Multiple bowel movements daily or frequent bowel movements mean passing of motions many times in a day. Although passing stools is a natural process and the number of visits, volume and consistency of stools varies from person to person. Many people pass motions several times in a day, which can be completely normal for them.
Some people may experience abdominal discomfort, pain and change in consistency of stools or other gastric symptoms along with multiple bowel movements. This can be a cause of concern and may indicate an underlying condition.
What Causes Multiple Bowel Movements Daily?
Multiple bowel movements daily can occur due to various factors like changes in eating or sleeping pattern, altered bowel habits, changes in daily routine or lifestyle, presence of other medical illness, change in medications etc.
Some Common Conditions that Cause Multiple Bowel Movements Daily & Changes in Bowel Patterns Include:
- Multiple Bowel Movements Daily Caused Due to Lifestyle Changes – Intake of whole grains or leafy vegetables in the diet can increase frequency of motions. Drinking more water, consumption of high fiber foods, legumes or spices too can cause multiple bowel movements. Change in routine of physical activity is equally related to bowel movements and excessive exercises or physical strain can sometimes cause multiple bowel movements daily.
- Indigestion – Consumption of certain foods that may be difficult to digest can lead to improper digestion. This can cause excessive gas formation in the intestines, bloating and sometimes painful motions.
- Multiple Bowel Movements Daily Caused Due to Milk (lactose) Intolerance and Allergy – Some people are unable to digest the sugar, lactose, present in milk and often react abnormally on consumption of milk and milk products.
- Certain Medications – Intake of certain medications can irritate the bowel or affect natural flora in the intestines and can cause multiple bowel movements daily. Identifying such medications can help in changing or stopping the medicines. Sometimes, when such medications are prescribed, other medicines to maintain the gut flora or keep hyperacidity to the minimum are also given.
- Stress – In some conditions, increased stress can affect the regular eating, sleeping pattern and can affect digestion too. Excessive stress, anxiety or panic attacks can lead to improper digestion or heaviness in the stomach causing increased bowel movements. Lack of sleep can induce bowel pattern changes and contribute to multiple bowel movements.
Medical Conditions that Can Sometimes Cause Multiple Bowel Movements Daily Include:
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome Can Cause Multiple Bowel Movements Daily – This is usually accompanied with painful spasms in the abdomen and cramping pain when passing motions. It is often triggered by certain types of foods and may have abdominal pain associated with increased bowel movements, which can even alternate with normal motions or constipation.
- Multiple Bowel Movements Daily Caused Due to Inflammatory Bowel Disease – Inflammation and swelling of the small and large intestines can cause bowel changes causing loose motions, pain in abdomen and sometimes bleeding.
- Gastroenteritis – Inflammation of the stomach and intestines in gastroenteritis can cause stomach upset, vomiting and diarrhea with multiple bowel movements.
- Hyperacidity – Heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD) can make the gastric and intestinal wall linings more sensitive, causing multiple bowel movements.
- Giardiasis – Giardiasis and similar other parasitic infections can cause swelling in large intestines and affect the regular bowel pattern.
- Others – Other gastrointestinal problems or other medical conditions that affect normal digestion and absorption can cause changes in bowel habits and result in multiple bowel movements daily.
What to do for Multiple Bowel Movements Daily?
If multiple bowel movements daily are due to mild causes, taking care of diet and lifestyle measures can help. Follow healthy routine with intake of balanced healthy meals.
Include fresh fruits, vegetables and grains. Include natural probiotics like yogurt or buttermilk in daily diet.
Limit intake of stimulants like tea, coffee and caffeinated drinks. Keep intake of sugary products, spicy, oily and fatty food to the minimum. Avoid smoking and alcohol. Look out for food items that cause trouble or changes in bowel movements and avoid them. Get any underlying medical conditions treated; consider taking probiotics and other nutritional supplements, if appropriate, with medical advice.
Excessive high fiber foods, certain grains, dairy products, poultry or increased intake of water can cause increased frequency or multiple bowel movements daily. Be aware of these changes made in your diet and limit them as required. Incorporate new food items gradually allowing time for the digestive system to settle down.
If excessive bowel movements cause any redness or irritation in the local area, consider applying a soothing ointment. Take a warm bath without applying any irritants and gently pat dry the skin without rubbing it. Take time to relax and alter physical activity accordingly but resting the body and mind is essential. Sleep well and practice mediation.
What to Watch Out for?
Multiple bowel movements may not always mean a problem. Slight alterations in diet and lifestyle or certain individual attributes can contribute to increased frequency of bowel movements. However, if multiple bowel movements are associated with other complaints, it is important to seek medical advice. In case of abnormal or painful stools or if there is discomfort or bleeding when passing stools, it needs immediate medical attention.