When we were kids, our parents told us we were special—our own unique snowflake. As we grow up, we learn this isn’t really true, except in one important way: pooping.
Like the popular children’s book says, “Everybody poops,” but we all do it on our own schedule. There’s no “normal” amount of poops you should take every week.
The average person goes number two about once a day, but the normal range can be anywhere from three times a day to three times a week. According to a survey by Healthline, about 50% of people have bowel movements once a day. At the ends of the stool spectrum 28% reported going twice a day, while 5.6% said they went once or twice weekly.
How much should you be pooping?
If you have optimal digestive health, you'll rip about 1 ounce of poop for every 12 pounds of body weight, so if you weigh 160 pounds, you are dropping about a pound of dookie a day.
So if everyone has different bowel habits, how do you know if you are “regular” or not?
As one of the original philosopher DUDES, Socrates, said, “Know thyself.”
At this point in your life, you should know your poop pattern. Most people go the same number of times a day at a similar time of the day.
For most people that’s means a morning poop. Maybe you like to go before you shower in the morning or after your morning coffee.
Other people like to stick it to the man and save it for when they get to work, so they’re going on the company dime. But don't stare at your phone to burn time, there can be some unpleasant consequences.
If you usually go once a day and notice you’ve been backed up for a couple days, you might want to hit Jamie Lee Curtis up for some Activia. Trust us, you don't want to hold in your poops under any circumstance. And if your butt has turned into a shitty firehose, I think we both know that means the diarrhea monster has struck.
Getting backed up for a day or two isn’t a big deal, it happens to everyone. And we all make diarrhea-inducing mistakes, like eating at that sketchy Indian buffet because you were craving tikka masala.
There are lot of variables that can affect your pooping pattern. Obviously your diet plays a big role (you’re probably not eating enough fiber). But things like not drinking enough water, changing your exercise or sleep patterns, and skipping your morning coffee can all contribute to an irregular poop schedule. To learn more about what you poop says about your health click here.
Real issues only arise when there is a big-time change in your normal pattern. According to gastroenterologist Dr. Lisa Ganjhu, "If things change for just a day or two, that can happen. But if there's acute constipation or blood, it’s a good idea to get checked out. Think about any changes in stress, diet, water, or if you’ve taken any supplements or probiotics."
If you're plugged up, you might want to consider some over-the-counter laxatives. Upping your fluid intake can clean out your pipes, too. Oh, and be sure to maintain a high-fiber diet.
Other serious health conditions that can disrupt pooping patterns include inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, or hemorrhoids.
So remember, whatever your poop pattern, it is yours alone. When this cruel world tells you that you’re no better than anyone else, never forget that there is something special about you, something no one else has: the ability to poop like you do.