By Moira Lawler
Going number two is the source of many jokes and memes, but let’s not forget how important it is to our well-being. What goes down the hatch must eventually come out the shoot, and your bowels don’t stop for anything or anyone. But is there an optimal time of day to let poop loose (except for, you know, NOT five minutes before a job interview)?
“For most people, the best time and their regular time is in the morning,” says Kenneth Koch, chief of gastroenterology. That’s because while you were sleeping, your small intestine and colon were busy processing the food you ate the day before. That food tends to pass through your body once you start your morning, and most of us are running to the bathroom within 30 minutes, says Koch.
Just like skipping your morning cup of coffee would throw your whole day off, your bowels also love habits. And rushing to work instead of going through your morning routine messes with your bowel movements, says Koch. That’s when irregularity starts to seep in.
The golden poop rule of regularity: Anything from one bowel movement a week to three times a day is normal, says Stephen B. Hanauer, medical director of the Northwestern Medicine Digestive Health Center. That’s a wide range, but find what works for you and makes your poop drop like clockwork.
“The best way to have regular bowel habits is to be regular in the things that effect bowel habits,” says Hanauer. A major factor: your diet. Coffee, fruits, veggies and fibre give you the assist that’ll make you go. So, if you’re shooting for a regular morning poop before you head out the door, start your day with a fibrous breakfast and coffee. Not just Mondays or Wednesdays but every day. That way, you’ll know just when the urge is going to strike.
“People who have patterns and regular habits are able to utilise them,” says Hanauer. You’ll also need to build a bathroom break into your getting-ready schedule so you don’t have a poop emergency right when you reach the train or bus.
“You can think of 100 reasons you don’t have time,” says Koch. “But have that breakfast, recognise that urge to have a bowel movement, and then take the time. That’s how you get into a regular movement.”
And if you don’t go? The bacteria in your body converts the stool to gas, so you’ll end up gassy and bloated, Hanauer says. Not ideal. Plus, it could lead to other issues like constipation and irritable bowel syndrome if you hold it for too long, says Koch.
Bottom line: Don’t ignore your body’s cues, and make time to drop that log where it belongs. Bonus points if you can do it before your morning commute.
It’s a way to “take back one’s power around financial values and goals.”