The frequency of bowel movements varies from person to person, so what is typical for one person may not be normal for another. However, if you happen to have more than three bowel movements in a day, this is considered frequent.
Frequent bowel movements can be caused by a variety of circumstances, including a person’s lifestyle, viruses, infections, prescription side effects, food sensitivities, and certain medical problems.
Learn more about the reasons for frequent bowel movements, as well as the treatment choices and preventative techniques available to you.
What Is Considered Frequent?
A condition in which a person defecates (eliminates waste from their intestine) more frequently than normal is known as frequent bowel movements. There is no such thing as a “normal” amount of bowel movements.
Healthy bowel movement frequency might range from three times a day to three times a week, according to several healthcare practitioners. Your ‘typical’ system, on the other hand, may deviate from these figures.
The fact that a person’s bowel movements have grown more frequent is based on an increase in that person’s normal pattern, not on a universal definition.
Constipation (fewer than three bowel movements each week) and diarrhea (more than three movements of loose stools in a day) are the two most common bowel movement disorders.
Frequent bowel movements might be associated with a variety of other symptoms. These will differ depending on the underlying reason for the frequent bowel movements.
Among the possible symptoms are:
- Soft or loose stools
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
What causes frequent bowel movements?
Frequent bowel movements can occur for a brief period and are not a reason for concern. These can be caused by stomach discomfort from eating rotten, fatty, or spicy food, an intolerance to a meal, or an intestinal “bug” that clears itself in a day or two.
Other possible reasons for frequent bowel movements include increased physical activity, certain drugs such as antibiotics or metformin, or a dietary change (more fiber, water, fats, or sugars). After the person adjusts to the alterations or makes dietary changes, his or her bowel movements may return to normal.
Additional causes may exist when the person has other symptoms in addition to the increased quantity of bowel movements, such as the following:
What you eat becomes you, and what you consume becomes feces. Spicy Thai cuisine or a large raw salad might result in a few more trips to the bathroom. It’s also scientifically shown that eating a vegetarian diet leads to greater defecation. Plant foods are high in fiber, which makes you feel full.
It’s even more common among vegetarians. The 30% of plant-based participants in nutrition and bowel movement research had a greater pooping frequency. Spicy foods might irritate your stomach, causing you to go to the bathroom more frequently (especially hot lava style).
Furthermore, consuming bad food might make you ill, causing you to use the toilet far more frequently than usual.
There’s a reason why experienced runners advise “never trust a fart.” Running, for example, can start things flowing. Researchers attribute gym-goers’ increased defecation to the digestive system constricting and stretching, as well as secretions and reduced blood flow.
Furthermore, what you consume in conjunction with exercise might cause problems with your colon. According to a 2015 research, triathletes who drank coffee, energy, or carbohydrates before the race were more likely to have greater GI stress during training.
Competitors who took coffee in the morning experienced considerably greater GI irritation when they began running.
3. Lactose Intolerance
Eating foods that conflict with your body might also cause you to use the restroom more frequently. If you’re lactose intolerant, consuming dairy can result in some fairly explosive dookies, or if you’re lucky, simply an increase in the number of trips to the restroom.
This is because lactose intolerant people are unable to digest lactose, a sugar found in milk and milk products, including cheese and yogurt.
Lactose intolerance can run in a person’s family and is more frequent among Asian, African, Mexican American, and Native American populations.
More trips to the porcelain palace are frequently associated with a disease. This might be bacterial, viral, parasitic, or issues from body functions or organs that are causing you to get ill.
C. difficile (which can be fatal if not treated), worms or protozoa, diverticulitis, pancreatitis, gallbladder difficulties, H. Pylori, or intestinal disorders are some of the ailments connected with frequent defecation.
5. Celiac disease and gluten
People nowadays have a lot of reasons to dislike gluten, but if you’re pooping a lot, gluten might be the cause. Gluten sensitivity in people who aren’t have celiac disease can lead to GI discomfort, which can lead to gas and frequent bowel movements.
Celiac disease is far worse than gluten sensitivity. The disease is essentially an autoimmune disorder in which gluten triggers an immune response that damages the small intestine. In the long term, this may lead to very significant problems.
According to the Celiac Illness Foundation, one in every 100 persons worldwide has the disease. Keep track of what you’re consuming, and if you see a link between gluten-containing items and your BMs, see your doctor.
That time of the month may also wreak havoc on a restroom schedule. In a 2014 study of 156 women, 73% reported GI irritation before or after their period, and 28% had diarrhea.
When Aunt Flo comes to visit, the body produces hormone-like compounds known as prostaglandins, which aid in uterine contraction (hello, cramps!). Prostaglandins can also cause your gut muscles to contract more, resulting in additional trips to the toilet.
7. Crohn’s disease
Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease which can cause the digestive system to become inflamed. It can also expand to the layers of your gut tissue, producing more discomfort and complications.
Crohn’s disease can produce a variety of unpleasant symptoms, such as stomach discomfort and diarrhea. Bloody stools are also a sign of Crohn’s disease and should be reported to your doctor as soon as possible (Crohn’s can cause life-threatening complications).
Crohn’s disease, like IBS, has yet to be cured. Make an appointment with your doctor if you feel this is the cause of your frequent defecation.
Do you feel compelled to use the bathroom after drinking your grande cold brew? Coffee makes you go faster for a variety of reasons, the most important of which is caffeine.
According to research from the University of Iowa College of Medicine, individuals who drank caffeinated coffee had 60% higher colon activity than those who drank water, and 23% more than those who drank decaf.
Additional research has found similar outcomes when giving people caffeinated coffee throughout the years, leading to the popular assumption that caffeine consumption makes you desire to go to the bathroom.
Medications can also affect your bowels and stimulate your colon. Aside from the obvious laxatives and stool softeners (duh), there are a few drugs to be aware of:
- NSAIDs like ibuprofen and naproxen
- immune system suppressing drugs like mycophenolate
- medicines for heartburn and stomach ulcers (uncommon, but possible)
- chemotherapy drugs
- metformin (diabetes medication)
Any new drug might mess with your body’s toilet habits. If things do not return to normal and you experience alarming symptoms such as fever, stomach discomfort, nausea, vomiting, or bloody stools, contact your doctor immediately.
You may have stomach discomfort and bowel movement changes such as diarrhea, constipation, or a mix of the two if you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). So, if you have IBS and have a regular pooping routine, the two may be linked.
The bad news is that physicians are still unsure what causes IBS and will most likely recommend that you adjust your dietary habits or take medication. Food allergies and stress have been linked to IBS flare-ups in certain people.
After a night out of drinking, most of us have undoubtedly experienced the beer sh*ts. The toilet excursions after drinking 12 White Claws, often known as day-after-drinking stool (or DADS for short), maybe a nightmare.
Beverages with a low alcohol level, such as wine and beer, speed up the emptying of your GI tract. Bending the elbow also increases your ethanol consumption, which is the chemical ingredient in alcohol that causes GI motility to speed up when ingested in big amounts.
Stress can disrupt a variety of bodily functions, including hormones, weight, and the immune system. It’s no surprise that it might have an impact on your bowel movements.
Stress might cause you to poop more because it can upset your digestive system, resulting in increased poops and diarrhea.
There’s a reason why seasoned travelers have Imodium on hand. Traveling to another nation might increase your desire to defecate and cause traveler diarrhea.
Traveler’s diarrhea is typically caused by consuming infected food or drinking polluted water while abroad. Furthermore, minor things such as temperature or sanitation might disturb your bowels.
A 2017 study of 628 international tourists from the Boston region discovered that 33% had traveler’s diarrhea.
How are frequent bowel movements diagnosed?
In circumstances when the cause of frequent bowel movements is unknown, the doctor will ask you the following questions:
- When was your last bowel movement?
- How frequently do you urinate?
- The consistency of the feces (watery or shaped)
- If there is blood in or near the stool
- If you have rectum bleeding
- If you feel dizzy or have cramps, discomfort, fever, or nausea
- What meals and beverages do you eat?
- If you have recently changed your weight.
- The drugs you are taking
- If and when you have recently traveled
A physical examination will be performed by the doctor, who may also prescribe blood and stool tests, urinalysis, and X-rays.
How to get your bowels under control
Once you’ve identified some probable causes for your frequent defecating, you can restore normalcy to your plumbing system using one of many methods:
- Alter your diet by consuming less fiber-rich or irritating/spicy foods.
- Reduce your coffee usage (we promise you can survive on one cup a day).
- Be mindful of what you consume in the hours leading up to a workout.
- When going overseas, take certain food-related precautions.
- Before drinking, brushing your teeth, or rinsing with tap water, be sure it’s safe.
- Never consume raw fruits or vegetables without first washing them in clean bottled water.
- Be cautious and only consume fruits and vegetables that have been cooked or have a peel that you can remove yourself.
- Reduce your alcohol consumption.
- Consider meditating or seeing a therapist if you’re tense or nervous.
- Examine the meds you’re currently taking.
Make an appointment with your doctor to address any ailments, disorders, or dietary allergies that may be to blame.
When should I consult a physician regarding frequent bowel movements?
If you experience frequent bowel movements and any of the following symptoms, consult your doctor:
- Stools that are bloody or rectum bleeding
- Unintentional weight loss
- Acute severe diarrhea following hospitalization or antibiotic use
- Severe or chronic (long-term) diarrhea
- Painful, puffy, or inflated abdomen
- Stools with a strong odor
- Abdominal cramps
- Incontinence (inability to regulate bowel movements)
- Body aches
- Constipation that hurts
What are the risks of having frequent bowel movements?
Because frequent bowel movements can be a sign of a serious condition, failing to seek treatment might lead to major consequences and lasting harm. Once the underlying reason has been identified, you must adhere to the treatment plan that you and your doctor devised particularly for you to limit the risk of potential problems such as:
- Anemia (low red blood cell count)
- Intestinal blockage and intestinal wall rupture
- Spread of cancer
- Spread of infection
The frequency of bowel movements varies from person to person, but more than three bowel movements per day are considered frequent. This can be caused by particular foods or dietary variables, but it can also be caused by viral or bacterial infections, drug side effects, and certain medical disorders. Treatment is not always required.
However, it may include addressing the underlying problem if one exists.
Read also: Everything You Need To Know About Your Gut Microbiome