There are some things that are very hard to define as “normal.” After all, most things in life are located in the grey area, not black or white.
Bowel movements are certainly one of them.
Poops can be shrouded in mystery:
- How often should you go?
- What should it look like?
- Do you have an underlying condition like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?
You could go to the bathroom once per day and feel great. You could go one every two days, or three times per day, and feel great. You can also do all of those things and feel terrible.
Bowel movements are highly personalized, and when it comes to poop, it can be all about patterns. So, if your pattern is regular, regardless of how it looks or how long you go before you need to go again, and you feel good, you’re probably okay.
But let’s say you’re going five times per day, but every time it’s a hard little nugget, and you never feel like you’re emptying your bowels – especially if it’s out of the ordinary for you.
In that case, even though you’re going to the bathroom, you’re likely not emptying your bowels and are constipated. If that’s happened to you out of nowhere, then take a look at what you may have eaten the past few days, how much fluid you’ve consumed, or other factors that can influence bowel movements.
You can learn your bowel movement routine by tracking frequency and consistency. Some things to look at are:
- Do you have several “good ones” in a row?
- Are you straining more often than not? And if so, are you regularly dealing with constipation or just after days of irregular eating?
- Is food running right through you when it usually does not?
Getting a handle on what’s normal for you can ultimately lead to a better understanding and management of gut health.
Some things that may help your bowels are identifying any issues like IBS, food sensitivities, and triggers. A diet high in fiber is also good for gut health and bpwel consistency.