Home Digestive systemConstipation How long can you go without having a bowel movement?

How long can you go without having a bowel movement?

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Many people have suffered at some point in their life problems with passing stools, especially young children and older adults, generally being episodes that do not recur frequently and do not last long. However, when these are common, are prolonged or are accompanied by other symptoms, it is considered that one suffers from constipation and it is important to follow a treatment to solve it.

Although this intestinal disorder is very common in the population, it is still a worrying condition, since fecal matter is composed of waste substances and their accumulation can be harmful and contaminate the body, in addition to the discomfort that it usually generates. Therefore, if you have wondered how long you can go without defecation , in the following FastlyHealarticle we detail this and other issues on the subject.

Possible causes of not having frequent bowel movements

Not going to the bathroom regularly is a condition that should not be taken lightly, especially if it lasts for a long time or the episodes are frequent, as it is a sign that something is not right in the body and is necessary to attend it. The most common causes of not being able to defecate often are easy to solve, although others may take longer, among them are:

  • Lack of fiber in the daily diet.
  • Low fluid intake.
  • Do not defecate when you feel like it.
  • Sedentary lifestyle.
  • Stress and nervousness.
  • Excessive consumption of laxatives.
  • Side effect of certain medications, for example antidepressants and antihistamines.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Diseases that affect bowel movement, such as diabetes, thyroid problems, irritable bowel syndrome , celiac disease, and colon cancer .

How many days maximum can you go without doing belly?

Factors such as diet, mental state and daily activities can change the frequency with which you go to the bathroom to pass stool. Also, the genetic predisposition and the metabolism of each person are important for this, since some digest food faster than others or have a better bowel movement.

For this reason, it is not specific how often you should go to the bathroom. The ideal would be to do it the same amount of times that a large portion of food is consumed, but if days have passed and you have not thrown away the ingested food, it is common to want to know how long you can go without defecation. It is considered normal to pass stool from once a day or to do it until the third day and it is not a problem if there are bowel movements at least 3 times a week and if it is done without effort or pain.

Spending a long time without defecation is accompanied by hard and dry stools, which can be small or very compacted into a larger mass, and usually cause pain when trying to eliminate them, in addition, an extra effort is made to evacuate and more time is spent than normal in the bathroom. It is also possible to notice other symptoms such as swelling and pain in the abdomen and even discomfort in the back.

If this alteration in the elimination of stool occurs once a month or several months apart, it is not usually a condition to worry about. However, when you have not been able to defecate in more than 7 days or there are episodes in consecutive months, it is important to visit a doctor , since it could be constipation and become chronic.

Consequences of not going to the bathroom often

In addition to the discomfort that can cause not being able to go to the bathroom regularly and the discomfort when managing to expel the stool, if you constantly suffer from this disorder it can lead to other alterations that need immediate medical attention, the most common being:

  • Anal wounds or tears: when passing hard or large stools can make cracks or fissures in the lining of the anus, causing pain, bleeding and burning. These may heal on their own in a couple of days, although they can reopen if the stool does not change to a softer consistency.
  • Fecal impaction or fecaloma: stool hardens and gets stuck in the colon or rectum, obstructing the passage of new stool and favoring its accumulation. It is usually treated with edema and in extreme cases surgical intervention may be necessary.
  • Hemorrhoids : also known as piles, this is when the veins of the rectum and anus become inflamed due to the pressure and effort exerted by hard stools when they are evacuated. This condition is usually very uncomfortable because it causes anal itching, pain, and bleeding.
  • Rectal prolapse: due to the overexertion that is made when wanting to expel feces, it is possible that the inner lining of the rectum separates from the wall that supports it and slides out through the anus, noticing a red and wet bump that may be accompanied by bleeding.

What to do if I haven’t been to the bathroom in days

Generally, changing some aspects of daily habits is enough to improve and prevent defecation problems; However, if the discomfort or disorder continues, it is best to go to the doctor and follow the instructions given by him. Some steps you should consider to go to the bathroom regularly are:

  • Drink plenty of fluids, approximately 2 liters a day or what is necessary if you do any physical activity.
  • Include more foods rich in plant fiber , but avoid fiber supplements because they could harm the condition.
  • Exercise regularly, going for a half hour walk is a good option.
  • If you feel like having a bowel movement, don’t put it off.
  • Make sure you have enough time to evacuate the stool without rushing or overexertion.
  • Avoid using laxatives or stool softening drugs without a doctor’s supervision.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to How long can you go without defecation , we recommend that you enter our Digestive System category .

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