However, there is more to good bowel function than just being regular.
For example, you should be able to:
- Wait for a short time after you feel the first urge to go to the toilet
- Pass a stool within about a minute of sitting down on the toilet
- You should not be straining on the toilet or struggling to pass a stool that is hard, dry or lumpy
- Pass a stool easily and without pain
- Completely empty your bowel when you pass a stool – that you do not have to return to the toilet soon after to pass more.
Most healthy adults will experience diarrhoea or constipation at some point, but a consistent change in bowel habits should always be discussed with a healthcare professional.
1 Bowel Dysfunction A Comprehensive Guide for Healthcare Professionals, Chapter 6 and 7 by Brigitte Collins and Elissa Bradshaw, Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016
2 Heaton, K W & Lewis, S J 1997, ‘Stool form scale as a useful guide to intestinal transit time’. Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology, vol.32, no.9, pp.920 – 924. Retrieved on 2/3/2007.
3 NICE Guidance. https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg49/resources/faecal-incontinence-in-adults-management-pdf-975455422405
4 Based on the Rome IV criteria for constipation