Q&A: How many bowel movements should a person have a day?

Question by Ralph: How many bowel movements should a person have a day?
I mean for optimum health. Does it depend on how much and what you eat? What can a person do to ensure regularity?

Best answer:

Answer by matador 89
While one to three bowel movements are normal there is a lot of variation both day to day and between individuals. This is based on a whole range of factors. Peristalsis occurs reflexively in response to distention, and eating a meal with warm liquids may produce a bowel movement within a few hours. For the individual the speed of their metabolism, their habits, their body weight and more can have an impact. Even their psychology can play a role and if they are nervous they can find themselves making more regular visits to the toilet. Conditions such as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) are thought to be linked to stress. The differences per day meanwhile are the result of what they eat and of course the more they eat then the more they will need to visit the toilet. As a very rough guide you can generally expect the number of bowel movements to correlate with the number of meals you eat in the day – three meals a day should result in three bowel movements, while two meals should result in two. An ideal bowel movement is medium brown, the colour of plain cardboard. It leaves the body easily with no straining or discomfort. It should have the consistency of toothpaste, and be approximately 4 to 8 inches long. the stool should enter the water smoothly and slowly fall once it reaches the water. There should be little gas or odour. All shades of brown are considered normal. A discoloured stool rarely indicates a potentially serious intestinal condition. Stool colour is generally influenced by what you eat as well as by the amount of bile — a yellow-green fluid that digests fats — in your stool.


It is extremely important to obtain an accurate diagnosis before trying to find a cure. Many diseases and conditions share common symptoms.

The information provided here should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions.

Hope this helps
matador 89

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2 Comments so far »

  1. Bill said,

    Wrote on January 13, 2013 @ 1:04 am

    Everyone’s different. For me, “normal” is every other day. For others it could be 2 – 3 times a day; but in any case a person should go at least 2 -3 times a week. Anything longer than that would be abnormal. The amount you eat and drink as well as the “transit time” through your colon will effect your frequency and consistency. Most people will have occasional bouts of constipation so there is no way to totally ENSURE regularity, but your best chance is to eat a healthy, high fiber diet, drink plenty of water and to get as much exercise as possible.
    Hope this info is helpful.


  2. Kim W said,

    Wrote on January 13, 2013 @ 1:45 am

    Answer is to be active and hike. I hike at least a mile a day 5 days a week. Also eat fiber, like an apple or other fruit and also have a nice salad. If you eat those granola bars or fiber bars and a big glass of water its good. But also add black beans in your diet! I love low fat brownie mix 1 can of black beans pureed with juice, and one applesauce (those little containers) and bake for 25 min. Serve with low fat cool whip —YUM and lots of fiber and low fat

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