Ask the Poop Doctor is a column from Dr. Sameer Islam, MD, a Texas-based gastroenterologist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. Here, he sheds light on many aspects of the inner workings of your gastrointestinal system. He also hosts segments such as Poop Tip Thursday and Let’s Talk About Poop on his YouTube channel. Have a question you’d like to submit? Leave it in the comments section below!
Just like your body has a circadian rhythm for sleeping, you have the rhythms for pooping. And everyone’s rhythms are different.
The first thing to know about changing your pooping schedule is what a “regular” bowel movement schedule actually is. That’s such a common question, and there are so many myths about this. My grandmother (and maybe yours) kept insisting I need to poop every day to be healthy. But guess what is considered normal? Anything from three times per day to three times per week. Yes, you can be regular even if you go only three times per week.
The main thing I ask someone who wants to know what being regular is: “Are you happy and comfortable with your bowel movements?” If you don’t have pain and feel good, then that’s good.
But if you strain, push, feel bad, or nothing comes out, it doesn’t matter if you go every day. You may have a problem. The number does not matter. What does matter is how you feel.
If you don’t feel good, or you start to notice that your rhythm is off, we need to evaluate what is going on. And if it is off, it could be a sign of something going on inside the colon.
Is it bad if you don’t poop around the same time every day?
I would not say it is terrible, but it can be harder to treat constipation if you don’t have a rhythm.
Your body wants that rhythm, and if you do not help establish it, it can be more difficult for your body to adjust. Not establishing that rhythm is one of the most common reasons people have constipation.
If you do have constipation, it’s important to establish a rhythm to help fix it.
Here is what I recommend:
Why would your schedule be different some days than others?
It depends on so many factors, but the main thing is what you put into your body. If you eat like crap, you will poop like crap—it won’t be good. So fiber and fluids are the mainstays of treatment. This forms the foundation for good bowel movements. Other things that contribute are things outside the gut, and include exercise, stress, and the body’s natural rhythm.
If you have been pooping in the afternoon or evening lately and you’d like to change it to the morning, can you do that?
It is hard to change your body’s natural rhythm, especially if it has been that way for some time. If you want to change that rhythm, you need to re-establish it. For example, spend some time on the toilet in the morning, even if you don’t have the urge to go. Try adding some fiber later on in the day. But, keep in mind, you are going against your body’s natural inclinations, and it may end up being worse for you.
Source: Read Full Article