I have had a lot of really odd things happen in my bathroom this weekend and I want to make sure it is nothing too serious.

Ok so when I was taking a shower I heard the toilet bubble up. A few minutes later I noticed that my shower drain was going slower than normal.

So when I was done with my shower I took a plunger to the shower and it pulled back some hair, etc. I also noticed that when I flushed the toilet it did not want to drain quickly. I immediately turned the toilet off and then I also noticed that some of the water had backed up into shower.

With the hair I pulled out of the shower I figured I had a hair clog. I put some Drano down the shower to clear the hair and I don't have hair coming up when I plunge the shower now.

However I still have some really odd stuff happening in the bathroom. When the shower gets used for more than a few minutes, the toilet bubbles up and the shower drain slows down again. The shower will eventually drain (very slowly) and when the shower empties, the water in the toilet appears to drop until I can hear air coming in from the bottom. When I use the sink the toilet bubbles up and when I flush the toilet I hear what I assume is some bubbles coming up from the sink.

With a little research I have done on this it looks like it could be the drain pipe on my roof leaking or that my drain field is flooded (I live in Michigan and we have had a ton of rain over the last 3 weeks or so).

I guess I am wondering if both of these ideas are plausible and/or likely and if something like this warrants a calls to a plumber to have them investigate?

  • do you have a septic system, or city sewer? If it's a septic system, I would say the system is full and you'll have to call somebody out to pump it. I had the same symptoms when I was living in an apartment with a septic system, once the landlord had the septic tank drained all was well again.
    – Tester101
    Apr 25, 2011 at 13:28

4 Answers 4


There is a clog downstream from both of these drains. If they are both at the lowest level of the house and you have a septic system, then it's conceivable that the problem is there, but you'd also see water backing up into that bathroom when you run any other showers/toilets in the house.

Most likely, the clog is in the joint in the drain lines where the shower and toilet join on their way out of the bathroom. Get a snake to fish down the drain (probably best to do this in the shower to avoid damaging the toilet bowl) and expect to go down quite a few feet before you reach the problem.

Edit: Revisiting this question, I'd agree that there's also a likely vent blockage from the bubbling descriptions. But the fact that toilet water backs up into the shower points to a drain blockage, too, and that will be easier to fix.

  • 3
    I had this exact problem (strange bubbling, slow drainage, and weird interaction between shower, toilet and sink), and after trying everything and even trying to see if the vent was blocked (it wasn't), I called a plumber. He found a rag stuck in the standpipe's T under that bathroom. Simple fix! Apr 7, 2013 at 5:07

Sounds like you have a clog in the drain system downstream of your bathroom, or an obstruction in your drain vents, or both. A drain clog would obviously slow down drainage. The bubbling and interaction between your toilet and shower drains suggests that they may not be getting proper ventilation, and therefore sucking air from one fixture to the other.

Do other fixtures drain well? If so, then it is probably a clog in the drain or vents connected to this bathroom only. You can try some things to narrow down the clog's location, but getting a plumber's help sounds like a good idea. I certainly wouldn't want to risk toilet drain water backing up into the shower!


We have been experiencing this exact issue on and off for the last month and a half. We have had a plumber out twice to resolve it. Both times he ran a snake To clear the line and found no blockage through the entire 100ft line. After doing some research I have noticed that the gurgling and backing up is very commonly linked to venting issues. So rather than snaking the drain, I'd recommend checking for a blockage in the vent.

  • This isn't an answer. Try answering some questions, and you will quickly earn enough reputation to post comments. Then you can post things like this. :) Happy answering!
    – ShoeMaker
    Apr 6, 2013 at 14:01
  • 1
    Sometimes, extra context is helpful in clarifying an answer. Perhaps whittling down to the the last two sentences and researching that aspect for additional information. Even if its anecdotal, it may be helpful.
    – HerrBag
    Apr 6, 2013 at 14:54
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    Welcome to the site Mike. I stripped this down to the answer and diagnosis with less of a story to fit more with our Q&A site format.
    – BMitch
    Apr 6, 2013 at 19:36

For me the septic tank in my house was full and needed to be emptied.

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