Bowel Movements

Bowel movements (or bowel movements) happen when waste material, such as stool and faecal matter, is passed from your intestines to your rectum and then out of your body through the anal opening. Bowel movements occur as a result of contractions of the muscles that line the wall of the abdomen. These abdominal muscles cause peristalsis - involuntary rhythmic waves of muscle contraction that propel food along the digestive tract. The process by which food travels through these waves or peristalses is called intestinal motility. Bowel movements are a regular aspect of this motility. The frequency of bowel movements is affected by factors such as genetics, diet, and other health concerns. In general, people with oily stools may experience more frequent bowel movements than those with dry seats. Eating a diet high in fibre can cause increased frequency and quantity of bowel movements because it stimulates the growth of bacteria which break down fibre into gas, which aids in action through the intestines. A diet high in protein restricts the number of water people can absorb from their food and promotes dryer stools even if they eat a high fibre diet. Pregnant women generally have softer stools than non-pregnant women or men. This is due to the pressure of the growing fetus on the intestines, which leads to the faster transit time (the amount of time it takes for food to pass through the digestive tract) and softer stools. Bowel movements will occur daily when all is well, but it may be hard to predict when they will happen. By no means are regular bowel movements a sign that your digestive system is working correctly. It merely indicates that you are not constipated. The frequency of bowel movements in adults varies widely from person to person. Most people have between three and five bowel movements per week, although some people may have more than this, especially if they eat a diet high in fibre. If you do not have any bowel movements for three to four days, seek the advice of your physician or health care provider. Constipation can occur when the bowels move less than three times a week and require enemas or laxatives to get them moving again. Constipation can be caused by intestinal blockage, illness, loss of appetite, stress, pregnancy, ageing and many other factors. Eating foods high in fibre will help to soften the stools. If constipation is a common problem for you or affecting your daily life or health in any way, talk with your physician about it. Several medicines can help restore normal bowel function. Undergoing tests to see what's causing constipation may also be necessary. The most common test is called an x-ray defecography (or upper GI study). The x-ray test will show a blockage in the intestines, but it does not tell you which part of the intestine is causing the blockage. To find out, an endoscopy or colonoscopy may be needed. A small tube is inserted into your digestive tract (or rectum) to search for the problem in these tests. An x-ray or CT scan may be needed to directly examine the tissue of people who are very overweight. First, when bowel movements do not occur as often as desired, try eating foods high in fibre and drinking more water. If this fails to induce bowel movements after 24 hours, try drinking two 8-ounce glasses of water with a pinch of salt dissolved in each glass (salt enemas). Wait at least 30 minutes and if no bowel movement occurs, drink 1-2 cups of mineral oil or 1 cup of milk. Usually, within 12 hours, you should have a bowel movement. The use of suppositories or enemas is not recommended for routine use, and it is best to seek advice and treatment from your primary care provider. Bowel movements that happen too frequently could be due to anything that increases your intestinal contractions or puts pressure on your intestines. The most common cause of diarrhoea is a bacterial infection. If you have diarrhoea, you should call your physician right away if not due to food poisoning or a minor injury or illness. In some cases, this may require an antibiotic to treat the infection. There are also non-drug remedies that can relieve the symptoms of diarrhoea. If you have been vomiting for more than 24 hours, and there is no fever and no blood in your vomit, seek medical attention. Repeated vomiting with foul-smelling stomach contents may signify a more severe problem such as dehydration or an intestinal blockage. Type 1 diabetes is one example. A man whose wife just gave birth will be another example. This can cause diarrhoea because the food cannot absorb the water it needs because of the increased pressure in the intestine. The result is frequent loose stools or diarrhoea. Diarrhoea doesn't mean internal bleeding because blood would also come out of your rectum with any bowel movement. But before you call for an ambulance, go to your doctor for professional advice.