What's the bottom line with how often we should be pooing?
Take a seat – the latest findings of the Zoe The Big IF Study are all about how often nature should call.
Zoe’s lead scientist Dr Tim Spector shared the bottom (sorry) line on the nation’s bowel habits in a video update – and how often we’re all going to the loo might leave you surprised.
According to the expert, 55% of us poop once a day, 32.4% twice each day and almost 10% of us poop three times a day, every single day.
The good news? All of these are totally normally frequencies at which to pass poo – in fact anything between between three times a day and three times a week is considered healthy. We’re all different, after all.
However, as Dr Spector shared, some participants reported going for a poo five times a day, while some said they only go once a week.
But why can our pooing routines vary so greatly? The findings from the study show that it could all be down to your gut transit time.
Your gut transit time is the time it takes for food to travel through your digestive system – and according to the study, the shorter your transit time, the healthier your gut is.
According to Dr Spector, the average gut transit time in the UK is 28 hours – to find this out, participants were asked to eat something blue and then time how long it took for it then to show up in their poo.
The Big IF Study found that the longer a person’s gut transit time, the less often they pooped and the more likely they were to have constipation.
However, speed isn’t always a good thing – those who had the fastest transit times tended to have less healthy gut microbiomes, normally because they were in fact experiencing diarrhoea.
What else affects how often you poo?
According to the Zoe team, your diet, hydration, levels of exercise and stress can all impact your pooping routine.
Generally the more fruits, vegetables and whole grains you eat, the more often you’ll poo.
How much water you drink also has a huge influence - your poo reabsorbs water as it passes through your gut, so the more water you drink the more frequently you’ll poo.
When should I be concerned?
As we all experience slightly different poo routines, it’s important to establish what’s ‘normal’ for you.
If your poo frequency suddenly changes without an obvious explanation (and continues being odd for more than a couple of days) it’s time to get in touch with your doctor. The same goes for the appearance of your poo - if something doesn’t seem right, it’s always best to get it checked out.
Always, always, always contact a doctor if you see blood in your stool or on tissue when you wipe.