How often should you poop?
How often should you poop?
(How Often Should You Poop And When To See A Doctor?)
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Help I’m sitting, and I can’t poop!
Poo Doctor here, and this is what you need to know if you can’t go!
If you’re pooping less than 3 times a week, then you have a medical condition.
This could be due to dangerous blockages or nerve issues in and around your rectum or colon.
Or even pregnancy or diabetes could be the culprit.
Or for you and your poo, it might be something else entirely.
Click below for the poo doctor “prescribed” 10-second breakfast ritual that frees YOU from stuck POO! Until next time, Like for good poop. Subscribe for great poop!
If you’ve been wondering how often should you poop, you’re not alone. Poo doctor is here to answer all of your questions!
Bowel movement frequency has become a concern for many people these days, and for good reason. We’ve all heard about digestive health issues that can be dangerous and even deadly if not treated, and poop frequency is an indication of the general health of the gastrointestinal tract.
But how are you supposed to know what is “normal” and how often you’re supposed to poop? How often do other people poop? Are three times a day okay? How about two times per day or one time per week? Is it normal to poop every three days?
You can ask a medical professional these questions, but doctor recommendations are often unclear and may conflict with those of other medical experts. And we don’t usually discuss bowel health with friends.
Fortunately, there are a few factors that may indicate whether your bathroom habits are normal.
Factors that influence poop frequency
So, how often should you poop…really?
There are no set standards for bowel movements. According to numerous experts, the normal frequency of bowel movements is between three times a day and three times per week. 1 But this is an individual matter influenced by many different factors, including:
- Health conditions
- And more
Let’s take an in-depth look at each of these factors.
Your health depends upon the foods you eat and the fluids you drink. They also play a huge role in your bowel movements.
A bowel movement is the body’s way of getting rid of undigested food that cannot be absorbed. Once the nutrients and water from the foods you eat are absorbed, the bowel expels the leftover waste. Without bowel movements, this waste would sit in your colon and become toxic, eventually poisoning your body.2
How often you poop relies heavily on the amount of fiber and fluids in your diet.
Because fiber cannot be digested, it helps move waste through the colon to be expelled. But this process is easier and faster if you drink an adequate amount of non-caffeinated liquids like water or juices. Liquids add bulk to the stool, and this promotes faster transit time through the colon. Fluids also help soften the stool and make it easier to pass.
Better pooping tip: Switch to a healthy high-fiber diet. Try to consume at least 25 grams of fiber every day if you are a woman and 38 grams if you are a man. Research shows that most people eat just 15 grams of fiber per day. 3 If you typically eat a low-fiber diet, it’s important that you slowly increase your fiber intake. (If you add too much fiber to your diet too quickly, it can cause an upset stomach and perhaps diarrhea.) Also, try to increase your fluid intake. Experts say that you should drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of non-caffeinated beverages per day, preferably water. (Caffeine is a diuretic that removes fluid from the body.)4 Eating foods with a high water content can also increase your fluid intake. These foods include strawberries, spinach, oranges, cucumber, and celery.
We all know that exercise helps your body by keeping you fit and supporting your health. But did you know it may also promote regular bowel movements?
It’s true. Research shows that daily physical activity may lead to improved bowel habits. Conversely, a sedentary lifestyle may slow the digestive system and lead to chronic constipation. Infrequent bowel movements are commonly seen in elderly people or in those with medical conditions that limit physical activity.5
Better pooping tip: Increase your physical activity. Walking is an exercise almost everyone can do, and it really helps relieve constipation. If you are new to exercise, start with just 10-15 minute walks a few times a day. Gradually increase the length of time and/or intensity level. As you become fitter, add some aerobic exercise, such as jogging or dancing, to your routine. Always consult your doctor before starting any exercise program.6
Research suggests that age can affect poop habits. Advanced age is a huge risk factor for toilet issues, with those over 70 showing the highest incidence of constipation.7
Though constipation afflicts an estimated 1.9% to 27.2% of the general population in North America, 50% to 70% of elderly residents in nursing homes report taking daily laxatives. 8, 9, 10, 11
Potential causes of constipation in the elderly include medical or psychological conditions, reduced mobility, low-fiber intake, medications, and dehydration.12, 13
Better pooping tip: If you suffer from what appears to be age-related problems with your poops, try to gradually increase your fiber/water intake and your activity level. Also, schedule an appointment with your medical doctor to see if any medical condition or medications may be causing issues with your poops.
As most women can attest, hormonal changes often affect bowel movements. Many women experience a looser stool around their menstrual cycles. Or, they may have a bowel movement fewer than three times a week. Women may also experience gas, bloating, and other digestive issues.
The hormonal changes of pregnancy and menopause may also cause digestive problems and poop issues, especially with elimination. And finally, the hormonal fluctuations of menopause can cause gas and bloating, as well as changes in how often you poop.
But what can you do if hormonal changes are preventing you from having normal, healthy poops?
Better pooping tip: Eating a healthy diet that includes plenty of water and fiber is essential for better poops, as is getting enough exercise. If hormonal changes are still negatively affecting your bowel movements, speak to your doctor.
If you’re under constant stress, you can say “goodbye” to regular bowel movements. Studies suggest that stress may alter gastrointestinal secretions and increase intestinal permeability, factors that may negatively affect digestive health.14 This can result in a change in poop frequency or consistency. That is, your poop schedule may either slow down or speed up. Or, you may suffer from extremely soft stool or even diarrhea. Conversely, the consistency of your stool may change to small hard pellets that are difficult to pass.
Better pooping tip: Take the time to de-stress as often as possible throughout the day. Practice deep breathing exercises whenever you feel stressed. Or, take 20 minutes once or twice a day to meditate or practice progressive muscle relaxation exercises.
Health Conditions and Medications
Several health conditions are known to affect bowel movements. These conditions include:
- Food poisoning
- Bacterial infections
- Inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Celiac disease
- Colorectal cancer
- Intestinal obstruction
Along with a change in how often you poop, these health conditions often cause stomach pain, excessive gas, and bloating.
Additionally, certain medications can also affect the frequency of bowel movements.
Better pooping tip: If your bathroom habits suddenly change for no apparent reason, especially if accompanied by fever, severe stomach pain, and vomiting, call your doctor or go to the hospital emergency room.
When should you call your doctor?
Changes in poop habits are often short-lived, typically lasting just a few days. However, some changes in the frequency and/or consistency of bowel movements can indicate a dangerous condition and may demand immediate medical attention.
If you notice any of these changes, contact your healthcare provider immediately or go to the emergency room.
- Changes in stool frequency or consistency lasting more than two weeks.
- The stool appears black or red. This can indicate blood in the stool coming from your digestive tract. Black stool usually means the blood is coming from your stomach or other parts of the upper digestive tract. Red stool indicates the blood is coming from your lower intestinal tract and can have a benign cause, such as hemorrhoids. Still, it is important to see your doctor if you notice any signs of blood in your stool.
- Sudden onset of diarrhea or constipation accompanied by fever and/or vomiting. This can suggest food poisoning or stomach flu.
- Severe abdominal cramps with bowel changes. This may indicate irritable bowel syndrome or colon or rectal cancer. Severe pain/cramps in your lower right abdomen combined with constipation or diarrhea can be a symptom of appendicitis, a medical emergency.
Worried about poop frequency?
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1- Rodriguez D. Bowel Movements Increase With Exercising. Updated May 10, 2019. Reviewed by Aubrey Bailey, PT, DPT, CHT. Accessed Mar 2, 2021. https://www.livestrong.com/article/480125-bowel-movements-increase-with-exercising/2- University of Michigan Health System. Bowel Function Anatomy. Jan 2008. Accessed Mar 2, 2021. https://medicine.umich.edu/sites/default/files/content/downloads/bowel-function.pdf
3- Zelman K. Fiber: How Much Do You Need? Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson, MD on Apr 07, 2016. Accessed Mar 2, 2021. https://www.webmd.com/diet/guide/fiber-how-much-do-you-need#1
4- University of Michigan Health System. Bowel Function Anatomy. Jan 2008. Accessed Mar 2, 2021. https://medicine.umich.edu/sites/default/files/content/downloads/bowel-function.pdf
5- Forootan M, Bagheri N, Darvishi M. Chronic constipation, Medicine: May 2018 Volume 97 Issue 20 p e10631 doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000010631
6- WebMD Medical Reference. Exercise to Ease Constipation. Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson, MD on Jun 17, 2020. Accessed Mar 2, 2021. https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/exercise-curing-constipation-via-movement
7- McCrea GL, Miaskowski C, Stotts NA, Macera L, Varma MG. A review of the literature on gender and age differences in the prevalence and characteristics of constipation in North America. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2009 Apr;37(4):737-45. doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2008.04.016. Epub 2008 Sep 11. PMID: 18789639.
8- McCrea GL, Miaskowski C, Stotts NA, Macera L, Varma MG. A review of the literature on gender and age differences in the prevalence and characteristics of constipation in North America. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2009 Apr;37(4):737-45. doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2008.04.016. Epub 2008 Sep 11. PMID: 18789639.
9- Higgins PD, Johanson JF. Epidemiology of constipation in North America: a systematic review. Am J Gastroenterol. 2004 Apr;99(4):750-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1572-0241.2004.04114.x. PMID: 15089911.
10- Bouras EP, Tangalos EG. Chronic constipation in the elderly. Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 2009 Sep;38(3):463-80. doi: 10.1016/j.gtc.2009.06.001. PMID: 19699408.
11- Hosia-Randell H, Suominen M, Muurinen S, Pitkälä KH. Use of laxatives among older nursing home residents in Helsinki, Finland. Drugs Aging. 2007;24(2):147-54. doi: 10.2165/00002512-200724020-00006. PMID: 17313202.
12- Bouras EP, Tangalos EG. Chronic constipation in the elderly. Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 2009 Sep;38(3):463-80. doi: 10.1016/j.gtc.2009.06.001. PMID: 19699408.
13- Petticrew M, Rodgers M, Booth AEffectiveness of laxatives in adultsBMJ Quality & Safety 2001;10:268-273
14- Konturek PC, Brzozowski T, Konturek SJ. Stress and the gut: pathophysiology, clinical consequences, diagnostic approach and treatment options. J Physiol Pharmacol. 2011 Dec;62(6):591-9. PMID: 22314561.
What Are 7 types of poop?
- Type 1: Separate hard lumps, like nuts (difficult to pass and can be black)
- Type 2: Sausage-shaped, but lumpy
- Type 3: Like a sausage but with cracks on its surface (can be black)
- Type 4: Like a sausage or snake, smooth and soft (average stool)
- Type 5: Soft blobs with clear cut edges
- Type 6: Fluffy pieces with ragged edges, a mushy stool (diarrhea)
- Type 7: Watery, no solid pieces, entirely liquid (diarrhea)
Types of poop one encounters is categorized by the Bristol Stool Chart. This chart is a generalized indicator of how or why different types of poops look and feel a certain way. The 7 types of poop are broken up into categories based on a 2,000-person study!
Does your poo look this good? If you have Bristol Type 3 or 4 – your poop is considered “normal”! Bristol Type 1 or 2, is where the poop is hard and difficult to pass, are indicative of constipation. Often, these types of stool can be painful to pass but don’t worry Doctor Poo has a recommended healthy-gut switch solution…just keep reading!
Should you ever worry about your poop?
Always consult your healthcare provider if you have any concerns about what your poop means. People are asked to call their health care providers if: They experience severe levels of abdominal pain or discomfort with diarrhea that does not go away when you poop or fart. Also, if diarrhea is accompanied by fever of 101 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, chills, vomiting, or fainting, call your physician immediately.
What is an unhealthy poop?
An unhealthy poop is when one poops too often (hence, your doctor asking you if you poop more than three times daily) or not pooping often enough (As such, less than three times a week) and also excessive straining when pooping. Poop that is colored red, black, green, yellow, or white. greasy, or fatty stools is unhealthy.
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Doctor Poo Provides More Valuable Answers for Those Hard to Ask Questions Below:
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