How Often Should You Have a Bowel Movement?
If, like me, you are getting emails from every health or diet marketer out there telling you that you NEED to be pooping 3 times per day, and that has you worried that you are constipated and better buy their product, please do not fret. Not everyone will poop 3 or more times per day. We are all individuals and what is normal for me may not be normal for you. It seems that every list I subscribed to, is now selling a certain probiotic supplement – and their strategy is to convince us that we are all constipated. “They” are saying that we should have a bowel movement after every meal we eat. The fact is that our food generally takes several hours to completely digest. According to the Mayo Clinic – upwards of 40 hours! (See Source)
Dr. Mercola is my go to guy when it comes to these kinds of questions. And my go to guy says that for some, normal IS 3 times per day, and for others once every 3 days is normal. And both may be perfectly healthy. Generally, you know if you are constipated. Your belly is bloated and when you do go, it’s difficult to pass stools. If your belly is generally soft and not uncomfortable, and you are going somewhere between one to 3 times a day and once every 3 days, don’t worry about it.
Do You Need a ProBiotic Supplement?
That doesn’t mean you don’t need a probiotic. In fact, most of us do. Probiotic supplements help to increase the healthy bacteria in our gut. The probiotic marketing that I referenced earlier will likely be getting lots of concerned buyers calling and emailing to tell them that in spite of taking the supplement, they are not going poop after each meal. Probiotics will not necessarily improve constipation. If you suffer from chronic constipation, you should certainly supplement with probiotics, but you should also investigate the cause of your constipation.
Anyone who does not eat a 100% organic diet with lots of fermented foods such as vegetables or dairy products (kefir), could benefit from a probiotic supplement. I love this convenient product that provides a natural probiotic in a vegan smoothie mix that is alkaline forming and a great source of fiber and protein and omega 3 fatty acids. Reshape is a beautifully balanced food! Check it out!
In actual fact, the best thing you can do for your gut is to stop eating canola oil and other GMO (genetically modified organisms). Doing more to increase the healthy flora, and to decrease the unhealthy bacteria is what we should all be doing. Therefore, yes, you should probably consider taking a probiotic supplement. Learn more about probiotics and how to pick the right one first though!
More About Poop – What Should It Look Like?
Let’s Rank Your Poop
Check where your typical bowel movement ranks according to the Bristol Stool Chart. Strive for consistency in the Type 3 to 5 range, with Type 4 being the “ideal”. You want to make smooth moves (pun obviously intended). What you may not know is that too much fiber can result in both too hard and too soft stool. You must ensure that you are drinking enough water – your stool is in fact 70% water… not enough water consumption with a high fiber diet results in hard stools and other symptoms of constipation. It’s all about balance folks! Like color, consistency can vary depending on what you have eaten.