Bowel habits differ from person to person. Some people go to the bathroom multiple times per day, while others pass their bowels no more than two to three times a week. Moreover, there is a wide range of normal when it comes to the color, consistency, and size of stool.


That said, if you ever notice a sudden change in your bowel habits, you may want to pay close attention. Sometimes the cause is as mild as a change in lifestyle or a mild infection; however,  bowel changes can also be caused by more serious conditions, including cancer. Therefore, it is important that you know when to seek medical attention if you notice dramatic changes in your bowel habits.

Read on to learn more.

Types of Bowel Habit Changes

According to the Cleveland Clinic, going for three days without having a bowel movement is too long. Additionally, you should be aware of color changes, including the following:

  • White-colored stools
  • Deep red stool
  • Black, tarry stool
  • Clay-colored stools

Alterations in the consistency of stool include:

  • Hard stool
  • Dry stool
  • Mucus or fluid that leaks around the stool
  • Loose or watery stool

There might also be changes in the frequency of the bowel movement; for instance, they can be more frequent or less frequent.

Causes of Changes in Bowel Movement

Ulcerative colitis

Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes irritation and sores to develop along the coating of the colon and rectum. The symptom includes:

  • Diarrhea
  • Stool with blood or mucus
  • Frequent urges to have a bowel movement
  • Fatigue
  • Anemia
  • Weight loss
  • Abdominal cramps

Irritable bowel syndrome

IBS is a long term condition that affects the digestive system. It can cause symptoms like bloating and constipation. People with IBS experience symptoms like:

  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Gas
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pains

Celiac disease

This condition happens when gluten in food causes digestive problems. The symptoms of celiac disease include:

  • Bloating
  • Upset stomach
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramping

Bowel Cancer

Rectal, colon, and colorectal cancer are some of the common types of bowel cancer.

Symptoms of bowel cancer can include:

  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Bloating
  • Blood in stool
  • Abdominal pains
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation

Crohn’s disease

This is another type of inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation in parts of the digestive tract, especially the small intestines.

Crohn’s disease is a lifelong condition which has symptoms like;

  • Weight loss
  • Constipation
  • Bloody stool
  • Diarrhea
  • Sudden, frequent bowel movements
  • Fatigue

When You Should See a Doctor

Always seek medical attention whenever you experience the following symptoms;

  • Inability to pass stool
  • Mucus in your stool
  • Pus in your stool
  • Dizziness and confusion
  • Passing watery stool for more than 24 hours
  • Bloody stool

Your doctor might have to take a stool or blood sample to diagnose the problem.


The treatment depends on your exact diagnosis. However, your doctor might recommend some treatment methods if constipation is the problem. These include;

  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Wear incontinence briefs
  • Regular exercises
  • Increase your fiber intake
  • Lifestyle and dietary changes
  • Medication like anti-inflammatory, anticancer and immunosuppressant drugs

Bottom Line

Everyone has different bowel habits, and small alterations should worry you. However, severe and stubborn changes can indicate an underlying health condition, especially when accompanied by other symptoms. In case you’re suffering from fecal incontinence, visit Medical Supply Depot today for adult briefs, and incontinence pads.



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