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How Often Should You Poop?

Your "friend" probably hates answers like this, but there's no such thing as "normal" when it comes to the number of, well, number twos you have in an average day, says Jean Ashburn, M.D., a colorectal surgeon at Cleveland Clinic. "What's normal is what works for you," she says.

What matters more? How you feel when it happens—whether that's twice a day or once every two days. "If you have a pleasant experience—for a lack of a better way to say it—in the bathroom, then I think you're normal," Ashburn says. You don't want to enjoy the toilet time too much, though. Israeli researchers found roughly half of adults read while sitting on the toilet, and that group was slightly more likely to develop hemorrhoids.

There are plenty of things that could contribute to a change in your pooping schedule and how easy each bowel movement feels. The most likely culprit, though, is your food and water intake. Try keeping a diet diary to log what you eat and drink, when, and how your bowel habits are affected that day, Ashburn suggests. If you feel like you're backed up, you're probably not drinking enough fluids, finds a study published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology. Food plays a role, too. "There are certain foods that tend to stuff us up or constipate us like cheese and peanut butter and other low-fiber foods," Ashburn says. "Commonly, just a little adjustment in diet can allow people to have a bowel movement a lot easier."

If what's normal for you starts to change and doesn't let up or your trips to the bathroom become painful, see a doctor to get checked out. But don't get hung up on changes that come up during that time of the month. Increased levels of prostaglandins during your period could affect your bowel habits, finds a Gastroenterology Report. "Some women report having more diarrhea or constipation around the time of her period—that's normal," Ashburn says.

Next up, find out why running makes you poop.

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