People often want to know what is considered “normal” or “ideal,” when it comes to bowel movements. Although it’s probably ideal to have a bowel movement every day, it’s generally considered acceptable to have them every 2-3 days, provided they aren’t hard, painful, or difficult to pass.
Some people have a bowel movement two to three times a day, others every three days. If you go for more than three days without one, however, your stool may harden, making it more difficult to eliminate.
“Many elders subscribe to the myth that one should defecate at least once every day, but there is no such magic number or prescribed schedule that people should aim for.” English says that “normality” falls within a range of no more than three movements a day and no less than three movements each week.
Seniors are more likely to have chronic constipation because of: Side effects from medications like opiates for pain (Percocet, Oxycontin, Norco), antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and antihistamines. Medical conditions like strictures, tumors, Parkinson’s disease, or low thyroid.
Travel, hormonal shifts, medications and multivitamins, and your activity level also affect your bowel habits. The appearance and experience of your bowel movements can vary from day to day and also change as you age.
Causes include consuming a diet that is too low in fibre and fluid, insufficient physical activity, medication side effect (e.g., opiates, tricyclic anti-depressants, calcium channel blockers), certain supplements (calcium and iron), irritable bowel syndrome, intestinal obstructions or strictures from surgery, diabetes
As you get closer to the end of your life, you should still expect to have some bowel movements, even if you aren’t eating much. Constipation can be an uncomfortable side effect of many medications. The most common are those to treat pain, nausea, and depression, but other medications can also cause it.
Tips to have a more comfortable bowel movement
Fecal impaction should be treated with mineral oil or warm water enemas. Most patients are initially treated with lifestyle modifications, such as scheduled toileting after meals, increased fluid intake, and increased dietary fiber intake.
The normal length of time between bowel movements ranges widely from person to person. Some people have bowel movements several times a day, others only once or twice a week. Going longer than three days without having a bowel movement is too long. After three days, the stool becomes harder and more difficult to pass.
Although it’s probably ideal to have a bowel movement every day, it’s generally considered acceptable to have them every 2-3 days, provided they aren’t hard, painful, or difficult to pass.
If your constipation is accompanied by the following symptoms, seek immediate medical help: intense and/or constant abdominal pain. vomiting. bloating.
People who are finding it difficult to poop can usually treat the issue at home by trying a few natural remedies:
There is no generally accepted number of times a person should poop. As a broad rule, pooping anywhere from three times a day to three times a week is normal. Most people have a regular bowel pattern: They’ll poop about the same number of times a day and at a similar time of day.
There is no “normal” number of bowel movements. Many healthcare providers agree that healthy bowel movement frequency can range from three times a day to three times a week.
About 30 percent of the solid matter consists of dead bacteria; about 30 percent consists of indigestible food matter such as cellulose; 10 to 20 percent is cholesterol and other fats; 10 to 20 percent is inorganic substances such as calcium phosphate and iron phosphate; and 2 to 3 percent is protein.