What is a “Normal” Bowel Movement

Bowel Movement

When it comes to gut health, bowel movement patterns can tell you a lot about your total body wellness.  As a culture, bowel movements aren’t something we talk about much, but if your body’s plumbing isn’t working properly, it can create a toxic environment in your body–literally.  Research in 2010 revealed that your brain and the good bacteria in your gut communicate directly which can influence your mood, your immune system, and your inflammation levels. Learn how to determine what a “normal” bowel movement is for you and what is still considered in the healthy range of normal.

Your Digestive System is One of Your Most Important Body Systems

Let’s face it. Pooping and bowel movements aren’t high on our list of conversation topics, but stool habits and patterns can reveal how your body is working–for you or against you.  If it’s not working properly, all the waste products and undigested food that isn’t absorbed is left to poison your system, clog you up–literally and figuratively–and leave you with a multitude of symptoms. Understanding the role of your bowel can help you respect what is required to keep it healthy. 

The Health and Well-Being of the Entire Body is Impacted by Your Gut Health

Your gastrointestinal (digestive) system is your body’s main site for intake and absorption of nutrients. “This system of critical digestive organs also acts as a type of switchboard or communication center to and from the brain, and functions as one of the body’s frontlines in the fight against disease. Our gut plays a major role, not only in our gastrointestinal health, but in the health and well-being of the entire body,”according to Dr. Lisa Ganjhu, clinical assistant professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center.

Defining What a Normal Bowel Movement is for You

How your gut functions compared to someone else will not be the same across the board. But, healthy bowel habits are: 1) painless; 2) occur at regular intervals; and 3) the consistency of the stool is soft and easy to pass–not runny, that’s a sign of diarrhea. The Bristol Stool Scale is a great tool for helping you understand what is considered healthy and not. Beginning to pay attention to how often you move food through your digestive system and out is the first step to identifying what “normal” is for you.  Once you know what “normal” is for you, then decide, if your “normal” needs some improvement to be classified as healthy. 

How to Prevent Abnormal Bowel Movements or Constipation

One of the best ways to keep your digestive system working properly, and your colon and intestines healthy, is to educate yourself and put into action what you learn. We can’t just grab whatever and put it in our bodies and expect everything to eventually resolve itself without any consequences to how our body feels or operates. This is where recruiting the help of a professional who can help you create a healthy nutrition, exercise and wellness program can really be of benefit to you. 

  • To help encourage bowel health and combat constipation, put into action the following suggestions:
  • Eat healthy with a diet rich in fiberous fruits and vegetables 
  • Drink the appropriate of water (take your body weight and divide it in half. That represents the number of ounces of water per day you should aim for).
  • Plan for daily exercise
  • Pay attention to your body’s rhythms; correct what needs correcting. (Get professional help when needed!)
  • When you have to use the bathroom, don’t delay. Take the time your body needs.

It is important to note that other factors that can contribute to irregularity–specifically constipation–include: irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, thyroid disorders, depression, colorectal cancer, Parkinson’s disease, or multiple sclerosis. Meeting with your healthcare professional can help you rule out any disease or conditions that could be causing your symptoms.

If Bowel Habits Change Significantly–Visit Your Doctor

While what is “normal” for one body type, may not be “normal” for another, most people have a bowel movement in the range of three times a day to three times a week.  Medical News Today encourages patients to visit their doctor if noticeable bowel changes continue for more than one or two weeks or if any of the following occur:

  • blood in the poop
  • black poop
  • new onset of “pencil-thin” poop
  • weight loss or fever that accompanies diarrhea or constipation
  • severe abdominal pain
  • vomiting blood or a substance that looks like coffee grounds

Call for a Functional Medicine Consultation and Gut Health Evaluation

Learn how you can benefit from functional medicine and a gut health evaluation today by calling 970-631-8286.  Discover how healthy you are on a biochemical, molecular level. Learn strategies and tips to balance your body physically, mentally and emotionally so you can have what you need for total body wellness.