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Should You Have a Daily Bowel Movement?

Many People Think That They Must Move Their Bowels Every Day


Updated June 02, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Question: Should You Have a Daily Bowel Movement?

Answer: It's a common belief that having a normal digestive system means having a daily bowel movement. However, this is simply just not true for everyone. In fact, "normal" could be anything from having a bowel movement a few times a day to a few times a week. There is no hard and fast rule as to what is a normal because it varies from person to person.

If you do not have a daily bowel movement, it does not mean you are constipated. Having more than one movement a day does not mean that you have diarrhea. Constipation is hard, dry stool that are difficult to pass, and diarrhea is watery stool more than three times a day.

Most healthy adults experience diarrhea or constipation at some point, but a consistent change in your normal bowel habits (such as color, frequency, or consistency) should be discussed with your physician. This is especially important if you are over the age of 50 years.


American Academy of Family Physicians. "Constipation." FamilyDoctor.org August 2012. 27 Sep 2013.

National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. "Facts and Fallacies About Digestive Diseases." National Institutes of Health Publication No. 04–2673 Oct 2003. 27 Sep 2013.


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