What is a Normal Bowel Movement?
Bowel movement frequency as well as your bowel movement’s color often dictate how well your system is working. In addition, consider these questions and statements to help you self-diagnose your bowel movements.
1. If you eat 1 to 3 meals a day, you should have 1 to 3 bowel movements per day. Going for several days or a week or more without a bowel movement is not normal and very unhealthy for your entire body.
2. A normal bowel movement should start and end naturally, without any straining or pushing.
3. A normal bowel movement occurs rather quickly, taking no more than about five minutes. The stool should not overly soil the toilet paper. It should pass out easily and be cut off easily and cleanly when the anal sphincter closes.
Having books in the bathroom or needing an excessive amount of toilet paper are definite clues that it’s taking too long and that your bowels needs some TLC.
4. In a normal bowel movement, the stool should have a diameter which is about half the width of your wrists. It should not be so large that it is hard to pass or causes pain or bleeding.
It should not be long and stringy, or pencil-thin. A very thin stool may indicate an impacted colon with colon walls that are reduced in diameter, thus not allowing normal width feces to move through the colon and be eliminated easily. It should not be composed of small, hard balls that plop into the toilet.
5. In a normal bowel movement, the stool should be about the same consistency (density or “thickness”) as regular toothpaste squeezed from a tube. It should not be soft and watery. It should not be hard and compacted nor cause the toilet to become plugged up.
6. The stool should be a medium brown color, about the color of peanut butter. It may be slightly colored from certain kinds of foods you recently ate, such as grapes, beets or very dark green vegetables.
It should not be yellow or maroon (like burgundy wine). In addition, it shouldn’t be gray and should not contain dark material from old feces.
7. A normal bowel movement is not excessively smelly. It should not have an overly foul smell if it’s composed of waste from food consumed less than 24 hours ago.
If you pass gas it should also not have a foul smell. Smelly farts and feces may indicate that old, decaying fecal matter is stuck to the walls of your intestines.
8. The stool should float in the toilet water if everything in it is the waste material from food that has been properly digested. A stool that has become too compacted, hard and dense due to constipation will usually sink. (Note that unhealthy stool that contains too much unabsorbed fat may also oat.)
9. The stool should not contain a lot of mucus, blood or foreign matter.
10. There should not be any small or large worms or other parasites visible inside or near to the stool.
If your bowel movements do not meet ALL the above criteria for a normal bowel movement, then you should STOP thinking that yours are “normal”. You should ponder if your bowel movements are healthy, or that your colon and small intestine are in good health.
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