Frequent bowel movements

    Frequent bowel movements

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    Definition of frequent bowel movements

    There’s no generally accepted clinical definition for frequent bowel movements. Bowel habits vary widely among healthy people. Some healthy people may have three bowel movements per week, while others may have three per day.

    Frequency or pattern of your bowel movements may change over time. But if nothing else about your bowel movements is different — no loose, watery stools, abdominal cramping or bloody stool — the change is probably not a sign of any illness.

    Causes of frequent bowel movements

    If you’re having more bowel movements than usual, chances are you’ve made some change in your lifestyle. You may, for example, be:

    • Eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains, which increases fiber intake
    • Getting regular exercise or increasing your exercise
    • Drinking more water

    Diseases and other conditions that may make you have more frequent bowel movements include:

    1. Celiac disease
    2. Crohn’s disease
    3. Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)
    4. Irritable bowel syndrome
    5. Medication side effect
    6. Ulcerative colitis

    When to see a doctor

    If you’ve made lifestyle changes that can contribute to having more frequent bowel movements, and you have no other signs or symptoms, you’re probably in good health. Make an appointment with your doctor, however, if you’re experiencing:

    • Changes in the consistency, volume or appearance of your bowel movements, such as repeatedly passing narrow, ribbon-like stools or loose, watery stools
    • Abdominal pain
    • Blood, mucus or pus in your feces