like E. coli that can lead to bloody poop.

Unfortunately, you can't prevent Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, colon polyps, and diverticulosis—those conditions are largely determined by things outside of your control, like genetics or aging. But, with all of these conditions, eating a well-rounded diet and exercising regularly may help make symptoms easier to manage.

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When to see a doctor about bloody poop

As you may have gleaned above, a little bit of bright red blood in your poop isn’t typically a huge cause for concern. If you’ve been in great health, saw a small amount of bright red blood just once, and the bleeding went away on its own, you probably don’t need immediate medical attention, Dr. Lee says. That bleeding is most likely due to a hemorrhoid or anal fissure. Your butt has a hard job to do, so bleeding can just come with the territory sometimes.

But if the blood in your poop is dark, you’re seeing a lot of it, or you’re experiencing other strange symptoms, see a doctor. Same goes for if your bleeding persists for days or goes away and comes back seemingly at random. Even if it doesn’t, it’s still a good thing to mention the next time you do visit your doctor. And, again, you should absolutely seek medical attention immediately if you notice blood in your stool and have any concern you may be at risk for colorectal cancer. 

Your other symptoms matter too. If you have bleeding and you’re also struggling with shortness of breath, abdominal pain, chest pains, dizziness, fatigue, and a fever, it could be a sign of bleeding in your G.I. tract, Dr. Lee says. This is another time that anal bleeding should mean an immediate trip to the doctor’s office.

If you’ve already been diagnosed with a health condition that can cause blood in your toilet bowl, like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, and you’re managing it with the help of your doctor, you don’t necessarily need to call your doctor every time you spot a little blood, Dr. Farhadi says. However, it’s crucial to put it into context. If you used to have a flare-up every two months and suddenly you’re seeing a significant amount of blood in your poop and more often than usual, you should call your doctor, he says—it could be a sign that your condition isn’t as well controlled as you thought.

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Finally, beware of black poop.

If your poop is black, that’s a big red flag that could signal internal bleeding, Dr. Bongiovanni says. That said, eating things like black licorice, blueberries, beets, or taking iron supplements or certain medicines can result in block poop, per the U.S. National Library of Medicine16. So, rule of thumb: If your poop is black and you didn’t recently have any of these foods or drugs, get to a doctor ASAP, just in case.

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 1. Mayo Clinic, Rectal Bleeding 

2. Mayo Clinic, Peptic Ulcer

3. Mayo Clinic, Hemorrhoids

4. Mayo Clinic, Anal Fissure

5. Cleveland Clinic, Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis of the Colon

6. Mayo Clinic, Colon Polyps

8. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, E. Coli

12. American Cancer Society, Colorectal Cancer Signs and Symptoms

13. American Cancer Society, Colorectal Cancer Risk Factors 

14. Mayo Clinic, Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Related Links:

What Is a Hymen and How Does It “Break”? Doctors Explain

26-10-2016 · Hymen tissue is membrane-like and flexible, meaning it stretches and eventually tears. Further, your hymen can’t grow back or somehow “break” twice. In the case of penetrative vaginal sex ...


Ah, the hymen. There are so many misunderstandings about this somewhat mysterious part of the vagina, especially when it comes to how it “breaks.” Oftentimes the discussion starts and ends with something about virginity. (You know, that whole “popping the cherry” concept.)

Hear us out: That’s pretty old-school thinking. For starters, your hymen and your virginity aren’t as closely connected as society has probably led you to believe. The truth is your hymen can tear from myriad circumstances—if you even have one to begin with.

So, we’re here to set the record straight about this tiny piece of tissue (which, honestly, you probably wouldn’t even know was there if nobody told you about it). Consider this your hymen cheat sheet.

What is a hymen, anyway?

“The hymen is a small, thin piece of tissue located at the opening of the vagina with no known biological function,” Valini Gosine, MD, clinical assistant professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at NYU Langone Health, tells SELF. Some people don’t even have a hymen, but don’t worry, being born without one doesn’t impact you or your sexual and reproductive health at all. Just like your appendix and your wisdom teeth, the hymen is a vestigial structure—meaning it doesn’t have a specific physiological function. Evolutionary theory suggests that people with vaginas developed a hymen to protect the vagina from potentially harmful bacteria1, giving animals with a hymen a reproductive edge—but experts today still aren’t really sold on a reason why hymens are still around.

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What does a hymen look like?

The hymen, which tends to be stretchy and flexible, is usually a crescent- or ring-shaped piece of tissue at the opening of the vagina2. The notion that the hymen covers the entire vaginal opening is a common misconception, and perhaps this is because at one point it kind of did. “During development in the womb, the hymen develops and does completely cover the vagina,” Renita F. White, M.D., FACOG, a board-certified ob-gyn at Georgia Obstetrics and Gynecology who is affiliated with Northside Hospital in Atlanta, tells SELF. “But as the vagina is formed, the hymen recedes away, just leaving behind the small ring of tissue.”

It also looks different from person to person, varying in size, shape, thickness, and elasticity, Mary Rosser, MD, PhD, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, tells SELF. Some hymens have ridges in the tissue while others may have little notches.

However there really is no way to tell if your hymen is “still there,” or intact, Dr. Gosine says, because it can be challenging to see your hymen on your own. Plus, there are actually different types of hymens.

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What are the different types of hymens?

“Shortly after you’re born, the hymen will create an opening, which allows for your period blood to leave your body later in life,” Dr. Gosine says. But sometimes this hole doesn’t form properly (or at all), and when that happens, you may have one of the following types of hymens, according to the Cleveland Clinic:

  • An imperforate hymen completely covers your vagina and has no opening at all3. Dr. Gosine explains this is most often discovered when someone with a vagina reaches puberty and does not get their period. If you have an imperforate hymen and start menstruating, the blood can back up in your vagina because it has nowhere to go. As a result, you could have back or stomach pain and a “full” feeling in your lower abdomen. There is no “right age” to menstruate, but if someone hasn’t yet and they’re older than 154, then it might be worth getting a physical exam at a gynecologist’s office to evaluate things further.
  • A microperforate hymen covers almost your entire vagina with one small opening. Most likely you’ll menstruate and won’t know that the opening is small until you have trouble inserting a tampon or having penetrative vaginal sexual activity, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists5 (ACOG).
  • A cribriform hymen has multiple small openings rather than one larger hole. In this case, your blood might flow slowly when you menstruate and you might have trouble inserting things like a tampon in your vagina, depending on the size of the openings.
  • A septate hymen has two small openings that are connected by skin tissue2, which can make it hard to insert a tampon or other objects. Depending on the size of the holes, you may be able to insert a tampon, but have trouble with penetrative vaginal sex or masturbation.
How to Get Rid of Headaches: Try These 9 Tips for Relief

19-05-2022 · Sleep: In general, you should try to sleep and wake at the same time each day, avoid screens before bedtime, and get out of bed when insomnia strikes. Eating: Eating a …


Ever been cruising through the week—grinding out work presentations like it’s your job (wait, it literally is), sweating your stress out at the gym, maintaining your friendships like a pro—when the pulsing pain of a headache brings your whole world to a screeching stop? Odds are the answer is yes. In the United States, a whopping 96% of people will experience a headache at some point in their lives, and if you have a vagina, you’re even more likely to have to deal with this pain in the head.1

According to the World Health Organization, most people can expect to experience at least one headache per year, but not all headaches are created equal. Head pain can throb, stab, or squeeze. It can be constant or intermittent, ranging from barely noticeable to the worst pain of your life. And while the average tension headache clears up within four to six hours, migraine attacks—which are not just headaches—can drag on for up to 72 hours.2

Where does this pain actually come from? The weird thing is that there are actually no pain receptors—called nociceptors—in your brain tissue. So the sensation of pain occurs when nociceptors are activated in supporting brain structures (shout-out to blood vessels, muscle fibers, cranial and spinal nerves, and the brain’s outer membranes, known as the meninges.)1

With that said, most headaches have more than one cause, with genetic and environmental factors contributing to differences in how individuals experience head pain. Let’s talk about what kinds of headaches to know and how to get rid of them as quickly as possible.

What are the most common types of headaches?

The Third Edition of the International Classification of Headache Disorders (ICHD-III) is a tool used by physicians to diagnose headaches. It sorts primary headache disorders—headaches that can’t be explained by a condition, illness, or injury—into these four categories:

  • Tension-type headache (TTH): This is the most common type of headache, and typically only causes mild to moderate pain. They strike on both sides of the head and are described as a dull, pressing, or band-like tightening.2
  • Migraine: Migraine is a neurological condition that can cause head pain that’s often described as throbbing and may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light, sound, smell, or touch. Migraine attacks affect around 12% of people.3
  • Trigeminal autonomic cephalalgias (TACs): TACs are rarer than migraine and TTH. They include cluster headache, which causes excruciating pain near the eye or temple that intensifies within minutes and lasts up to three hours, according to an older study published in the journal Neurology.4
  • Other primary headache disorders: While rare, other primary headache disorders include primary stabbing headache, which causes sudden, stabbing pain, and new daily persistent headache, which appears out of the blue, is daily and continuous, and lasts for more than three months.

Secondary headache disorders are also common, but they’re a symptom of other problems like altitude sickness, infection, or caffeine withdrawal. When it comes to secondary headaches, treating the underlying condition should help with headache relief.

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What to try first to get rid of a headache fast

The average headache won’t put you out of commission for hours on end. “It’s a mild-to-moderate headache that really does not limit you from any activity,” Rashmi Halker Singh, MD, a board-certified neurologist at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona, tells SELF. “You probably don’t think twice about it. You’d probably never even think to see a doctor for it.”

These types of headaches don’t require much in the way of treatment. In fact, they often go away on their own without any intervention at all. With that said, if a mild-to-moderate headache is bothering you, simple at-home remedies and natural approaches can usually help, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Try one or more of the following:

Apply ice or heat.

If you’re used to sitting hunched over a computer all day, you may start to notice your shoulders creeping up as your stress levels rise. This muscle tension can trigger a—you guessed it—tension-type headache. So one way to combat the pain is to relieve that tension by applying a hot or cold compress to your head, neck, or shoulders. This may be enough to relieve both your muscle and head pain.

Drink water.

Whether you had one too many margaritas last night or you left your trusty water bottle at home (you know, the giant one with motivational phrases), dehydration can be a big player for headaches. Upping your water intake could be all it takes to ease your symptoms. It’s best to sip water at regular intervals throughout the day to stave off dehydration and the ugly headaches that follow.

Have a snack.

You don’t have to tell us twice [reaches for the trail mix], but eating a snack between meals—like fresh fruits, a handful of nuts, or vegetables with hummus—may help prevent or alleviate a headache. That’s because when your body has low blood sugar, meaning you don’t have enough glucose in the blood for energy, it can trigger a headache.

Take a break.

Remember that muscle tension we talked about? Stress is a major contributor to both muscle tension and headaches, and sometimes the best medicine is taking a step back. Try scheduling short breaks into your day to take a walk, look out the window, pet your dog, or grab a cup of coffee (as long as that isn’t a headache trigger for you).

Pause to stretch.

Don’t just take a break to stretch when a headache is already starting to creep in. It’s important to stretch throughout the day, especially if you work at a desk. If you’re not sure how to stretch, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has a list of workplace stretches and exercises to get you started.

How to Do a Plank With Proper Form So You Can Work Every Part …

19-05-2020 · Simply dropping to your knees when doing a forearm plank can help, since you’re “shortening the lever arm” and putting less stress on your body, says Dorworth. Another option is to do a high plank,...


The plank looks like an easy exercise—after all, you’re not even moving during it. But there’s more involved in how to do a plank than you may think.

Once you master the move and learn how to do plank with proper form, though, you’ll set a really important strength-training foundation that can help you progress both during your workout and outside of it. Not only can you build on the plank with more difficult variations and progressions, but the move will also serve as a base for a number of other popular exercises (the push-up, for instance) that you can add to your strength-training routine.

But before we get into how to make a plank more difficult, here’s everything you need to know about mastering the traditional plank first.

What is a plank, and what muscles does it work?

When people say “plank,” they generally are referring to the forearm plank, in which your elbows and forearms are on the ground, rather than when your palms are on the ground (like in the start of a push-up). That’s referred to as a “high plank.”

Regardless of which kind, the plank is considered an isometric move—meaning one that challenges your muscles with a static contraction (i.e., no movement) rather than one that puts them through the lengthening or contracting phases—so it helps you build strength as you strive to keep your entire body stable, Steph Dorworth, DPT, certified strength and conditioning specialist, tells SELF.

And if you do a plank with proper form, you’ll be building strength in tons of different muscles. That’s because a plank isn’t just an “abs move”—it requires a bunch of muscles to work together. For instance, when you do a plank, you’re actually recruiting your rectus abdominis (the muscles that run vertically along the front of your abdomen), your transverse abdominis (the deep core muscles that stabilize your spine), and the muscles around your pelvic region, like your hips and glutes, as well as those that stabilize your shoulders.

What are the benefits of planks?

Planks are a seriously foundational move, ACE-certified personal trainer Sivan Fagan, CPT, owner of Strong With Sivan, tells SELF. That’s because they’re considered an “anti-movement” core exercise—meaning, your muscles have to work to resist moving rather than to actually create movement.

There are several ways your body resists movement, but the traditional forearm plank specifically works anti-extension, since all those muscles mentioned above really need to fire in order to prevent your lumbar spine from arching or hyperextending, Fagan says.

Anti-movement exercises like planks are key to helping you learn how to engage your core and maintain a neutral spine while you’re exercising. This not only helps make the plank itself more effective, but it also serves as an important base for pretty much any other strength training move you’ll do. Think about when you perform an overhead press: Your core muscles need to fire to keep you steady as you bring the weights overhead.

The 19 Best Moisturizers for Oily Skin in 2022: Neutrogena ...

19-05-2022 · 5 hours ago · Tatcha's The Water Cream is easily one of the best moisturizers for oily skin, and it has thousands of five-star reviews to boot. It goes on weightless and leaves skin feeling …


If you have oily or acne-prone skin (or both), you know the struggle of finding the best moisturizers for oily skin. It takes work, and you’ve probably done some trial and error that landed you right here. You want a lotion that will effectively hydrate your skin and protect your skin barrier—especially if you have retinol or other exfoliating regimens—without leaving your face looking like an oil spill at the end of the day. And that’s an easy line for a moisturizer to cross.

We called on two reliable derms: Dr. Jerome Potozkin, MD, founder and practitioner at PotozkinMD Skincare & Laser Center in California, and Dr. David Kim, MD, MS, cosmetic dermatologist at Idriss Dermatology in New York City, to share their best tips for moisturizing oily skin, plus the criteria for picking a lotion you can count on for years.

Why is it important for people with oily skin to moisturize?

“I think a lot of people with acne-prone or oily skin tend to use harsh face wash, and it can strip much of the oil that’s necessary to keep your skin barrier intact,” says Dr. Kim. “So just because you’re super oily doesn’t mean that you don’t need to moisturize, because you still want protection.” Dr. Potozkin says that if you have acne-prone skin, it’s even more imperative that you moisturize because you’re likely being treated with products like Accutane, tretinoin, or salicylic-acid-containing products that can dry the skin out. 

If you strip your skin of its natural oils, your sebaceous glands work harder and end up over-producing oil. So if you have a harsh routine including exfoliating face washes, acne medication, or exfoliating serums and don’t add a moisturizer on top, your skin will naturally produce more oil. It sounds counterintuitive to put moisturizer on already oily skin, but it could be precisely what your skin is craving.

“The goal is to find the moisturizer that’s gentle enough for you to use it without feeling like it’s suffocating your skin,” Dr. Potozkin tells SELF. “You want it to absorb quickly so you barely know it’s there.”

What skin-care ingredients are good for people with oily skin?

“Gel-like moisturizers that are really light in texture are good options for people with oily or acne-prone skin,” Dr. Kim tells SELF. “I also prefer a lotion formula versus cream, because cream is oil-based.”

“Many oil-free moisturizers have silicone or similar ingredients in them, which is what I look for, because silicone seals in moisture,” he says. He also mentions additional actives like hyaluronic acid, which has become ubiquitous in most skin-care products these days but nonetheless is a powerhouse hydrator for all skin types. You might also want to look for acne-fighting BHAs (beta hydroxy acids) like salicylic acid, niacinamide (which helps quell excess oil production), and broad-spectrum SPF—especially if you have an acne regimen. 

What should people with oily skin avoid when looking for moisturizers?

“If you have oily skin, thicker creams and ingredients like mineral oil are big no-nos,” says Dr. Potozkin. You might have to check the ingredients label, but most moisturizers these days will say “oil-free” on the front of the packaging. You might also want to avoid additional vitamin E in your moisturizer. We love vitamin E; it’s an antioxidant that’s already found in the skin and helps to protect the skin barrier, but too much of it can clog your pores and worsen acne. If you have sensitive skin, you’ll always want to avoid fragrances, dyes, parabens, sulfates, and phthalates.

Ahead, see 19 of the best moisturizers for oily skin that meet our dermatologist criteria. You’ll find lightweight water creams from Tatcha, nourishing gel lotions from Neutrogena and Skinfix, night creams from CeraVe, and more options to add to your skin-care routine.

Travel Anxiety: 7 Tips for Making It Through—and …

17-05-2018 · Travel anxiety can strike even the most unflappably chill among us. Sure, it can be incredibly rewarding and rejuvenating to break out of the day-to-day and explore new …


Travel anxiety can strike even the most unflappably chill among us. Sure, it can be incredibly rewarding and rejuvenating to break out of the day-to-day and explore new places—or, you know, park horizontally on the beach for five days. But there’s no getting around the inevitable hassles that come with those perks: nightmare security lines, massive flight delays, FOMO-fueled itineraries, chaotic train stations, frustrating language barriers, worries about the work/kids/pets/obligations you’re leaving at home. The list is endless.

When you think about it, the travel experience is practically designed to boost stress. Broadly speaking, there are two types of situations that are most likely to cause anxiety, Martin Antony, Ph.D., a psychology professor at Ryerson University in Toronto and author of The Anti-Anxiety Workbook, tells SELF. “One is when we don’t know what’s going to happen. The other is situations where we’re not in control.” What is traveling if not a series of largely unpredictable, often uncontrollable circumstances and events—some of which may be delightful, others decidedly less so?

There are also, in a sense, two major kinds of travel anxiety. One takes place when you’re actually traveling and some part of the process is going belly up. The other is the more ever-present anxiety you might feel about safety while traveling, or about how the trip is going overall.

Whether you experience one, the other, or both, there are ways to become a less anxious traveler. There’s also help out there if you don’t think you can manage on your own. Here are seven tips to get you started.

1. First, repeat this phrase, either mentally or out loud: “Anxiety is a necessary and even helpful part of traveling.”

Having a 100 percent stress-free trip is simply not feasible, says Antony, who travels a few times a month for work. “There’s a lot that can go wrong when you travel, and some of these things do happen,” he says. Getting hopelessly turned around, dealing with flight delays, losing your luggage, and similar stress-inducing scenarios aren’t exactly rare events.

The simple thought of some inconvenient, unexpected circumstance crashing your travel party might ramp up your anxiety. Instead of just steeping in that stress, use it to fuel action in the areas where you do have control. This can help you avoid feeling like you’re woefully unprepared for anything that might not go according to plan. It can also offload some of the stress when something does go wrong, since you’ll at least have braced yourself for various possibilities.

That’s why Antony describes this as “normal, useful anxiety.” Someone going on a trip with no knowledge of or concern about the possible issues they could face is much more likely to encounter something they’re not prepared for. Acknowledging that things might go wrong is really the first step in making sure they don’t.

So, how do you use that travel anxiety to prevent any major fumbles? Good question...

2. Identify what usually causes you the most stress, like being rushed or worrying about missing your flight, then take steps to fix it, like setting a ton of alarms to guarantee you’re out the door with ample time.

A little practical planning can help you avoid some of the most common anxiety-provoking travel scenarios. Here are a few ideas, though it makes sense to focus on whichever parts of traveling always leave you harried and wishing you could go back in time to avoid the problem at hand.

How Long Is It Safe to Eat Leftovers?

13-07-2019 · Listen, leftovers are delicious and convenient, so you want to make sure you’re doing what you can to keep them fresh and safe to eat as long as possible. Here are a few ways you can do that ...


I'm going to be totally honest and possibly jinx myself here: I've eaten leftovers that I've had for longer than a week many, *many* times, and I've never gotten sick, so I asked Worobo why that might be. He says that the risk of getting sick from leftovers is actually pretty small, provided you use proper food handling practices (more on that in a bit). If there are no dangerous pathogens on your food, there never will be, unless they are introduced at some point.

“There’s no immaculate conception of bacteria,” he jokes. So as long as you make sure to avoid any cross-contamination and handle food properly so that any existing pathogens can’t multiply to dangerous amounts, he says that leftovers can last up to a week in some cases. After that point, though, it's no longer worth the risk, especially for very young children, elderly adults, people with autoimmune conditions, pregnant women, people with conditions like diabetes and HIV/AIDS, and those undergoing treatment for cancer, he says, because they’re more likely to get sick from a much smaller amount of bacteria.

One exception to this rule is seafood, says Philip Tierno, Ph.D., clinical professor in the departments of microbiology and pathology at NYU Langone Medical Center. "Generally speaking, the most contaminated food product is seafood and it breaks down easily and quickly," he explains. "Fish with an odor is being broken down and bacteria are increasing in population." Anyone who's eaten seafood knows how quickly it can go from smelling delicious to smelling sour, and the FDA doesn't recommend holding onto any fresh seafood leftovers for more than one to two days (smoked fish, on the other hand, will be fine for up to 14 if packaged in an airtight container).

If you're wondering why it seems like cooked leftovers don't last as long in your fridge as the raw ingredients do, it's because they don't, says Worobo. Bacteria develops more quickly in cooked food for a handful of reasons. "Microorganisms need water, the proper temperature, and the proper acidity [to multiply]," he explains, "so if you take a cake mix and add water and eggs, you’re supplying the nutrients for the pathogens.”

How to keep your leftovers as fresh and safe as possible

Listen, leftovers are delicious and convenient, so you want to make sure you’re doing what you can to keep them fresh and safe to eat as long as possible. Here are a few ways you can do that:

First, make sure to never leave leftovers at room temperature for more than two hours. After that, food runs the risk of entering the danger temperature zone—between 40 and 140 degrees F—which is an environment that allows microbes to grow much faster, says Tierno. And if you're in a particularly hot place, he says you shouldn't leave leftovers out for longer than an hour before transferring them to the fridge (and make sure your fridge is cooled to just below 40 degrees F, which is what it should typically be set at). If you can't get leftovers to a fridge before that amount of time has passed—maybe because you're out for the day and carrying it around in your bag—he says it's safest to simply throw them away.

What Is Pansexuality—And How Do You Actually Know If You’re …

03-11-2021 · “Pansexual” has roots in the Greek word “pan,” meaning “all” or “every,” and is often described as falling under the bisexuality umbrella, along with labels like omnisexual ...


Miley Cyrus, Janelle Monae, Brandon Urie, Demi Lovato—these are a few of the celebrities who have, at some point, come out as pansexual. But if you’re asking yourself what pansexuality is exactly, you’re not alone. The term is unfamiliar for lots of people, so, to some, it might seem like vocabulary that’s recently been invented. While pansexuality is definitely being discussed more openly in pop culture, the sexual identity is far from new.

“If I am 1,000% honest, I can’t remember where I first heard the term ‘pansexual,’ but I think it resonated with me specifically after having had a crush on a trans guy in high school,” Koshka K., a 28-year-old pansexual woman who lives in Philadelphia and works as a restaurant server, tells SELF. “At the time, my understanding of bisexuality vs. pansexuality was that bisexuality only addressed attraction to cis men and cis women, whereas pansexuality encompassed everything.”

Clearly, there’s a lot to explore when it comes to understanding what it means to be pansexual! Below, we talked with human sexuality experts to answer your questions about pansexuality and clear up common misconceptions—including how similar it is or isn’t to bisexuality.

What does it mean to be pansexual?

“Pansexual” has roots in the Greek word “pan,” meaning “all” or “every,” and is often described as falling under the bisexuality umbrella, along with labels like omnisexual, polysexual, bi-curious, queer, and sexually fluid. It might be used to indicate that a person has attraction to all genders or that gender identity isn’t an important variable in their attraction to other people.

Koshka didn’t always use the label of pansexual. As a freshman in high school, she came out as a lesbian. “I was absolutely sure that I would never really, truly be attracted to or be able to fall in love with a man in the same way I fell for my first girlfriend,” she says. “Ironically, I continued to hook up with cis and trans guys throughout high school just because I liked being desired and I liked sex—yet I confidently continued to identify fully as gay!”

When she went to college, though, a friends-with-benefits situation with a cisgender man turned into something more. The relationship pushed her to consider if her sexual orientation might be a little more nuanced.

“Somehow I landed on the term ‘pansexual,’” she says. “Looking back at it now, though, I can imagine there was a great deal of freedom and limitlessness that I linked with pansexuality. It was a simple way to describe what I had been absolutely unable to articulate as a teenager. None of the boxes I could tick felt right at the time, and my discovery of pansexuality almost feels like the lack of a box entirely. I think I liked that a lot.”

How many people are pansexual?

Koshka is a part of the swelling number of young people who identify as pansexual. But it’s hard to know exactly how many people use this term to describe themselves. Many research surveys still don’t include it as an option unless they’re specifically looking into something related to pansexuality, so it’s hard to get a broader view. 

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