Bowel Movement

Bowel movement are an understated but very important part of life. Many of the organs in the body are involved producing what comes out during the bowel movement, and the stool can be an indicator of health or a possible digestive problem.

If is difficult to generalize what a normal bowel movement really is. For different people, different frequencies, textures, and other factors may be normal. In general, there are some very rough considerations for what is considered normal poop. Normal bowel movement are ones that occur about once or twice a day or perhaps 5 to 15 times during the week. The poop that comes out is usually long. It is usually brown feces, and the texture is not too hard and not too soft. Other types of bowel movement are suggestive or a problem.


One relatively common type of bowel movement is constipation. Nearly everyone experiences constipation in their lives. For most people it isn't a normal condition. If you experience constipation and this isn't normal for you, consider whether you are dehydrated. The cause can also be in your diet. If your diet has changed to consume less liquids, or more foods that are known to cause dehydration, that could be the cause of the difference in stool. Use of caffeine or alcohol can cause dehydration.

Constipation is a common digestive problem where the poop is hard, dry and lumpy. Constipated bowel movement are difficult and sometimes painful to pass. Chronic constipation and straining can lead to hemorrhoids. Constipated bowel movement can be caused by dehydration and low dietary fiber.


Diarrhea is loose, watery stool, often occurring more than 3 times per day. Diarrhea is normal and goes away on its own if it occurs for only a few days. If it persists for a long time, or is accompanied by blood (hematochezia) or lasts for longer than a week, it may need medical intervention.

Diarrhea can also be caused by consuming foods that have sugar substitutes. Some sugar-free foods are loaded with certain sugar substitutes that are known to cause loose stools. If you are experiencing diarrhea, and it isn't from anything concrete like a food poisoning, consider whether your diet has too many sugar substitutes. These sugar substitutes may be found in sugar-free candy, or other sweets that have reduced sugar or calories.

Different Colors of Stool

Most of the time, stool is brown. So when people see any other color of their feces, that can be scary. There are actually a number of different colors that your poop can have. Some of the possible colors of stool are:

Many of these are harmless and go away on their own, so do not worry about it. In cases of red and black feces after bowel movements, in case the condition persists, you should see a healthcare professional who will help you come up with the right diagnosis and treatment.

Bloody Stool (Hematochezia)

First of all, if stool appears red, it isn't necessarily blood. If you are absolutely sure it is blood, it can be caused by bleeding anywhere along the digestive tract that can be caused from anything like colon cancer or a simple burst blood vessels (Angiodysplasia).

Do make sure that it is really blood. Red-looking feces are common. They can be caused by red foods or drinks. The red can also be caused by the lighting in the restroom.

Melena (Black Bowel Movement)

Black, tarry and sometimes foul-smelling stools, are possibly a result of bleeding higher up in the digestive tract and have time to turn black before they are excreted during a bowel movement.

Pale and Gray Bowel Movement

Pale or clay colored stools are caused by lack of bile salt (which gives stool a brownish color), antacids, barium from recent barium enema test, or hepatitis.

Effect of Cigaretts, Alcohol, and Drugs on Digestion

Alcohol goes directly into the bloodstream, meaning that it will affect just about every system and organ in the body. Over the course of a lifetime, alcohol over-use causes the liver to weaken which creates a president for numerous digestion problems. Alcohol also contributes to weight gain which increases chance of high blood pressure, and high blood pressure is associated with many serious health problems, including numerous digestion issues, and a number of cancers of organs within the digestive tract, especially in organs like the esophagus, mouth, larynx, and pharynx. Other organs at risk are the colon, stomach, pancreas and the liver. Some of the other digestive problems that can be caused by excessive alcohol abuse are alcohol poisoning, hepatitis, and liver cirrhosis.

Drugs can also have an adverse effect on digestion. There are of course, many different drugs ranging from caffeine, nicotine, various prescription and over the counter drugs. They all have potentiall harmful side effects if taken in large enough doses.

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