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Healthy Living

How To Tell If You're Pooping Right

Turn that brown frown upside down!

Apparently, there is a healthiest time to poop every day, according to a recent article in Women’s Health magazine.

Morning is best for pooping, the mag reports, because that’s when our bodies tend to get rid of the food we ate the day before. Skip this urge and you may be saddled with uncomfortable bloat throughout the day, which can mess with your regularity for next time.

But is that actually correct? We asked gastroenterologist and HuffPost's foremost expert on constipation, Dr. William Chey, and he says that the best time to poop is the time that's right for you.

Morning poops do have a lot going for them, and there are two major reasons most people go in the mornings, says Chey, a medical professor at the University of Michigan. One is that when you wake up in the morning, your bowels actually wake up as well, and they start contracting immediately after a night of quiet rest. The second is that people tend to eat breakfast right away, which can stimulate contractions in your colon -- especially if you down a cup of coffee or two.

But Chey says if you’re not a morning person, that doesn’t mean you’re pooping at the wrong time. A healthy frequency of poops ranges from three times a day to three times per week, and they don’t all have to drop in the morning for you to have a healthy, functioning G.I. tract.

"It doesn’t matter if it’s day or night,” said Chey. “But as a general rule, people who go to the bathroom at the same time every day are going to be more regular over time.”

The myriad benefits of regularity include not needing to fart all the time, a lack of stomach cramps and the oh-so-satisfying feeling of having effortless bathroom sessions. In other words, the benefit is that you're not constipated.

The timing of your bowel movements depends on your eating schedule, what you eat and drink, and whether or not you exercise. If you’re eating three meals a day at around the same time every day, the food waste will tend to leave your body around the same time, too, said Chey. The trouble comes when you have no idea when you’re going to feel the urge to poop.

“What I hear from patients with gut problems is that they never know when they’re going to go to the bathroom,” said Chey. “It’s really unpredictable, and to me it suggests that the system is out of whack."

If you’re irregular and it doesn’t bother you, there’s no need to see a doctor about it, he said. But if your irregularity means you’re pooping so many times a day that it’s disruptive, or if it comes with abdominal pain, bloating or incontinence, make an appointment with your healthcare provider.

Likewise, Chey says, if there’s blood in your stool, you’re losing weight unexpectedly or you’re vomiting, another sign of G.I. tract dysfunction, that could mean anything from celiac disease to inflammatory bowel disease to colon cancer.

So is there a "healthiest" time? No. If your mealtimes and sleep times are fairly steady, your pooping rhythms will also settle into a comfortable and predictable pace. But if they're all over the place to the point of being inconvenient, and the BMs come with bloat or abdominal pain, maybe it's time to see a specialist.