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Frequent Bowel Movements

Defining frequent bowel movement is very difficult, as bowel habits differ from one person to another. While there are some who may have bowel movements two to three times in a day, there are others who will have them once in two days. This article provides some information on the same.
Bhakti Satalkar
Last Updated: Jan 21, 2018
Frequent bowel movements in a person are dependent on what are his/her regular bowel movements. Bowel movements vary widely in healthy people. Some people have one bowel movement per day, whereas there are others who have them thrice a week. At the same time, frequency of bowel movements for a person is different over a certain period of time.
There is no rule when it comes to normal or regular bowel movements. The general and accepted range of the frequency of bowel movements is 3 times a day to 3 times a week. If the number is less than three per week, it is an indication of constipation. At the same time, more than three watery stools indicate diarrhea. There is a possibility, that a person may have one bowel movement a day for a number of years and then the number may increase to two or three a day for no obvious reason. This is also considered to be normal, but would certainly mean that the frequency of bowel movements for the person has undergone a change.
There are a number of causes for this problem. Here are some of them:
  • Change in Diet Pattern: Change in diet pattern very often leads to change in the frequency of bowel movements. Increase in intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains increases the fiber intake, which causes increase in frequency of visits to the toilet.
  • Exercise: Starting of a regular exercise regime or increasing exercise in general is also said to lead to this condition.
  • Water: One would have to monitor their water and fluid intake. Increase in water and fluid intake is the most common cause. Excess liquid in the large intestine can cause as many as ten bowel movements in a day.
  • Mental Illness: Apart from the physical illness, mental illness including stress can cause this problem. Often it is seen, that before a major exam, children experience change in bowel movements. It is, however, not limited to children only. Adults also experience a similar problem in case of increased anxiety or stress.
  • Diarrhea: This is the most common cause of frequent bowel movements. It can be caused due to consumption of something which did not agree with one's system. Food poisoning can also give rise to diarrhea. It can also be caused due to eating food or drinking water contaminated with bacteria or parasites.
  • The first step in treating it, is to check, if one has made any changes to their lifestyle.
  • If one has started exercises, he/she would not want to make any changes then. After a few days, the problem will go away on its own.
  • Taking the time required to fully finish a bowel movement, would help in reducing the frequency to a considerable extent. Even if one takes about ten minutes, he/she should ensure that he/she has finished their bowel movement.
  • If one was not drinking sufficient amount of water previously and now he/she has started drinking 10 to 12 glasses, it would prove beneficial. If one has started an exercise regime, he/she needs to consume more water than the standard.
  • If increase in bowel movements becomes a regular feature, one may want to make sure that he/she is drinking clean water and eating non-contaminated food.
One would have to visit the health care professional on observing any changes in consistency, volume, or appearance of his/her bowel movements, abdominal pain or blood, mucus, or pus in the feces. Such conditions would require a thorough examination.
As mentioned above, bowel movements differ for each individual, therefore increase in frequency is also different. One would have to assess the condition themselves, as it may help in treating the same. If there are other symptoms displayed, do not waste time and visit the health care professional at the earliest.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.