Bowel Movement Definition

Dr. Ritu Krishnatreye, BHMS

Bowel movement definition

Bowel health is an important aspect of health. Any changes in bowel health can be a sign of some major internal problem.

Below is a comprehensive definition of the term “bowel movement”.

Quick definitions

  • A bowel movement is a physiological process that involves excretion of feces from the body. 

  • According to the Oxford Pocket Dictionary, bowel movement is defined as an act of defecation, or of feces discharged in an act of defecation. 

  • According to the Free Dictionary by Farlex, bowel movement is defined as the discharge of waste matter from the large intestine. 

Types of Bowel Movements

Understanding the consistency and type of bowel movements is helpful in identifying when there is something abnormal with the body. Bowel health gives an indication of gastrointestinal health.

Abnormal stools can be the result of:

  • Nutritional disorders

  • Gastrointestinal diseases

  • Other systemic illnesses that affect the gastro-intestinal tract

The Bristol Stool Chart categorizes bowel movements into seven types, ranging from normal or healthy stools to those that may be indicative of some underlying disorder. Let’s have a look at them.

Type 1  The stools are hard lumps, something like nuts, and are difficult to pass

Type 2  These stools are shaped like sausages and are lumpy

Type 3  These stools are characterized by sausage shape with cracks on the surface

Type 4  In this category, stool is are sausage-shaped, but is smooth and soft

Type 5  These stools are soft lumps with very clear edges

Type 6  In this category, the stools are soft and fluffy with ragged edges

Type 7  Here, the stools become watery with no solid pieces

There is no clinically defined definition of a normal bowel movement. As long as stools have normal form and consistency (type 3 or 4), it is considered as normal bowel movement.

In this way it really doesn't matter whether you are passing stool daily or only three times a week. 

When it is time to take action

If your stools fits type 1 or type 2 above and you are experiencing difficulty passing them, then it is time to take some necessary steps to resolve the issue.

Although not so serious in itself, constipation can cause complications if it is not dealt with.

A magnesium supplement

The best place to start is with diet and lifestyle modifications

If you find that these just aren’t doing the job, you might try taking a daily magnesium supplement

  • Magnesium is a needed nutrient that may bring certain health benefits

  • It is also a natural and easy way to resolve the symptoms of dry, hard lumpy stools. 

Magnesium has the ability to draw water into the colon, which helps to moisten dry stools, making them soft easy to pass. 

Conclusion, bowel movement definition

Bowel movements are an essential function of the body, and reflects what is going on within our body, especially our digestive system.

Irregular bowel movements can become an irritating problem, whereas healthy bowel function helps to keep one active and energetic throughout the day. 

(Return from Bowel Movement Definition to What is Constipation)

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