Let’s face it. Most of us don’t like to discuss pooping, let alone our poop challenges. As a result, many of us are unaware our poop schedules are not as healthy, or even as unhealthy as we think. Here I discuss healthy bowel movements and poop schedules with four easy constipation hacks to improve your bowel movements.
Is My Poop Healthy? Frequency
Most people are blown away by the idea they should be pooping three to four times a day. If this sounds more like diarrhea than a healthy poop schedule to you, you’re not alone. The average female takes 2.7 days to poop out their food while the average male takes 1.9 days. This is what we call the transit time for bowel movements. So, I completely understand why hearing you should actually be having up to four bowel movements a day might be alarming.
You have to keep in mind there are many factors that impact your ability to do so. Transit times are different for everyone because it depends on things such as your diet, how often you eat, and how much food you eat. The contents of your bowels impact your bowel movements.
Is My Poop Healthy? The “Evacuation” Process
Bowel movements play an important role in your digestive process. This is because the digestive process is meant to evacuate what you don’t need, while absorbing what you do. The food you eat creates the contents of your bowels that are meant to be moving out of your body.
There’s a lot involved including your bladder and kidneys, your small and large intestine and finally your rectum. When things are working properly, your digestive process should have three to four digestive related muscle contractions of the large intestine triggering digestive bowel movement activity.
Is My Poop Healthy? Consistency
So, what should we see when we have three or four bowel movements a day? Well first, in this case size doesn’t matter. Instead, what we want to focus on is “consistency” which should resemble a ripe banana. Not so hard it hurts to come out, and not so soft it includes liquid.
Is My Poop Healthy? Color
If you find your bowel movements are more caramelly in color, this is a sign your liver is in a toxic state. Darker bowel movements are caused by bile, which is good. However, very tarry colored bowel movements could indicate blood in the stool. If your stools become very black, have your stool tested for blood.
Is My Poop Healthy? Odor
Although poop does have a smell, it shouldn’t be unbearably smelly. If you find you have particularly odorous bowel movements, like rotten eggs or a very fermented smell, that indicates you need better digestive balance in the small intestine. This is where all the bacteria are meant to digest your food properly, which helps reduce odor.
Is My Poop Healthy? Muscle Contractions
As mentioned above, a series of muscle contractions move the bowels. If your body is doing its job well, you actually will experience three to four healthy bowel movements not every week, but every day. But when we aren’t able to poop, or are experiencing issues with the frequency, the consistency, cramping, and other issues, something isn’t working right.
Signs Of Poor Digestive Function
Signs of poor digestive function include:
- Diarrhea IBS
- Too much strain when sitting on the toilet
- Frequent fissures
Causes Of Poor Pooping
Our bowel movement process can suffer from impairment for different reasons including:
- Chemical exposure
- Psychological issues such as stress
- Poor diet
When this happens, we need to recalibrate our brain gut connectivity to get our body moving frequently.
What Is Gut Brain Connectivity?
Your brain impacts your stomach and intestines. It is such a strong tie that it causes reactions such as our stomach releasing juices by just thinking about eating food when we are hungry. However, your intestines also send signals to the brain. There are both physiological ties and psychological ties. For example, this is why some people might suffer from nervous diarrhea when faced with a stressful situation. (1)
Is My Poop Healthy? How To “Time” Your Poop Schedule
If you aren’t sure about your transit time, you can take the beet test. Drink eight to 16 ounces of beet juice and then see how long it takes to see a distinct change of color in your poop. You might see a mixture of colors from older content, but when you see a reddish or pinkish color in your poop this means the beet juice has made it through your system. Count the days from the time you drank the beet juice, and this will tell you your poop transit time.
Transit Time and Diet
What you consume has a lot to do with your transit time. If you are consuming healthy greens, vegetables, fruit, and fiber dense living plants you’re going to notice improvements in your transit time. On the other hand, eating a lot of fried fats and animal-based proteins tends to lead to longer transit times.
You will also see differing transit times for food you consume at one meal, as some proteins take a longer time to move through the small intestine. This is where we break up our food and digest it through enzymatic reaction. However, if you are lacking digestive enzymes, have food allergies or an imbalanced gut flora in the small intestine, this will also impact your transit time. So just keep in mind transit times vary because so many factors impact digestion and how food travels through your system.
Tips For Healthy Bowel Movements
If you find you have a slow transit time, or particularly stinky bowel movements, there are tips to improve your digestive process and bring about healthy bowel movements. This in turn will decrease the odor, minimize strain, and reduce things like fissures and hemorrhoids. Here are four easy constipation hacks:
Well-hydrated healthy bowel activity requires a lot of water in your system. To help hydrate you can drink more water, or natural beverages like coconut water. I drink coconut water with aloe vera which is very good for digestive balancing. You can also drink tea to help hydrate your body. I have some recommendations below. However, you also want to hydrate your bowels to help move the contents out. Magnesium is wonderful for repurposing excess fluid floating through your body and sending that fluid into the digestive system.
2. Liver Cleansing
Bile lubricates the lining of your intestines, and it helps move the content along. As mentioned, if you find your bowel movements are more caramelly in color, this is a sign your liver is in a toxic state. Bile production is important because it eliminates toxins from our body. If you aren’t moving your bowel contents three or four times a day your hemorrhoidal artery picks up that toxicity and reabsorbs it into the liver. If you enhance bile production, you can stop that reabsorption. Three or four cups of dandelion tea helps with bile production. You can also add milk thistle to your dandelion tea.
The average American diet consists of 10 to 11 grams of fiber a day. Unfortunately, we should be consuming 35 to 40 grams of fiber for healthy bowel movements. This can be hard to achieve through diet alone. You can consume inulin fiber in cereals and power bars. However, the easiest way to get inulin is in tea twice a day to move the bowel content. It also is a prebiotic. If you have constipation, are dealing with IBS, have variances of diarrhea, food allergies, etc. inulin fiber will enhance the growth of healthy bacteria levels, and support probiotics.
Consuming a probiotic every day helps invigorate the balance of your small intestine. You need 20 to 35 different strains of probiotics to create a healthy, balanced ecosystem in your small intestine. Although this doesn’t necessarily have a direct impact on the bowel movements and the content that is evacuating, since the majority of your transit time problems comes from your small intestine it makes sense to help stimulate it. If you feel bloated after eating, that indicates your small intestine needs to be balanced.
If you aren’t having a bowel movement even once a day, this is the protocol I recommend to help improve your digestive system. This is the best way to improve balance and support healthy muscle movement to move your bowel content out of your body more efficiently.
If you need additional support in healing your digestive system, I have created a 60min on-demand masterclass that will transform the state of gut.