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How Often Should You Have a Bowel Movement?

You Asked: I "Go" To the Bathroom Every Few Days — Is This Normal?

Dear Fit,

I only go to the bathroom every two or three days (I'm not talking about peeing), and it's been like this for a couple years. A good friend of mine says that I should be going every day. Is that true? Is not going once a day normal, or is my bathroom schedule harming my body?

— Possible Potty Problem Pam

This is a great question since many women wonder about their regularity. To hear what I have to say


Let me start off by saying that what's normal for one person may be considered constipation for someone else. Some people go to the bathroom three times a day, while others only go as often as you do. Only going a few times a week is no cause for concern unless:

  • Constipation is a new problem for you.
  • You've noticed blood in your stool.
  • You're losing weight even though you're not dieting.
  • You strain or have severe pains when you do go to the bathroom.
  • Your stools are hard and dry.
  • You have constipation that alternates with diarrhea.
  • You have fewer than three bowel movements a week.

If you have any of these symptoms, you should call your doctor. I don't want to alarm you, but chronic constipation can be a sign of irritable bowel syndrome or possibly cancer.

Fit's Tips: To prevent constipation in the first place, drink more water, exercise regularly (that helps to get things moving inside), and increase the fiber in your diet. A woman should be getting between 25 and 30 grams of fiber a day, so that should help you go more often.


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