Have you ever thought about what happens to the food you eat after it enters your body? We all know that it goes through our digestive system, but have you ever wondered about the process of elimination? That's right, we're talking about bowel movements, and while it may not be the most exciting topic, it's an important aspect of our health. In this article, we will explore how bowel movements work and what is considered normal.
The digestive system is a complex network of organs that work together to break down food into its individual components. Once the food is broken down, the nutrients are absorbed by the body, and the waste is eliminated through the rectum and anus. Bowel movements are the body's way of getting rid of this waste, which is made up of undigested food, bacteria, and dead cells.
How Do Our Bowel Movements Work?
The muscles in the rectum and anus work together to push the waste out of the body. The rectum is the final part of the large intestine, and it serves as a storage place for faeces. When the rectum is full, it sends a signal to the brain to let us know that it's time to go to the bathroom.
When we sit on the toilet, the muscles in the anus relax, and the waste is pushed out of the body. The process is aided by the abdominal muscles, which contract to create pressure in the abdomen, and the diaphragm (a muscle that separates chest from lower part of the body), which helps to move the waste out of the body. The whole process is controlled by the nervous system, which coordinates the movements of the muscles.
Consequences Of Irregular Bowel Movements
If you are experiencing irregular bowel movements, it is likely that you are also experiencing constipation. This can cause bloating, discomfort, and pain in the stomach and lower abdomen.
In some cases, irregular bowel movements can cause diarrhoea. This can lead to dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and nutrient deficiencies if it is not managed properly.
Also read: 5 Early Warning Signs Of Bowel Cancer
According to Dr KN Srivastava, Director & Head of Department, General And Minimal Access Surgery, BLK Super Speciality Hospital, Delhi, Haemorrhoids are swollen veins in the rectum or anus that can be caused by straining during bowel movements. Irregular bowel movements can contribute to haemorrhoids.
What Is A Normal Bowel Movement?
So, what is considered a normal bowel movement? As per an article published in Medical University of South Carolina, normal frequency of bowel movement ranges from three times per day (typically after each meal) to once every other day.
The consistency and colour of the stool can vary from person to person, but in general, it should be soft, formed, and easy to pass. If the stool is hard, lumpy, or difficult to pass, it may be a sign of constipation. On the other hand, if the stool is loose or watery, it may be a sign of diarrhoea.
Also read: Does Irritable Bowel Syndrome Cause Weight Gain Or Loss? Doctor Answers
It's essential to understand how our bowel movements work and what is considered normal. By paying attention to the frequency, consistency, and colour of our stool, we can identify any potential problems and seek medical attention if necessary. So, the next time you're sitting on the toilet, take a moment to appreciate the complex process that's taking place in your body.