‘Is my poop pattern normal?’ 2 intestinal experts weigh in

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Nothing can interrupt a work day like a case of bubble guts or rabbit balls. So when your practice of pooping starts to feel irregular, one way or another, it might be time to figure out what constitutes a normal poop pattern for you.

We all know that everyone poops, but beyond the biological necessity, there are many things shrouded in mystery. For example, how often it’s normal to poop, what it should look like, and whether an underlying condition like IBS might be present. With all these questions in mind, you may be wondering, It is me normal poop pattern? Well, Ella Dove, host of The Good + Good Podcast, it certainly is. In this week’s episode, she chats with gastroenterologist Will Bulsiewicz, MD, and registered dietitian Brigitte Zeitlin, CDN, to make 411 number two.

Listen to the full episode here:

A great takeout? What has become a normal poop pattern for you could deviate from what many doctors and dieticians want to see in their patients. For example, if you think you’re not pooping enough, you might want to think again; Dr. Bulsiewicz says that pooping several times a day isn’t necessarily a sign of good bowel function. In fact, you find yourself pooping quite a bit, he says, counterintuitively, you could be constipated and just not evacuating your system properly until it’s complete.

Dr. Will Bulsiewicz and Brigitte Zeitlin.

“There are some people who can poop five times a day, and each one of those bowel movements is a little chicken nugget,” says Dr. Bulsiewicz. “And when you combine those five bowel movements into one, yet disregard a complete intestine. They are still backed up.”

“The window into your gut health, the clearest window, is your bowel movement.” —gastroenterologist Will Bulsiewicz, MD, gastroenterologist

Zeitlin adds that, on the other hand, having one good poop a day can be perfectly healthy. Instead of looking at frequency in isolation when considering whether your poop pattern is normal, he suggests looking at your weekly routine.

“I have clients who come to me who sometimes poop every other day, sometimes just twice a week,” says Zeitlin. “One of the first questions I ask when we start working together is: What is your current bowel movement routine?”

What do you mean by “routine”? Well, in addition to keeping an eye on the frequency of your bowel movements, you should also monitor the consistency of your bowel movements. Do you usually have several “good” poops in a row? Do you have to push yourself most of the time? If so, are you struggling with constipation often, or just after a day of irregular eating? Tracking these bowel movement patterns, adds Dr. Bulsiewicz, is the first step in managing (and understanding) your own gut health.

“Gut health is connected to our digestion, our immune system, our metabolism, our hormones, our moods, our brain health, our energy levels,” says Dr. Bulsiewicz. “These are all very important and powerful things in our lives. The window to your gut health, the clearest window, is your bowel movement.”

To learn more about getting your gut health on track, what healthy stools really look like, and how to combat poop problems before they start, listen to the full episode of the podcast here.

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