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Can you have too many bowel movements?

By December 26, 2008 - 1:18pm
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My kids are poopers! They go a lot!

One of my kids is preschool age and is quite tall and skinny but healthy and active and eats a healthy diet with fruit and veggies every day. But she poops as much as she eats, in term of volume. Consistency/color is normal. Sorry for the "too much information"!

Is that normal? She also goes at least twice a day, sometimes three or four times.

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Celtic, it sounds like you've got a healthy girl with lots of good fiber in her diet. Unless this is a recent change for her, or if she's had a recent change in diet or medicine, there's most likely nothing to be alarmed about.

Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist Michael Picco, M.D., says the following:

"There is no "normal" frequency for bowel movements. Depending on the individual, "normal" may range from three times a week to three times a day. An increase in the frequency of bowel movements without diarrhea can have many possible causes, and by itself isn't necessarily a health concern."

The doctor goes on to say that eating lots of fruit and veggies is a common cause of frequent bowel movements. Less common can be such things as colon polyps, cancer, hyperthyroidism or a medicine's side effects.

Here's the doctor's full answer:


If there are any other symptoms -- if she loses weight suddenly, has blood in her stool, experiences abdominal pain or has a constantly upset stomach, you'll want to check with your doctor. He or she would want to rule out some things, including irritable bowel syndrome, which causes the bowels to be over-sensitive and can give a person the feeling that they always have to go.

Here's an information page from the National Institutes of Health about irritable bowel syndrome (IBS):


And another page on it from the Mayo Clinic:


December 26, 2008 - 5:41pm
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