maybe this is a good thing
July 5, 2006 10:13 PM   Subscribe

Haven't done a #2 in a few days now. No pain or discomfort whatsoever...anything to worry about?

For most of my life I've been pretty regular. The only issues I've had with bowel movements have been when I've been obviously ill.

In the last couple months however I haven't been so regular, and in the last week I've almost stopped shitting altogether. I don't feel any bloating, pain or discomfort at all, just the occasional smelly fart. Certainly I could have some more fibre in my diet but I wouldn't say it's especially unhealthy as of late. I phoned my doctor and he said doesn't sound like anything worth going to see him for.

Should I worry?
posted by randomstriker to Health & Fitness (22 answers total)
Well, I am not the bastian of health, but before becoming a vegetarian I would only shit once a week, sometimes less. I seem to be fine.
posted by nadawi at 10:16 PM on July 5, 2006

But to add to that, if you really feel like you have to poo, get some TVP and dump it in a stew or pasta sauce.
posted by nadawi at 10:18 PM on July 5, 2006

I wouldn't worry unless things start to get painful, or you don't shit in the next few days. One thing I have always found when things seem to "not be moving quite right" was that I was just lacking water, drinking too much soda and coffee instead. My advice is load up on some water in regular dosages and eat some nice big salads.
posted by chrisroberts at 10:19 PM on July 5, 2006

A good strong cup of coffee usually does it for me.

(Although I haven't skipped a day in many years, certainly more than a decade).
posted by unSane at 10:20 PM on July 5, 2006

my mean time between poops (MTTP) is generally about a week, not counting a few pebbles here and there.
posted by rbs at 10:24 PM on July 5, 2006

Yeah... Water, Fiber, Exercise. Don't worry too much unless you also quit farting altogether, or it gets painful and/or goes on for like 3 weeks.
posted by idontlikewords at 10:54 PM on July 5, 2006

With the work camp I was in we had some interesing bets. The longest someone has gone without a number 2 was a week. There was a lot of blood after a week. Also the farthest that someone could piss was 30 ft. This also sounds unbeleivable but we had a fellow on the crew that could shit 15 feet. I can only vouch for the fellow that could piss 30 ft.
posted by Kilovolt at 11:00 PM on July 5, 2006

In boot camp, we were told that it was normal to not shit for the first several days, up to a full week. Anything past that, we were encouraged to ask to go to medical just to be on the safe side.

Recruits go through a sudden elevation of stress and a change in surroundings, which is kept pretty constant; it's not like a stressful day at work that you'll eventually get over. One of the reactions the body goes through is a temporary reduction in bowel movements.

If you're going through any big changes in your general stress level or life cycles, you could be going through a similar body reaction. If not, I got nothin' for ya, sorry. :)
posted by scaryblackdeath at 11:36 PM on July 5, 2006

You could get someone to listen to your belly. A healthy gut will gurgle quietly to itself every now and then. (Or maybe noisily.)

But my (i am not a doctor!) impression is that if you're not having discomfort and it's only been a few days, there's nothing to worry about. If another week passes, you're swelling up and in agony, see a doctor. :-)

Is there some change in your diet? Quitting coffee suddenly can cause constipation, I hear.

My natural frequency is about once every 3 days, even if I'm eating a lot of fiber. Always has been. Supposedly, going more frequently will decrease my chances of cancer, but I haven't found a way to do that without consuming lots of laxatives. Which has, er, other unpleasant effects.

Now that I've talked about pooping on the Internet, I can never be President.
posted by hattifattener at 12:13 AM on July 6, 2006

Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 13th ed., addresses this question. It notes that some people go only once per week, and cites this as one possible lower bound on "normal." It also points out that lack of bowel movements is not pathological per se; the condition is a disorder when there are other symptoms, especially including discomfort of various sorts (cramping, unable to move bowel despite the "call to stool," nausea/vomiting, excessive flatus, etc.)
posted by ikkyu2 at 12:31 AM on July 6, 2006

Response by poster: I dunno if I should take health advice from someone called scaryblackdeath, but anyway yes I have been quite stressed out lately with trying to beat deadlines at work. Didn't realize that there might be a connection.
posted by randomstriker at 12:53 AM on July 6, 2006

Might not be a bad idea to get some stool softeners to ease discomfort when you finally feel the urge to go.
posted by necessitas at 2:29 AM on July 6, 2006

Activia has worked wonders for me.
posted by amro at 4:21 AM on July 6, 2006

If your doc says there's nothing to worry about right now, there's nothing to worry about right now; in fact, worrying could delay your crapper visit even more. Chill out, eat a nice, hearty salad -- you'll drop off the kids soon enough.
posted by Merdryn at 7:29 AM on July 6, 2006

Frankly it is amazing what lots of stress can account for, change in bowel movement is pretty minor (but typical) in comparison to other things.
posted by edgeways at 7:43 AM on July 6, 2006

posted by geekhorde at 8:28 AM on July 6, 2006

If you're streesed out, I bet your not eating much. Eat something. Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day. And if all else fails, eat a couple bowls of raisin bran and stay close to your bathroom. :)
posted by bim at 8:46 AM on July 6, 2006

yes stress can do this to a person.

if you decide that you have to go the milk of magnesia route, be very very careful. i call that stuff "milk of no mercy." i'd start with half the recommended dose at bedtime and be prepared to spend the next morning on the head!
posted by joeblough at 9:08 AM on July 6, 2006

Not only Activia, but prune-flavored Activia. Seriously. It's tasty!
posted by clairezulkey at 9:31 AM on July 6, 2006

And let's not forget the Godwin's Law of all constipation threads: Psyllium! (Seriously tho... it does help =)
posted by idontlikewords at 1:03 PM on July 6, 2006

I went 10 days once in Israel with nary a 'plop.' And I was eating, like, constantly- three full meals a day and snacks. I couldn't figure out how this was possible, since I'm not a big girl. I still don't know how, actually. I guess the food just got really really dense or something. Never had any cramps or anthing. Anyway, one day it just started going again. Eat more roughage perhaps?
posted by np312 at 2:27 PM on July 6, 2006

Passing gas is a good thing, medically. Do you have hernias or previous abdominal surgery?
posted by gramcracker at 2:44 PM on July 6, 2006

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