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 read more.

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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