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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.


Join The Conversation
anthony15250810 anthony15250810 3 years
I'm 18 years old and i have pretty much all these symptoms without the pain. LOL no pain may stool is dry, hard, gotta push my self to go, "some times blood" maby thats from the straining? and i barley go. im very worried
jess-words jess-words 7 years
O.K.— thank you to everyone who said "hearing about someone going less than once a day FREAKED them out.. .—" I have to go every day, or else i cant work or concentrate. I get sleepy and sluggish. I eat only fresh fruit, vegetables and grains. Sometimes small servings of meat or cheese, but not much .I buy organic as much as my wallet will allow, especially granola and grains. But as far as total bathroom assistance, that is also assisted if i go for at least one 20-to-30 min. brisk walk per day. my advice? walk and drink a lot of water in the morning, and make sure your main diet is "scheduled" more logically; 3 regular times per day, and avoid processed foods. And take a 30 walk, preferably in the morning before breakfast. (oh, yeah, and eat breakfast. a breakfast of -just- fruit will move through you like lightning but energize the heck out of you) Above ALL of this, it sounds dumb, but check out the book "skinny bitch". I dont agree with the whole book 100%, but its one of the best dietary books i've read. Also, Michael Pollen's "eat food, not much, mostly plants" or "in defense of food" are good books too. regular pooping is important, and at least SOMETHING once a day. it is important to rid ourselves of the rotting putrefying food in our system, especially chemichal/processed food.
bluebellknoll bluebellknoll 8 years
A few years ago a friend of mine told me he only went once a week and it totally freaked me out. I go twice a day. :)
delightfairy delightfairy 8 years
I go every second day. I still don't have any problems.
Seka21 Seka21 8 years
Unless I have food poisioning or some dodgy indian food.. lol.. (then my butt and the toilet have a special 24 hour relationship) i go 1x every 2 days.. and im supper skinny, eat loads and have no issues with down there problems. Some peoples bodies are just different i guess...
Allytta Allytta 8 years
funny enought, i go very well and wuick after mcdonald's :) was like that since childhood and foundit very weird. same with pizza.
Allytta Allytta 8 years
i go 2-3 times a day. if i eat a lot of fiber then maybe 5 ;)
DevonJade DevonJade 8 years
I take a couple of Fiber Choice tablets every day so I don't have to think so much about getting enough fiber and I find that makes things much easier. I hate having to plot my meals so carefully otherwise and this works well. Fiber One bars are also amazing in this capacity.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
Sometimes medications can make things move slower down there as well; especially painkillers and muscle relaxants. Fiber and a LOT of water really helps, but sometimes if you're on a medication like that you need a laxative to get your intestines moving again. Just be sure that you only use them occasionally and don't get dependent on them.
blondie829 blondie829 8 years
Exercising regularly helps too! Water, exercise, high-fiber diet, and a good sleep pattern should help regulate things!
mondaymoos mondaymoos 8 years
I'm a once-a-dayer myself... but that could definitely be the coffee talking. :coffee:
hithatsmybike hithatsmybike 8 years
It seems unusual to go less than once a day, but I guess if the mayo clinic is okay with it.. I think it has to do with your diet though. I'm with the other poster: when I ate unhealthy, it was less, but eating good foods and proper meals changed my GIT rhythm. I was under the impression that it should be once a day (your body actually has a bowel "housekeeping" that goes through your intestine in a 24-hr cycle, so it makes sense!). I also drink coffee -- and never know there was this relationship!!
telane telane 8 years
HAHA @ Tidalwave..... Surely not.... That is yet another thing coffee is known for!
Kaolla Kaolla 8 years
Wow... I go 3 - 6 times every day. My metabolism is really fast but I do drink a lot of water. Not too much, but a lot.
sourcherry sourcherry 8 years
I have a fairly healthy diet (I eat fruit everyday, lots of muesli, lots of salad, very little meat...) and I don't go everyday either. I should drink more water, and maybe that would help, but ultimately I think every person body is different... Doesn't mean there's anything wrong health-wise...
TidalWave TidalWave 8 years
I bet the OP doesn't drink coffee.... /just sayin'
Beaner Beaner 8 years
When I was younger, I used to only go once a week. My diet was horrible - lots of sugary cereals, junk food, fast food,soda, hardly any veggies or fruit. No fiber = constipation. I'm sure many kids have this issuenow.
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