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Irregular Bowel Movements

Irregular bowel movements can be a cause of great embarrassment as well as anxiety and stress. There are many reasons why a person might suffer from infrequent bowel movements.
Rimlee Bhuyan
A person is said to be suffering from irregular bowel movement if he/she has more than three loose stools in a day or less than four stools a week. So a person suffering from constipation as well as diarrhea is considered to be suffering from irregular bowel movement.
Alternatively, if there is a change in the color or consistency of the stool, then a person is suffering from irregular bowel movements. With age, the frequency of bowel movement generally reduces and one bowel movement a day is the most common pattern.

Causes of Infrequent Bowel Movements

Infrequency in bowel movements can be quite a distressing problem, with health being affected. There are a number of triggers for this digestive system disorder.
Some of the possible causes of irregular bowel movement are:
  • Less intake of water
  • Hormonal changes
  • Lack of proper diet
  • Lack of exercise
  • Irregular food habits
  • Anxiety or stress
  • Side effects of certain medication
  • Lactose Intolerance
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Celiac Disease
  • Diabetes
In newly born babies, irregular bowel movement is caused due to congenital diseases such as cystic fibrosis. Intake of medicines such as iron supplements, sedatives, etc. can also cause infrequent bowel movements.
Often, stress-related factors or a reaction to certain kind of spicy foods or dairy products can cause irregularity in bowel movements. A diet which has insufficient amount of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as fiber can lead to this health issue. It can also be a symptom of underlying medical complications.
Constipation is a very common problem which most people suffer from at some point of time or other. However if one is suffering from chronic constipation for a prolonged time, it is important to consult a doctor to rule out any serious health problems.

Symptoms of Infrequent Bowel Movements

Some of the symptoms of irregular bowel are:
  • Bowel movement immediately after having a meal
  • Discomfort while passing stool
  • Bowel movement accompanied by pain and bleeding
  • Burning sensation while passing stool
  • Inability to pass stool after a surgery
  • Feeling of bloating
  • Abdominal cramping

Home Remedies for Irregular Bowel Movements

Before reaching for your medicine cabinet, you can try for some home remedies to treat irregular or delayed bowel movements. Making a few lifestyle changes can help in relieving this condition.
    • Peppermint oil can be very useful for treating irregular bowel movement. In a cup of warm water, put two to three drops of peppermint oil and drink this concoction at regular intervals, throughout the day.
    • Ginger is also very effective in providing relief from this condition. You can consume ginger in the form of raw ginger or ginger tea. Although ginger is a beneficial herb for curing infrequent bowel movements, it should be avoided by people suffering from coronary heart disease and diabetes.
    • Drinking aloe vera juice helps to relieve stomach pain and constipation.
    • Consuming Indian gooseberry is also an excellent home remedy for delayed bowel movements. It is a very good source of vitamin C, as it aids in the digestion process and also helps to reduce acidity.
    • Consuming fruits like papaya and banana also help in relieving constipation.
    • Have a drink made by mixing a pinch of asafoetida with a bit of rock salt in warm water. This is very effective in curing infrequent bowel movements.
    • Grind to a paste a mixture of green cardamom, pepper and dry ginger. Mix one tablespoon of this paste with a glass of water and consume this every morning.
    • As coffee and alcohol can upset the delicate lining of your stomach, cutting down on your intake of coffee and alcohol can reduce irregular bowel syndrome.
    • Take a good look into your medicine cupboard and investigate if your infrequent bowel movements have been triggered by some new medication. Some medicines like ibuprofen and aspirin might irritate the stomach.
    • Consuming fennel seeds and caraway seeds also help in easing indigestion and gas.
    • Chamomile tea is also highly effective for treating problems in bowel movements.
    Constipation is caused by intake of high protein and low fiber foods. A high fiber diet can help in reducing both constipation and diarrhea. Irregular bowel movement is more common in people who lead a sedentary lifestyle.
    Making some lifestyle as well as dietary changes can be highly beneficial in alleviating irregular bowel movements. Drinking six to eight glasses of water every day. Include more fiber in your diet and engage in physical activities as it can help in regulating bowel movements. Stay healthy!