84 Burnett St Bundaberg

Are Your Bowel Movements Normal? Here’s How To Tell

bowel movement

Wondering if your stools are normal and healthy? Bowel movements are an important indicator of your gut health and overall health. That’s why it’s important to know what is normal and what could suggest a problem.

Let’s look at what is normal and what is not when it comes to your stools.

What does a healthy bowel movement involve?

Everyone is different, but the general guide of a healthy bowel movement is:

  • Mid-brown colour
  • Well formed, sausage-like shape
  • Smooth and easy to pass
  • Frequent – 2-3 times daily is ideal by naturopathic standards
  • No blood or mucus present

The occasional variation isn’t a big concern. You may eat something that disagrees with you, forget to drink enough water one day, or take a medication that affects your gut.

However, if your bowel movements don’t fit the above pattern regularly, you may be dealing with constipation, diarrhoea and/or a digestive condition such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Signs of constipation

Some of the signs of constipation include:

  • Dry, hard and cracked bowel movements
  • Difficult or painful to pass
  • Dark in colour
  • A feeling of ‘incomplete’ movement
  • Bloating and discomfort
  • Infrequent (less than 3 times per week)
  • Fresh blood on the stool caused by straining

If left untreated, constipation can even lead to weakened digestive muscles and faecal incontinence.

Constipation may be caused by dietary and lifestyle concerns such as stress, low fibre and water intake or lack of exercise. However, it can also be a sign of an underlying health concern.

Signs of diarrhoea/loose bowel movements

Some common signs of diarrhoea include:

  • Loose stools that break up easily
  • Runny or watery consistency
  • Frequent passing (more than 3 per day)
  • Urgency
  • Passing a large volume of stools

You may also experience nausea, abdominal pain, cramping and bloating, depending on the underlying cause.

Acute diarrhoea is usually a reaction to something you’ve consumed or been exposed to such as a virus, bacteria or parasite. Ongoing diarrhoea can be caused by food intolerances, infections, digestive conditions such as IBS, inflammatory bowel disease and Coeliac disease.

Can acupuncture help with my gut health?

The research into acupuncture and gut health is still in the early stages. However, there are some studies that suggest it could help with some digestive concerns.

One of the most extensive research reviews of acupuncture is The Acupuncture Evidence Project. This study looked at 122 conditions and whether there was evidence to support acupuncture as effective for these conditions.

Overall, the researchers found moderate positive evidence for constipation and irritable bowel syndrome. However, more research was needed to draw firm conclusions and identify the mechanisms involved.

One meta-analysis of acupuncture and IBS concluded that acupuncture demonstrated clinically and statistically significant control of IBS symptoms including abdominal pain, distension, incomplete bowel movements, frequency and state of stools. However, there were limitations to the study, and the researchers concluded that further research is needed to support the findings.

Are you concerned about your gut health?

Our naturopath Trish is here to support you. As a qualified health practitioner, Trish can arrange any relevant testing and create a tailored treatment plan to support your gut health.

To book an appointment with Trish at our Bundaberg clinic, call us on (07) 41522372

© 2019 by Burnett House
84 Burnett St
Bundaberg South QLD 4670
ABN: 88 973 250 774
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