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Your digestive system is remarkably efficient. In the space of a few hours it extracts nutrients from the foods you eat and drink, processes them into the bloodstream and prepares leftover material for disposal. That material passes through 20 or more feet of intestine before being stored temporarily in the colon, where water is removed. The residue is excreted through the bowels, normally within a day or two.

Some people -- including many alternative therapists -- say we should move our bowels one to three times a day to remain healthy, but this opinion is not backed by scientific studies.

Depending on your diet, your age, and your daily activity, regularity can mean anything from three bowel movements a day to one every three days. Nonetheless, the longer fecal material sits in the colon, the harder the stool becomes and the more difficult it is to pass. A normal stool should not be either unusually hard or soft, and you shouldn't have to strain unreasonably to pass it.

This answer should not be considered medical advice...down arrowThis answer should not be considered medical advice and should not take the place of a doctor’s visit. Please see the bottom of the page for more information or visit our Terms and Conditions.up arrow

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Archived: March 20, 2014

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Read the Original Article: Understanding Constipation