Amanda from lost in angeles, ca [CC BY-SA 2.0 (]

Your in-laws may give you the sh*ts in more ways than one this Christmas

Embargoed until: Publicly released:

The stress of visiting your in-laws at Christmas may change the gut bugs in your poo, according to Dutch research which examined the 'Yule logs' of 24 people before and after Christmas. It found the 'Mr Hankeys' from people who visited their in-laws over Christmas had lower counts of a type of bacteria called Ruminococcaceae compared to those who visited their own family. Previous research has shown that low levels of this bacteria are also found in people with depression and mice under stress. The researchers say this could imply that visiting in-laws during Christmas induces high stress levels, which in turn reduces the presence of this bacteria in the gut. However, even the researchers themselves acknowledge the small numbers of people in their study and that a larger study is needed to confirm the findings.

Journal/conference: Human Microbiome Journal

DOI: 10.1016/j.humic.2019.100058

Organisation/s: Amsterdam University Medical Centre, The Netherlands

Funder: This study was sponsored by the Department of Vascular Medicine of the Academic Medical Center of Amsterdam.


  • Elsevier
    Web page
    Please link to the article in online versions of your report

News for:


Media contact details for this story are only visible to registered journalists.