Dr. Brand describes what physicians consider normal bowel habits.
Normal bowel habits relate to both the frequency and the consistency of the stool, as well as the effort to pass the stool. Normal frequency ranges anywhere from three times a day to once every three days. A change from one end of that extreme to the other is an abnormality for an individual, but if you are always at one point, that’s a normal pattern.
The consistency should be soft and formed, and I liken that to a ripe banana so that it’s easy to understand a soft and formed consistency. Harder than that would be, often considered constipation, and looser than that might be considered diarrhea. Although the true definitions for diarrhea and constipation relate more to the frequency, so diarrhea would be more than three times a day and constipation would be less than once every three days.
Then finally, the effort that it takes to pass the stool is an important consideration in a normal habit. It should be able to pass easily without any effort at straining.
About Dr. Marc I. Brand, M.D.:
Dr. Marc I. Brand, M.D., received his Bachelor’s Degree in biomedical engineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1986 and graduated from Rush Medical College in 1990. Dr. Brand completed eight years of surgical training at the Cleveland Clinic, including a five-year residency in general surgery, a two-year fellowship in surgical research and a one-year fellowship in colorectal surgery.
Visit Dr. Brand at University Surgeons