Is It OK To Poop More Than Once A Day? Here’s What The Amount You Go Says About Your Health
Talking about poop can be gross at times, but it is a perfectly normal bodily function (I mean, there’s even a book called “Everybody Poops”) and it can tell you a whole lot about your health. Seriously — your bowel movements are one of the easiest ways to gauge your wellness and predict any oncoming or current health issues. The characteristics of your poop can indicate everything from bacterial infections to letting you know you need more of a particular food group in your diet. Though poop may not be the most pleasant topic (or maybe you love talking about poop — more power to you!), it’s super necessary to have discussions about it, and helps ensure your health is on the up-and-up.
One of the ways your poop can indicate that you have a health issue — or are developing a health issue — is by the frequency of your bowel movements, aka how often you poop a day. A 2017 survey conducted by the website Healthline revealed that 50 percent of people poop once a day on average. However, 28 percent of people reported pooping twice a day, and 5.6 percent reported only pooping once or twice a week.
How much you poop on any given day, however, can be influenced by many variables — including your fluid intake, diet, exercise, fiber intake, hormones, and stress. Basically, almost everything under the sun can influence your digestive health — and we're still trying to understand why this is. While it’s totally normal to have variations in the frequency of your bowel movements from day to day and person to person, there are a few warning signs the frequency of your poop means you have a health problem.
Pooping more than once a day is not cause alone for a trip to the doctor, but if your stool is a different consistency than normal, it may be a more serious issue. If you’re making multiple trips to the bathroom in a day and your stool is mushy, loose, or flat-out watery — here’s the handy-dandy Bristol Stool chart if you are not sure — you should be a bit more concerned. Diarrhea is a common symptom of the stomach flu and food poisoning, lasting for a few days at most. Though these frequent bowel movements should pass as you get over the illness, it’s crucial to drink water since diarrhea can easily cause dehydration.
Pre-existing health conditions may also dictate the amount you poop, and if you should be concerned. For example, people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), a digestive health issue that can cause stomach aches and diarrhea, are more likely to poop than once a day — and that can be the “normal.” Some autoimmune diseases, like Crohn’s disease and Celiac disease, are also linked to chronic diarrhea and frequent bowel movements. Chances are, if you’re diagnosed with a disorder that affects your digestive health, pooping frequently is pretty typical. However, if you frequently have loose stools and no diagnosis, it may be a good idea to follow up with a gastroenterologist (AKA, a poop and GI tract doctor).
Most importantly, understanding your own body and your own “normal” is key to determining whether or not the frequency of your poops is a health risk. Though pooping once a day is a pretty solid average, a 2010 study suggested anywhere between going to the bathroom three times a day to three times a week is normal. So, simply being aware of how much you poop on average, and if it fluctuates, will clue you into the state of your health.