Let’s get personal, shall we?
I’ve always thought that was because I’m typically well hydrated, drinking the recommended 6-8 glasses of water a day. But maybe I was wrong. Maybe I was frequenting the loo too often. Gasp. So, I started to wonder how many times a healthy person should go to the bathroom a day. Our resident dietitian Mary Hartley, RD gladly weighed in.
Q: What is considered a normal amount of times for the average person to go to the bathroom every day?
A: Healthy adults urinate four to seven times a day.
Q: Should we monitor this and why?
A: You should notice the color of your urine, and it should be a light yellow or straw colored. If it is dark, concentrated, and scant, then you are not drinking enough fluid. In hot weather and when you sweat, you need to drink more than usual. Also note that some foods and medications can affect the color and odor of urine. Asparagus gives urine a greenish tint and a characteristic odor. Other foods that change urine color are carrots and carrot juice, which give an orange tinge. Beets, blackberries and rhubarb all impart a reddish hue. And, in large amounts, fava beans, aloe and rhubarb can turn urine dark brown. Changes in urine color and odor caused by foods are harmless and temporary. Vitamin makers often add a dye to turn urine bright yellow so you’ll remember to take your dose.
On the other hand, if you urinate eight or more times in 24-hours, if you get up to urinate two times or more a night, or if you have a strong, sudden urge to urinate or it burns, then you should see the doctor for a diagnosis. There are several possible causes of frequent urination.
Q: What foods and beverages encourage/discourage a healthy amount of bowel movements?
A: Movements should be passed with no urgency or straining and the stool should not be compacted or watery. Healthy elimination depends on having an adequate intake of dietary fiber and fluids and enough activity. Fiber comes from the leaves, stems, seeds, and roots of plants, and women need about 25 grams of dietary fiber per day. To easily add fiber, choose at least one very high fiber food, such as ½ cup of All Bran with Extra Fiber for 13 grams, or 1 cup of lentils for 15 grams. Also eat other very high fiber foods including dried beans, dried fruit, berries, pears and apples with skin, broccoli, winter squash, baked potato with skin, corn, greens, and whole grains like oatmeal and brown rice.
Thanks, Mary! I feel much more at ease now knowing what regularity really means. I think I’m in the clear – no pun intended.