Pooping more than usual can be caused by many factors. It’s not usually a cause for concern unless you have other symptoms.

Pooping habits vary from one person to the next. There isn’t a set number of times a person “should” use the bathroom daily.

While some people may go a few days without a regular bowel movement, others may poop on average once or twice a day.

Several reasons can cause your bowel movements to decrease or increase, including your dietary habits and physical activity. While health conditions can cause an increase in daily bowel movements, pooping more often is not necessarily a cause for alarm unless you also have other symptoms.

The following factors may cause an increase in your bowel movements.

1. Diet

Regular bowel movements are a sign that your digestive system is functioning correctly. Certain foods and drinks can stimulate your digestive system and help you poop. These can include high fiber foods, drinking a lot of water, and drinking many coffee or caffeinated beverages.

High fiber foods

If you’ve recently started eating more fiber-rich foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, you may have increased bowel movements. Dietary fiber supports your health by:

High water consumption

Higher water intake can also contribute to excessive pooping because fiber absorbs water and helps flush waste from your body.

High coffee intake

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 and other compounds found in coffee can cause a laxative effect and help move stools through the colon, according to a 2020 review of research.

2. Exercise

According to experts, regular exercise or increasing your physical activity levels can also make you have 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 relieve symptoms and make you poop more regularly.

3. Stress

Stress and anxiety can alter your bowel schedule and regularity.

When you’re under significant stress, a chemical messenger known as a neurotransmitter travels from your brain to your gut. Your gut may respond by altering your digestion.

In some people, this can cause an increase in bowel movements and diarrhea. However, in others, stress and anxiety can cause slowed bowel movements and constipation.

4. Menstruation and pregnancy

If you menstruate, your period can trigger an increase in bowel movements.

Researchers in 2018 suggest that lower levels of estrogen and progesterone around your period may affect processes that can trigger your uterus to cramp, which could be related to symptoms in the large intestine. You may be more likely to have increased bowel movements.

Pregnancy and giving birth can change how often you poop too. While many people experience constipation after giving birth, some poop more. When this happens, it’s called postpartum diarrhea.

The same goes for pregnancy. Constipation is more common during the first trimester than diarrhea, but some folks might find they poop more while pregnant.

5. Medication

If you’ve recently started taking a new medication, such as an antibiotic, it may affect your bowel regularity. Antibiotics can upset the balance of 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 have diarrhea.

Medications could alter your bowel regularity while you are taking them. Typically, the loose stools associated with antibiotics resolve within a few days of finishing the treatment.

You may want to consider talking with a doctor if your pooping schedule stays irregular or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms like:

6. Lactose intolerance

If you are lactose intolerant, eating certain dairy products can cause an increase in bowel movements, as well as other symptoms like gas and bloating.

Dairy products with high lactose can include:

  • milk
  • cheese, especially soft, fresh cheeses
  • ice cream and custard

If you find yourself pooping more and having stomach problems after consuming dairy products, lactose intolerance may be to blame.

7. Celiac disease

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that causes your body to respond to gluten negatively. Gluten is found predominantly in wheat, rye, and barley products.

If you consume something containing gluten and have celiac disease, it can make you poop more or experience severe digestive symptoms and inflammation.

Other than excessive pooping and diarrhea, celiac disease can cause or occur alongside other uncomfortable symptoms, including:

Over time, this can cause damage to the intestinal lining of the small intestine, leading to malabsorption of nutrients and weight loss.

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 symptoms that include:

9. Irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a gastrointestinal disorder that affects the frequency of your bowel movements. There are several risk factors for developing IBS, including how well your body moves food through your gastrointestinal tract.

IBS can cause symptoms like:

10. An illness or infection

If you have an infection that affects your digestive tract — such as viral gastroenteritis or a bacterial infection like salmonella or listeria — it can change your bowel habits, often leading to diarrhea.

You may also have other symptoms with illness. These may include:

Treatment for increased bowel movements can depend on the cause. In some cases, pooping a lot is healthy. This may be the case if you don’t have any other symptoms.

Concerning symptoms can include:

If you’re experiencing diarrhea, a doctor may first recommend home remedies for diarrhea.

If your symptoms persist, a doctor may recommend additional treatments, including medications, depending on the cause. They may also run tests if they believe an autoimmune condition is the cause.

In many cases, pooping a lot can be prevented.

Maintaining a nutritious 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 may decide to limit the number of cups you consume each day. If you have a food allergy or intolerance, avoiding these foods can reduce symptoms. A food journal can help you track your diet and reactions to certain foods.

The following includes frequently asked questions about an increase in bowel movements.

Is it normal to poop more than 4 times a day?

There is no “normal” amount except what is typical for you. However, some suggest that pooping more than 2 times daily is a sign of diarrhea.

If you consistently poop more than twice a day — especially if you have other symptoms you believe are related — you may want to discuss your bowel frequency with a doctor.

Is pooping a lot healthy?

Pooping between 3 times a week and 2 times a day is pretty typical for an adult. Being on the higher end of that range, such as pooping once or twice a day, may occur if you eat a high fiber diet and exercise regularly.

If your bowel habits suddenly change and you’re pooping more than twice a day and have other symptoms, there may be an underlying cause.

Do you poop more when losing weight?

When trying to maintain a moderate weight, many people switch to a high fiber diet full of whole grains, fruits, and veggies. Because fiber makes your bowel movements more regular, you may find yourself pooping more.

Why do I poop immediately after eating?

A bowel movement is a common immediate reaction to food entering the body. This reflex is expected from time to time. But if you are always pooping right after a meal, it could indicate an underlying health condition.

If you find yourself pooping more often than your usual, there may be a variety of potential causes.

Some, like drinking more coffee or switching to a high fiber diet, may not be a cause for concern. However, if bowel movements increase and become looser or watery, it could indicate an underlying condition, such as celiac disease.

A change in bowel frequency on its own is not a cause for concern. If you are having other symptoms along with pooping more, you may want to talk with a doctor to see if they believe anything else may be the cause.