How often should we have bowel movements? If you search for answers you will find many different opinions about how often you should have bowel movements. Some people say at least once per week, some people say at least once per day, and some people say several times a day.
I now have several bowel movements a day, but it wasn’t always this way. I started having consistent multiple bowel movements every day after I adopted a plant based diet and began drinking a half to a whole gallon of water a day.
Before I adopted a plant based diet I would usually have one bowel movement a day and I would always feel bloated. I don’t get the bloated feeling anymore. Why did my bowel movements increase and why didn’t I have the bloated feeling anymore after adopting a whole-food plant based diet? The increased fiber and water in my diet made me regular, but what is regular?
Since my bowel movements where affected by the change in my diet I have to say that it is dictated by my diet. The more fiber and water I consistently added, the more bowel movements I had.
What Are Normal Bowel Movements?
Depending on the person it takes twenty-four to seventy-two hours for food to move from the mouth, go through the digestive process, and move to the rectum to be excreted from the body. The amount of times you eat a day should have some bearing on how many times a day you have bowel movements.
Say you fasted and were able to have bowel movements and remove all the stool from your body. After that time period you started to eat and drink again. It should take one to three days for the first meal to be excreted from the body.
If you ate three hours after your first meal then the next batch of waste should be ready to be excreted 3 hours after the first bowel movement. So at the minimum if you are eating three times a day you should have at least one to three bowel movements a day.
The way I envision it we have several pockets of bowel movements spaced out along the 23 foot long small intestine, with each pocket being dumped in the large intestine at a time.
Eating food that lacks fiber and not drinking enough water can eventually weaken the intestines and cause the food to move through a slower pace resulting in less bowel movements.
If you are not pooping every day, I think you need to examine if you are getting enough fiber and water in your diet, and if you are eating too much processed food, meat, and dairy.