Pooping habits vary from one person to the next. There isn’t an exact normal number of times a person should use the bathroom per day. While some people may go a few days without a regular bowel movement, others poop once or twice a day on average.
There are a number of reasons why your bowel movements may decrease or increase, including your dietary habits and physical activity. An increase in daily bowel movements is not necessarily a cause for alarm unless they are accompanied by other uncomfortable symptoms.
Regular bowel movements are a positive sign that your digestive system is functioning properly. If you’ve recently changed your eating habits and eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, you may have seen an increase in your bowel movements. This is because these foods contain certain types of dietary fiber. Fiber is a necessary element in your diet because it:
Higher water intake can also contribute to excessive pooping because water gets absorbed by fiber and helps flush waste from your body.
Regular exercise or an increase in physical activity can regulate bowel movements. Exercise improves your digestive processes and increases muscle contractions in your colon that help to move your stools more regularly.
If you are constipated, exercising can help to alleviate symptoms and make you poop more regularly.
3. Too much coffee
If you’re an avid coffee drinker, you may notice that you have to use the bathroom immediately after your first cup. That’s because caffeine stimulates the large intestine’s muscle activity. Caffeine causes a laxative effect and helps to move stools through the colon.
Stress and anxiety can alter your bowel schedule and regularity. When you’re under a significant amount of stress, your body’s function becomes unbalanced and can change your digestive process and speeds. This can cause an increase in bowel movements with diarrhea. However, in some, stress and anxiety can cause slowed bowel movements with constipation.
A woman’s period can trigger more bowel movements. Scientists believe lower ovarian hormone (estrogen and progesterone) levels around menses may be related to the uterine prostaglandins that trigger your uterus to cramp, which could be related to symptoms in the large intestine. When your large bowel cramps, you are prone to have more bowel movements.
If you’ve recently begun taking new medication or antibiotic therapy, your bowel regularity could change. Antibiotics can upset the normal balance of the bacteria that live in your digestive tract. Other medications may stimulate gastrointestinal movement. As a result, you may notice you poop a lot more or that you have diarrhea symptoms.
Antibiotics or certain medications could alter your bowel regularity for the duration of time you are taking them. Typically, the loose stools associated with antibiotic use resolve within a few days after finishing the treatment. Visit your doctor immediately if your pooping schedule does not return to normal or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms including:
7. Celiac disease
Food allergies or intolerances such as Celiac disease can make you poop more. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that causes your body to negatively respond to gluten. Gluten is found predominantly in wheat, rye, and barley products.
If you have a gluten intolerance due to Celiac disease, you will have an autoimmune response when you ingest gluten-containing foods. This can cause damage to the small intestinal lining over time, leading to malabsorption of nutrients.
Other than excessive pooping, Celiac disease can cause or occur alongside other uncomfortable symptoms including:
8. Crohn’s disease
Crohn’s disease is a form of inflammatory bowel disease. It’s an autoimmune disease that can cause inflammation and discomfort within your digestive tract, running anywhere from inside your mouth to the end of the large intestine. This inflammation can cause a number of symptoms including:
- excessive pooping
- severe diarrhea
- bloody stools
- mouth sores
- abdominal pain
- loss of appetite
- weight loss
- anal fistula
9. Irritable bowel syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome is a gastrointestinal disorder that affects the frequency of your bowel movements. There are a number of risk factors for developing IBS, including how well you move your food through your gastrointestinal tract.
IBS also causes other symptoms like:
- abdominal pain
- loose stools with diarrhea or hard stools with constipation
- sudden urges to have a bowel movement
Treatment for increased bowel movements depends on the cause. In some cases, pooping a lot is healthy. Unless you’re experiencing additional symptoms such as severe abdominal pain, fever, or bloody stools, you have no cause for concern.
If you’re experiencing diarrhea symptoms, your doctor may recommend taking an antidiarrheal medication. If these symptoms persist, you may have a more serious problem, like an infection, and should visit your doctor immediately.
In many cases, pooping a lot can be prevented.
Maintaining a healthy diet high in fiber and water and low in processed foods and sugars can maintain bowel regularity. If you notice that you poop after drinking coffee or other sources of caffeine, you should limit the number of cups you drink each day. If you have a food allergy or intolerance, be mindful of your diet. Keep a food journal to help track your diet and your reactions to new foods.