Here's What It Really Means To Have "Regular" Poops

Photographed by Julia Robbs.
We all know we're supposed to "be regular," but it's not exactly clear what that means. Luckily, it turns out that having normal poops is a lot easier than you'd think — in fact, you're probably already doing it.
"The truth is that there's no such thing as regular — there is only what is regular for an individual person," says Felice Schnoll-Sussman, MD, a gastroenterologist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and Weill Cornell Medicine.
That means that some of us might go once a day, every day, at exactly the same time while others have bowel movements three time a day. Either of those scenarios (and everything in between) may be totally normal for an individual. "If you're comfortable and feel that your pattern is adequate for you, there is nothing to be concerned about," Dr. Schnoll-Sussman says.
The only reason to take note would be when your pattern suddenly changes. For instance, if you're usually a once-every-three-days kinda person but you're now going every day, that would be worth talking to your doctor about. Similarly, if you're used to pooping first thing in the morning but you haven't been able to go in a week and you're getting uncomfortable, give your doc a call. You may need to switch up your diet or exercise routine, or simply check in with your menstrual cycle.
But if your change in pooping is accompanied by blood in your stool, a shift in weight, or abdominal pain, you should definitely get medical attention, Dr. Schnoll-Sussman says. Those can be signs of serious issues, such as colon cancer or internal bleeding.
However, if you're simply wondering if your personal pattern is considered "normal," you can rest easy knowing that it's almost certainly fine. Like you, your poops are perfect just the way they are.

More from Body

R29 Original Series