There is no clear cut rule that explains the number of times you should poop. What matters is if there is a significant change in the number of times you poop or if there’s a change in your stool texture.
If you have passed poop once daily for the past couple of years, a sudden increase merits some attention.
One good guide to know if your frequency is normal is this: if you poop more than 3 times in a day, that’s diarrhea, while if you poop less than 3 times in a week, you are constipated.
So, if you still think you poop too much, here are some reasons why.
1. General Ill-Health
Your digestive system is a part of your body. When the body is performing sub-optimally, the performance of the gut is also reduced.
This means that the digestive process is often less accurate and the food is moved along the parts of the digestive system much faster than is necessary, causing you to poop a lot.
2. Intestinal Diseases
Some specific diseases affect the gut. In these disease states, digestion is hampered. Thus, food items are moved faster through the different parts of the gut.
In some cases, specific nutrients cannot be absorbed due to the disease condition. This leads to the passage of these food items in poop, relatively unchanged.
For example, in diseases affecting the production, transportation or action of bile, individuals affected are unable to digest fat. Bile is a greenish chemical produced by the liver for the digestion of fat. As such, fat is passed in stool relatively unchanged.
Some other diseases like Crohn’s disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome also affect your poop frequency and quantity.
Eating large and/or frequent portions of food can make you poop more. You may also pass larger amounts of poop as a result.
In cases where you ingest food you are intolerant to, you may also poop more often. People with gluten intolerance (called celiac disease) often have problems digesting nutrients due to the nature of the disease. They also have other symptoms like weight loss and mouth ulcers.
Similarly, lactose intolerance causes you to poop more often when you ingest dairy products.
Additionally, poorly cooked food has an increased chance of being infected by viruses and bacteria. This may cause you to become sick.
If you have taken to eating more fruits and vegetables than you normally would in the past few weeks, you should expect to poop more. Fruits and vegetables contain dietary fiber which increases the bulk of your poop. It also causes it to become softer. Oily and spicy foods may also speed up the process of digestion.
Exercising is a healthy way to live. Regular exercise causes your digestive system to hasten its processes and muscular contractions.
This reduces the time food spends in each part of the digestive system, leading to softer and more frequent poops. Additionally, your food or water intake often increases when you exercise more.
A common side effect of most drugs is a change in the way your gut would normally work. This may affect the frequency of your stools, meaning constipation or diarrhea. Some drugs may also affect the quantity of your poop, causing larger bulkier stools.
If you have recently started taking medications for any reason, you may experience changes in your poop frequency or amount.
Antibiotics, antipsychotics, chemotherapy drugs, antacids, laxatives, and some painkillers are drugs that may cause you to poop more. Antibiotics often upset the balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut. Typically, this resolves after the completion of the medications.
Excessive intake of refined sugars, coffee and alcohol may also cause you to poop more than you normally would. Coffee has a laxative effect while alcohol speeds up the process of digestion.
When stressed, your body may be altered in the way it handles processes. This may affect your gut too. The loss of balance created by stress leads to a quicker and less efficient digestive process, ending up as diarrhea. Anxiety and depression may also cause increased bowel movements.
In some women, their period is often accompanied by an increase in poop frequency. This is due to the effect of hormones on the digestive system. You may also notice an increase in pooping frequency days before and after your period.
When To See A Doctor
If you have a sudden change in stool frequency or you poop more than 3 times a day, you should discuss it with your doctor as soon as possible. Also, you should see your doctor if you have additional symptoms like:
- Passage of bloody stools
- Abdominal cramping or pain
- Weight loss
- Pain when defecating
- Uncontrolled watery pooping
- Frequent headaches
Treatment is tailored to the cause of the increase in poop. If unchecked, passing frequent or too much poop can cause you to become dehydrated. This may cause severe problems and in very severe cases, may even lead to death. Also, passing frequent stools leaves you malnourished, lacking important nutrients and minerals.
- You may need to make a small change in your lifestyle or get medications to address it. Generally, you should endeavor to eat healthily, drink a lot of water, and introduce fiber into your diet. Exercising also helps in keeping your body healthy and fit.
- If you are having watery stool, you will benefit from using an Oral Rehydration Solution. They are usually sold over the counter in many local pharmacies.
- If you notice that your poop increases after taking coffee, soda or alcohol, you should limit your intake of these drinks. Similarly, if you are intolerant to a food type or have food allergies, avoid these items in your diet.
- If you have recently completed antibiotic therapy, ask your doctor about probiotics. These can help you restore the balance of good and bad bacteria in your digestive system.
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