How Often Should You Poop? When It Comes To Weekly Bowel Movements, It's More Of A Range Than Magic Number.
The frequency of your bowel movements should only become a concern when they suddenly change.
There are two types of poopers in this world: Type A has their pooping down to a science. They go every day at the same time and usually (if they can help it) in the same toilet. Then there's Type B. This group heeds nature's calls less frequently with no real ritual to its toilet habits. So, which of these two is the healthier option? Both.
It's All Relative
Poop, or as it's also known, feces, is actually around 75 percent water. According to the University of Massachusetts, the remaining parts are made from a mixture of dead bacteria that helped us to digest our food, living bacteria, protein, indigestible fiber, and waste materials from the liver and intestines.
Exactly how often you poop is relative to the individual. The average individual poops about once a day, releasing around one ounce of excrement per 12 pounds of body weight, meaning that a 160-pound person will produce just under a pound of poop a day. Although once a day may be the average, that does not necessarily make it the norm. As reported by Live Science, gastroenterologists agree that anything in the range of three times a day to three times a week is normal as long as the feces is neither too hard nor too loose.
The frequency and amount that you poop is based on a combination of your personal dietary habits. For example, it's been said that Asians have far more frequent bowel movements than individuals in Western countries, such as the U.S. Live Science reported that this difference in bathroom habits is an effect of the high-fiber diet favorited by many in the East.
Pooping is your body's way to get rid of waste buildup, but some individuals have taken up colon cleansing in an effort to increase this toxin removal. In actuality our body is perfectly equipped to rid itself of its own waste and colon cleansing does little, if any, good. Good bacteria in our digestive tract help us break down our foods and maintain homeostasis. But when we colon cleanse, we also clean these necessary bacteria away. On top of this, colon cleansing can up your chances of seriously injuring your rectal muscles, and may even lead to a blood infection. Regularly taking laxatives without a doctor's advice is also likely to cause similar long-term effects.
Time For Concern
The only time the frequency of your bathroom habits should cause you worry is if they suddenly change. For example, if you go from pooping every other day to going twice a day you may need to be concerned. The most common cause for a change in bathroom habits is a change in diet and lifestyle. For example, Everyday Health reported that most individuals find they are less consistent with their pooping on the weekends or on vacation, which is when they're probably less strict with their eating and exercising.
Menstruation can also cause irregularity in some women's bathroom habits. Prostaglandins are hormones released by the female body to signal the beginning of the shedding of the uterus lining. As reported by Popular Science, some women produce more prostaglandins than others, and the stray hormones may make it to the bowels. Here, they have a similar effect but instead of stimulating the uterus to expel waste, they stimulate the bowel.
Progesterone, another hormone involved in the female menstrual cycle, can also influence a woman's bowel movements, PopSci reported. Low levels of progesterone can stimulate the bowels, which is why some women may get diarrhea right before their menstrual period.
Suddenly using the bathroom less frequently than normal may be a sign of something as minor as dietary and exercise changes or something more serious, such as irritable bowel disease or colorectal cancer. Depression is also a common cause of constipation. If left unaddressed for too long, extreme constipation can lead to an impacted bowel — a treatable but extremely unpleasant health condition.
When it comes to bathroom habits, your own intuition should be the first reference you turn to. As long as your bathroom trips don't cause pain or discomfort you are most likely in the clear. Your digestive system works all day and every day, so slight hiccups are to be expected. But if either constipation or diarrhea lasts for longer than weeks at a time, it may be time to seek medical assistance.