How Often and How Long Should It Take You to Poop?

We all defecate. But how frequently should you be going to the restroom?

The severity and occurrence of conditions such as IBS or inflammatory bowel disease vary from person to person and depend on various factors such as activity level, age, and diet.

If at all, without exerting much effort, you should complete the task in a matter of minutes, and you should be able to take a seat on the restroom when you feel the need to use it.

Michael Valente, DO, a colorectal surgeon, explains the process of food digestion and the recommended frequency of bowel movements.

It takes different amounts of time for meals to digest in women and men. The time it takes for food to make its way through your digestive system also varies from person to person.

Upon entering your large intestine, food passes through your stomach and small intestine — a procedure that can last for six to eight hours — before it is completely digested and expelled from your body, a process that may vary between two to five days.

The waste material that remains after your digestive system has absorbed the nutrients and fluids exits your body through the rectum and anus, resulting in a bowel movement. It typically takes approximately 36 hours for food to be completely digested before you are prepared to have a bowel movement in your large intestine.

According to Dr. Valente, if you have a proper diet with enough water intake and good fiber, your bowel movements should be very short occurrences.

What is the recommended daily amount of bowel movements?

Don’t worry if you don’t have a bowel movement every day.

It’s good that your stool is easy and soft, and you should pass it multiple times a day. The frequency of your bowel movements depends on the individual, but on average, you should poop about three times a week.

Aim for a diet that is full of fiber, including vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, as it can help with regular bowel movements. If you often notice a lack of fiber in your diet, you may require around 25-35 grams of fiber per day, which can be beneficial for your overall health.

It is suggested to consume approximately 2 liters (or 64 ounces) of water per day. If you are dehydrated, you may experience constipation. Water helps keep your digestive system soft and aids in the movement of food. Staying hydrated is also crucial for maintaining healthy bowel movements.

The frequency of your bowel movements can be influenced by factors such as decreased mobility and specific medications as you age. Your age may also contribute to your constipation.

Exercise, even walking, can also help keep your bowel movements regular and healthy. By being active, you keep your digestive system working.

If you have a chronic illness like IBS, you may notice a change in your bowel movement pattern, which can lead to a feeling of constipation and frequent bowel movements.

According to Dr. Valente, “The primary cause of experiencing trouble with bowel movements is a deficiency of fiber and liquids in a person’s dietary intake. Fortunately, issues with the passage of bowel movements can be readily addressed by adopting and sustaining healthy eating and drinking patterns, along with engaging in regular physical activity.”