The Scoop on Bowel Movements
Updated: Jan 6
Did you know that by the time you are 70 years old the average person will have had bowel movements a pile as big as a car? Yes, seriously! But on the daily, most people have a bowel movement up to two pounds a day and that BM is made up of 75% water. The other 25% undigested fiber, waste material from your stomach, fats, salts, other substances from the intestines and liver, and both live and dead bacteria that produce the various compounds and gases that cause the smell. The ratio of these substances differs from person to person.
Have you ever noticed your BM floating in the toilet? Floating stool is usually a sign of poor nutrient absorption or excessive gas. Your stool should sink and be very easy to pass — almost effortless and it should take the form of the letter S in a continuous log or two, with a diameter similar to that of a circle you can make with your index finger and thumb.
Experts say that if you can set your watch to your bowel movements, it means that you have a healthy digestive system. Although it seems most common to move your bowels first thing in the morning, because your dinner has had many hours to digest, don't worry if you aren’t. Once you get up and moving your bowels open and everything shifts downward.
Candidly, bowel movements was not on my list of topics to write about this week, but since a client asked me to, I’ll share what I have found that works for those that suffer from bowel issues.
First, we suggest purchasing a squatty potty. If you haven’t heard of this, Google it. We have one in each bathroom in our home! Science has proven that the most effective position for going No. 2 isn't at the 90-degree angle created by sitting on a typical toilet, but more of a 45-degree angle that you get when you squat over the ground. Squatting changes the position of your rectum so it's at an angle that lets your poop slide out with minimal effort.
We also encourage magnesium. Most people are depleted in magnesium (your doctor can test your levels for you) and we found that by adding this to their nightly regimen, their bowel movements become regular and without strain. Almonds, spinach, and cashew nuts are some of the foods highest in magnesium, but if you cannot get enough magnesium through your diet, your doctor may recommend taking supplements.
While we know that exercise can keep everything moving, combining those efforts with adding 25 grams of fiber per day containing a good prebiotic and probiotic is even more beneficial. Similarly, if you are struggling with constipation or irregular bowel movements, look at your water intake and your diet then follow up with your health care professional. Schedule an appointment with a dietician and design a protocol that is specific to you!
And always remember that if you have blood in your stool you should seek immediate medical attention.
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