Digestive Health

How often should I have a bowel movement?

A Answers (2)

  • ALindsey Duncan, Nutrition & Dietetics, answered
    You should be having 2-3 healthy bowel movements a day. When you aren't eliminating properly, your body's waste may not be expelled for days, weeks, or even months. Most people go through their daily lives eliminating once a day, once every other day, or even less. If you eat 3 full meals a day and only eliminate once a day, once every other day, or twice a week, what happens to all the un-eliminated waste matter? Where are all the other meals hiding? All of that unexpelled toxic waste is sitting in your body affecting every cell and tissue, which has a negative impact on your health. These toxic poisons rob your body of good health and energy, making you feel old, tired and sick. Ninety percent of the time, these complaints can be alleviated or greatly reduced through internal cleansing.
    Helpful? 2 people found this helpful.
  • ALawrence Friedman, MD, Gastroenterology, answered
    It's not a medical concept, but a myth that you've got to move your bowels each day to be healthy. In fact, as far back as 1909, the British physiologist Sir Arthur Hurst said it wasn't unusual to find healthy people who had a bowel movement three times a day or once every three days. Today, that's still the range that's considered "normal." But many perfectly healthy people don't even fall within this broad range. In 1813, the British physician William Heberden described a patient who "never went but once a month." He also described a patient who relieved himself 12 times a day. Both patients seemed perfectly content with their bowel habits.

    The truth is that everyone experiences variations in how often they move their bowels. Menstruation, vigorous physical exercise, diet, travel, and stress can all cause temporary changes in bowel habits. Going a day without a bowel movement certainly shouldn't be considered constipation. And three movements in a day isn't necessarily diarrhea. More important than the number of bowel movements is the consistency of the stools as they pass, the effort needed to expel them, any associated symptoms, and changes in frequency.
    Helpful? 1 person found this helpful.
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