We all “go,” but we are often too shy to discuss bathroom matters even with our doctors. Unfortunately, this can lead us to believe some misguiding myths out there about what is right and what is wrong when it comes to going. Furthermore, what’s going on in the bathroom can reveal a lot about our health, but these signs are often overlooked as, once again, they are rarely the topic for discussion.
That is why we have compiled a list of seven myths and habits regarding trips to the bathroom to tell you the truth behind them or explain what they mean.
You don’t have to go once a day: You may have heard that if you don’t have a bowel movement at least once a day there must be something wrong. Here’s the good news: You don’t need to worry if you skip a day, two, or even three without a bowel movement as long as it is not accompanied by an upset stomach, cramping, or any other issues.
On the other hand, if you were a regular once-a-day and now you go three or more times, this could be a reflection of changes in your diet, like additional fiber in your meals, for example. But if your frequent bathroom trips are due to diarrhea, speak to your doctor.
It’s good to be regular: If your bowel movements are set as clockwork, it’s a sign that you have a healthy digestion, but it doesn’t mean you should worry if you’re not regular. Some common times for bowel movements are when you wake up, and when you get home from work or after being out all day as you are comfortable and relaxed once again.
Having a post-meal bowel movement doesn’t necessarily signal a problem: You shouldn’t be too concerned if you have a bowel movement after each meal, but it may mean your digestive system hasn’t matured much since you were an infant. Small children often have a bowel movement soon after they eat, and this may just be a reflex you never grew out of.
On the other hand, if your poop is foul-smelling, runny, or floating, it could mean you’re not digesting fats well so you may need to speak to your doctor.
How you poop matters: There is a right way to poop and a wrong way to poop. The right way involves having your feet rest on a low stool so they are higher than your waist – a 45-degree angle. This squatting position helps change the angle of your rectum, allowing your poop to slip out effortlessly.
Vacation can mess up your bathroom habits: Notice on the first few days of your vacation you haven’t pooped yet? It’s totally normal, as sitting on an airplane can dry out the colon as a result of the differences in air pressure. Also, dehydration on your vacation can further dry out the colon, along with eating cuisine that is different from what you are used to. The key here is to drink plenty of water from the moment you sit on the plane.
Take as long as you need: There is no rule on how long you need to sit on the toilet for – when you’re done and ready, well, that is when you’re done and ready. The difference is, if you are straining trying to pass a bowel movement and it’s not coming out smoothly – that indicates a problem. So don’t feel bad if you take in your daily news on the toilet, no rush!