The results of the poll question “How often should a healthy adult have a bowel movement?”have been tabulated.
The results are:
- 2-3 bowel movements a day 50%
- 1 time a day 40%
- every other day 10%
Let’s think of a baby eating and having a bowel movement. A baby eats and has a bowel movement. That is a lot of diaper changing. As the new food enters the stomach, the bowel starts its peristaltic contractions and moves the stool down and out.
This should occur in adults also, with a little more control of the timing of bowel movements. We are usually eating three meals a day, and generate three piles of waste product. If we only move our bowels every other day, where is this waste product being stored?
The longer the stool stays in the the bowel, the more water is removed, and the drier and
harder the stool becomes, leading to constipation. Many people are carrying around 4-6 pounds of extra stool in their bowel.
At the wellness center, I am seeing children, adults and seniors with acute and chronic constipation issues. We should have 1-3 bowel movements most days.
Many people are using irritant laxatives such as senna, others have been taking products like Mirilax in order to move their bowels. These type of products help empty the bowel, but do not address the underlying imbalance. Also, many of these products are habit forming. Our bowels were designed to move regularly without an irritant laxative and there are easy ways to help restore a more normal bowel movement.
When a baby is constipated, you know how cranky they get. Also, you see their big smile when they finally move their bowels. Adults also get cranky when they are a bit backed up.
Another problem with constipation is that if the bowel is full of old stool, the food we eat
can not move through the bowel properly. This then leads to the food sitting in the bowel and fermenting, not digesting. The end result is poor absorption of nutrients and increased bloat, gas and odor.
Some suggestions to help with constipation include relaxing when we eat, chewing our food better, taking a well-formulated digestive enzyme, probiotic, a mixture of soluble and insoluble fiber and eliminating or decreasing white flour, white sugar and processed foods. Eat fresh fruits and veggies, sip water throughout the day, and find ways to decrease stress. Movement (exercise) is also very helpful.
Here is a link to a recording of a lecture at Johnson Compounding and Wellness on ” Digestion/ Elimination/IBS/Gerd-What you can do about it. It explains what is going on and some suggestions to help with poor digestion and constipation. There are many products available that help support digestion and elimination and can restore a more normal movement.
Feel free to contact me for more information about your specific issues. Since we are all unique, we each can have different digestive issues and causes of the imbalance. Correcting the imbalance is the way to good health. Laxatives are fine once in a while, but do not address the underlying issue.