A huge part of being fit and healthy comes from nutrition. Duh. Frequently I recommend clients get more protein, water and almost always recommend incorporating more organic vegetables and fruits. Eat the rainbow. Inevitably, for those who follow my sage and expensive advice, comes the push back. I ask how the changes are going and they say something like “Well… It’s going okay, but, uhm… I kind of… Well…” And at this point they get a shy, embarrassed look. I quickly jump in with “You’re using the bathroom more and noticing you have more gas?” Most remain a little embarrassed but that fades as they begin to ask me a barrage of questions about pooping. So here are a few common questions and answers.
[Caveat: I’m not a doctor. If you are having trouble with your bowel movements or other GI issues, see a medical professional. This article is meant to help folks understand what is “normal”.]
How many times a day is normal?
Pooping three times a day is normal – and so is pooping three times a week. There’s a wide range for what’s “normal,” because everyone is different. Go more than three days without a movement, and you’re likely constipated and may need some medical assistance. Check out this U.S. News & World Report slide show for more info.
What about shape and consistency?
Did you know that there is actually a scale for this in the medical community. I remember when one of my best friends from Duke was in medical school and sent me the Bristol Stool Scale. We died laughing. Well. It’s no joke as Tamara Duker Freuman, a dietitian specialized in digestive disorders, explains in this article.
What about the smell?
Yes, certain healthy foods create a more pungent odor Meat, seafood, eggs and yogurt will create more of a stink because of the sulfur content. Beans and cabbage also make quite a stench. Guess what. Healthy people pass gas around 12-20 times/day. Excuse yourself or get strategic and sit on a cushion. The fabric will absorb the smell. (Not that I’ve EVER done this. But so I’m told. I guess after this no one will be inviting me over for dinner any time soon.)
Want to learn more about nutrition and gut health? Check out this article from the experts at Precision Nutrition.