Bowel Movement Definition

Bowel Movement is the passage of solid digestive waste (called feces or stool) from the body through the anus. The frequency, appearance, and nature of bowel movements are highly variable. Food typically travels through the gastrointestinal system in 18 to 36 hours, so most people have bowel movements daily or every other day.

However, “normal” is an individual pattern that correlates to dietary habits, physical activity level, and lifestyle and can range from three bowel movements a day to one bowel movement every three days. What can become significant from a health standpoint are deviations from an individual’s pattern of bowel movements.

Short-term changes in bowel patterns may result from eating different foods, viral infection (gastroenteritis or enteritis), inadequate fluid consumption, and medications. A shift in bowel patterns not due to intentional actions such as dietary or exercise change may indicate health conditions that require medical evaluation.


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