A person’s bowel habits say a lot about their health and how well their body is functioning.

Even though it can be embarrassing to talk about bowel movements, they can offer valuable clues to what is going on in the body. Many people have concerns that they are pooping too many times a day, or not enough.

Here are the answers to some common poop questions that may be too embarrassing to ask.

Contents of this article:

  • It is hard to say what is normal, especially when it comes to frequency of bowel movements as it varies from person to person.
  • Doctors look at how often someone poops and the consistency to determine if a person’s bowel habits are usual.
  • Pooping is the body’s way of getting rid of waste products and the undigested food that does not get absorbed.
  • Experiencing temporary changes in bowel habits or patterns is normal.

How many times a day should you poop?

Man sitting on toilet, reaching for toilet roll.
A person’s bowel movement routine is unique to them, and is determined by a number of factors such as diet.

What is normal for one person may be abnormal for another. A 2010 study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology found that 98 percent of its participants pooped between 3 times per week to 3 times daily.

Most people have their own routine and go to the bathroom the same number of times per day and at around the same time.

Deviating significantly from the regular pattern may still be considered healthy, but it can also indicate the development of a stomach or bowel problem.

What factors affect how often you go?

How often a person goes to the bathroom can vary a lot and depends on a range of factors including:

Fluid intake

Because the large intestine absorbs excess water, not drinking enough fluids can harden poop and make it more difficult to go. Someone who is experiencing constipation should increase their fluid intake to help keep poop soft.

Age

Constipation is often associated with getting older. Aging causes the gut to slow down, so poop does not pass through as quickly. Also, an older person is more likely to be taking medication that may interfere with their usual pooping habits.

Activity

Staying active helps the colon work better and move poop through the intestines more efficiently. When someone is experiencing constipation or slow digestion, going for a walk or run can help get things moving more regularly.

Diet

Person holding a bowl of cereal.
A high fiber diet is likely to result in regular bowel movements. A diet lacking in fiber may lead to constipation, or other digestive problems.

What a…