Medicine to Move You

Medicine to Move You

The Power of Poop

Yes, I said it.  Poop.  Not only did I just  say it, I make it a point to say it in every, single one of my Living Wellness University lectures- whether it is about the digestive system or it’s about your hormones- it applies and is critical to your health.  This guarded act of defecation has somehow become such a secret affair for adults, as though all of your friends and acquaintances don’t know you are doing it.  Of course, we all poop.  But, the real question is how well do you do the deed!

Our new patient forms delve deep into this function of elimination because it is one of the key factors to good health.  Ask these questions of yourself:

1.       How often do you have a bowel movement (BM)?


a.       You should have 1-2 BMs a day.

b.      It does not matter if you have had a BM every 3-4 days since you were a child.  You still should be pooping daily.

2.       Do you ever see blood in your stools?

a.       If it is bright red, on the toilet paper and you suffer from constipation, you likely have hemorrhoids.

b.      If your stools are black and tarry or you have clotted blood mixed in your stools, you should see a doctor immediately to be sure you don’t have a source of bleeding deeper in your digestive system.

3.       What is the consistency of your stools?

a.       Toothpaste consistency stools are best.  These are the poops that come out writing cursive into the water.


b.      Torpedo or log roll poops are likely too hard.  Plop, plop, splash, splash is not ideal.

c.       Sprinkler poops are likely too loose.

d.      If your BMs don’t settle down, but prefer to stay afloat, you may not be digesting your fats.  (Olean chips, anyone?)

4.       Do you have to strain or push your stools out?

a.       This is another sign that there is something wrong- likely that your stools are too firm.

b.      Straining during elimination can increase your risk of hemorrhoids.

5.       Do you have bloating or abdominal pain?

a.       If you have these symptoms coupled with constipation or diarrhea, you may have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).


b.      Functional and Integrative Medicine is known for its above average ability to help these symptoms through the use of probiotics, carminatives, botanicals and lifestyle therapy.

So, the next time you are ‘dropping the kids off at the pool,’ be sure to assess your performance.  You might just expose some truths about your body’s ability to detoxify.  The way that I see it, your body is constantly making garbage (just like your house), and if you continue to produce the ‘Garbage In’ and forget to prioritize the ‘Garbage Out’ part of the equation, your house is going to stink soon.  And this stink will slowly permeate the rest of your house… until you make it a point to take the ‘garbage out.’  This is the basis of optimal detoxification- a distinct therapeutic target for many holistic practitioners.


Here’s the connection:  If you don’t poop well, your thinking, your menopause, your appetite, your breathing, your ability to handle medications, your mood, your risk of colon cancer, your acid reflux, your migraines, your IBS (getting the point) will all be subject to worsen… further, you might be taking medicines unnecessarily for these conditions.  An amazing integrative medicine patient story to come on my next post about this subject.  Until then, happy, healthy visits to your small room!

Comments read comments(36)
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posted June 2, 2011 at 11:32 am

No comments on this very important health article? I found it very informative and a real issue. I started taking Savella for my fibromyalgia. In the first week I thought it was a miracle drug. But after that it not only stopped relieving my pain, but it made me very constipated. I tried every remedy I could think of short of a laxative: prunes, more fiber, more fluids, stool softeners. Nothing worked. I had strained, hard BMs every three to four days and dreaded going to that little room! I finally stopped taking the meds and am now in a better place. However, I still do not have one (no less two) BMs a day all the time. What I’d like to know is how to achieve this without using laxatives? Did I mess my system up for good with that med? One thing I did not try was exercise (walking) as I have osteoarthritis and cannot walk very far. Thanks to anyone who can shed some light on this problem.

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Kathie Clohessy

posted June 4, 2011 at 7:20 pm

I really disagree with the content of this article, not because I am an expert but because I have been counseled by experts on the subject of chronic constipation and I have never heard such a didactic, inflexible position on the subject of how often one should “Go.” I think this doctor demonstrates the kind of personality Freud would describe as “anal retentive”…i.e. rigid, unbending and obsessive!

With that said, for the lady above-let me tell you my story…
I suffered from chronic constipation (pooping once a week-max!)all my life along with chronic depression-anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder. I was also diagnosed with CRPS and fibromyalgia many years ago; at one point I was taking a narcotic, two antidepressants, gabapentin (similar to Lyrica) and flecainide, a heart medicine that blocks painful nerve impulses. These made me so constipated that pooping was an actual luxury. Even after weaning myself off of 80% of the medicine I still had major problems. I was sick to my stomach, bloated, and miserable 80-90% of the time.

Then about a year ago I became so overwhelmed with life, my depression and my pain I started therapy…I had been in cognitive behavioral therapy before for a total of 8 years (3 with one therapist, 5 with another) with only marginal results. But I was desperate. After 15 years of chronic pain and a lifetime of depression I was at the point where I truly didn’t care if I lived or died.

The therapist I picked from the phone book (talk about serendipity) used a technique called EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprogramming-big words for a simple process.) It has saved my life-literally. I am not “cured” but I am better than I have ever been-physically and emotionally. I am slowly weaning myself off the rest of my medicines, and gradually beginning to live my life for the first time in almost 50 years. And I am pooping just fine!

While I do not feel comfortable revealing the specifics of what happened in my EMDR sessions, I can say that it allowed me to confront, process and RELEASE traumas and emotions that had been bottled up inside my brain since I was a very young child. Now that I do not have to hold them in I can let myself go in other ways; and the energy I once used to keep them locked away I have available for positive living.

Please try EMDR. It may sound crazy, but what goes on in your mind is the key to what ails your body…Even if your constipation doesn’t go away (although I bet it will) you will feel better than you have in a very long time. I promise.

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posted June 9, 2011 at 4:12 am

I have had problems with NOT going for 2-3 days each week. sometimes 4-5 days untill i found ZIJA.COM TEA AND NUTRITUTIONAL PRODUCTS. It the new mircle drink from the moringa tree in India and Africa it helps you body build uo the really healthy nutritutional your body needs.. it like a spinsh green leaf plants that grown in dry countries of our world.. It will make you regular and give your body more ENERGY AND HEALTH to make you feel great.. Its really popular in the USA AND I KNOW IT WORKS IT HLPED MY DIABETIC PROBLEMS and I feel great lost 20 lbs and only been on it 3 1/2 months. try it today. GO TO My and put in id–395955 and you can join and buy it today you wont be sorry..and lose WEIGHT THE EASY WAY AND GET ENERGY. THANks diana..
HAVE A great day.

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posted June 9, 2011 at 6:09 am

I too have bowel issues due to a kink bowel from surgery sometimes I cant go for days I get so bloated and so uncomfortable. I also am currently going through chemo weekly. For 3rd stage ovarian Cancer.

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posted June 9, 2011 at 8:40 am

who knew; very informative

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J. Battle

posted June 9, 2011 at 9:41 am

My problem ia that I go every time I eat.
The stools are in good shape but I am trying to
gain weight and can’t see that this is a good
thing. Doctors don’t seem to think this is a

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posted June 9, 2011 at 10:10 am

I too suffer from IBS. It goes along with all my other autoimmune disorders (i.e. Rheumatoid, fibromyalgia, CFS, lupus etc) For years no one knew what to do for it except tell you to eat lots of fiber and water. I still had episodes that were so bad, I would have preferred to have given birth! About 10 years ago I accidently found out that antidepressants were found to be very therapeutic for IBS. After having a benign tumor removed from my heart, I was put on antidepressants. After a couple of years, I decided I didn’t need them and titrated off them. Boy did my IBS reared it’s ugly head. That’s when the GI doc informed me about the antidepressants. So today I am on antidepressants, just a different one, for my fibromyalgia. Cymbalta has worked well for me. I am also on probiotics daily as autoimmune disorders can deplete the normal flora in your gut and cause chronic diarrhea. Had to research that one up on my on. Anyway, everyone’s body is different and reacts differently to different things. You just have to find what works best for you. I also take FiberChoice and a stool softener.

Good luck everyone

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posted June 9, 2011 at 11:02 am

Upon my own consultation with a gastroenterologist, he advised me that BM’s were personalized by individual biology. All of my life, I have never had more than one or two movements per week. Contrary to popular belief, he stated that this was not abnormal. So what is the truth? Does it vary by individual? I do have occasional cramping and bloating, but I have a balanced diet and drink plenty of fluids. My endoscopy showed nothing unordinary.

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ESL Teacher

posted June 9, 2011 at 11:18 am

Very true, it is very important to maintain a good digestive system. I am glad to admit to 1 to 3 BM’s a day. If I ever have any problem with not being able to “go”, I buy something called “Colon Cleanser”, available in the vitamin section of any dollar store. Take one at bedtime and you will have a productive movement the next morning. Yes, it’s only a buck at the dollar store. I am not sure if it is a recommended product, but I do know it works. So, the next time you’re at any of the dollar type stores, walk over to the section that has vitamins, etc. Look for this “Colon Cleanser” product. It does not produce cramping of any kind. I’m just trying to help.
It is true that I am very active. I play on an adult softball team, I walk my dog for over a mile every day, and I am very active. Plus, I avoid unhealthy food, eat healthy food and have lost the six pounds I wanted to lose. I think I would like to lose 2-5 lbs more, as I do every summer. Otherwise, I am in good health and I think that pooping regularly is a big part of my good health.
PS- I am probably the last person who would talk about this in public, I think it is a private matter and I am glad to have this forum to discuss this important issue. Good article.

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Rachel Dunn

posted June 9, 2011 at 12:58 pm

I have found blessed results from persistant constipation/lazy peristalsis movement by eating wheat bran. I buy it in bulk at the health food store. It is very inexpensive and it is full of B vitamins. The uncooked wheat bran is light and fluffy. I consume it in milk; toss it in salads; mix it with cottage cheese and fruit. Four or five heaping tablespoons a day does the trick.

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posted June 9, 2011 at 5:00 pm

I use a packet of Benefiber in my water everyday or every other day and it keeps me regulated. This works for me and I hope this will be helpful to you too.

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posted June 9, 2011 at 5:45 pm

I would like to thank the Dr. for posting this article, I find it informative and a reminder of how important it is to have a healthy digestive system and to pay attention to what’s happening in (and out) of our bodies. I would also like to thank Kathie for sharing her story. I too suffer from life long depression. I had a serious cancer scare and 2 major operations for ovarian tumors – but NONE of that was worse or even nearly as bad as being so depressed that life doesn’t seem to be worth living. Feelings of isolation and worthlessness (especially after feeling like you’ve tried so hard to be “well” emotionally” only to be slammed again with depression) are so profound that you feel like there is no point in doing anything…including living. I do take an antidepressant which only helps a tiny bit honestly, and have tried various alternative methods like Reiki, cranio-sacral therapy, etc. I’m at the point where I feel like I practically need a lobotomy to get me out of this negativity, so it was good to read Kathie’s story and her suggestion to try EMDR. A bit off the poop topic I know, but after reading what she shared it encouraged me to do the same. And yes, your physical health has everything to do with your mental health, I agree. I wish you the absolute best Kathie in your recovery and anyone else reading this who is suffering, or knows someone who suffers from major depression. Thanks for letting me share…

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posted June 9, 2011 at 5:49 pm

The best way to handle this is:
You only eat fruit in the AM
You do not add anything else to your
stomach until you have moved your bowels.
Bad food combos mess you up!
Proteins go with vegetables
vegetables do not mix with fruits
forget those kind of V8 juices
Drink tons of water
Remember, melons eat them alone
leave them alone!

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Uncle Fester

posted June 10, 2011 at 10:37 am

Very helpful article. I take one Fiber Choice in the A.M. and it does the trick for me.

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posted June 10, 2011 at 8:32 pm

Lovely, lively piece by Dr. Saxena. As the poet said, “Pooping is such sweet sorrow.”

Actually, as I’ve stumbled into middle age, I’ve found that botanicals, Pepto, etc., keep the IBS to a low roar–though occasionally the Immodium will backfire and plug up the works for days on end. When that happens, all I have to do to let loose an American Beauty is grab the daily paper and take one look at the headlines–BOOOM! I’m on the throne in no time. Nothing inspires a good “butt-sneeze” like Obama’s latest gaffes.

And they say politics is full of $&!#.

Irritable and middle-aged,
Gory boy

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posted June 10, 2011 at 9:44 pm

This is very good, I love to poop. I am happy to read of the goodness of the pooping; I just completed the BM of the second time today before I stumble upon this article and it is good to see it. I made the toothpaste poop, it was very satisfying and am now proud to read here it is the good kind to make, this toothpaste poop. So to summation I wish to give you all the thumbs up of happy pooping for all, thank you.

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frances infantino

posted June 11, 2011 at 11:19 pm

i have a bm many times a day maybe 5 times is there something wrong with me?

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    Dr. Shilpa P. Saxena

    posted June 16, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    No, not if you function well with this (meaning you are not having pain, cramping, watery, mucousy, bloody stools with or without bloating). Three a day would be the upper limit of normal that I commonly see. It could be your gastro-colic reflex which basically acts to empty the lower contents of your digestive system when food comes down the hatch. It’s kind of like your body knows to make space for the new food that just came in. By the way, this explains why some people think they are pooping the food they just ate. Food doesn’t move from mouth to toilet bowl in minutes- it’s just that healthy gastro-colic reflex. Happy pooping!

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Lindsay Swiatkowski

posted June 13, 2011 at 1:21 pm

I have an interesting problem: I find that when I am horny in the morning, the hornier I am, the more and better bowel movements I have! Sometimes I have as many as 5 bowel movements in one morning. But if I don’t think of sex, I MIGHT have one or two, or perhaps none at all for that particular morning. I do not mean this to be a joke. This is true with me. I have had this to be true with me for a good part of the last 35 years or more. As a single Seventh-Day-Adventist Christian man at 55 years of age, it concerns me because as Christians, we are to maintain purity of thought and body, and keep away from the “lusts of the flesh”, as it says in the Bible. Yet, I find this very self-same thing to be of great help as my colon-cleaning regimen. I don’t recommend this to anyone, but if there are any married persons out there who have a great sex life, and discover that this may be true for them, I am most happy for you, and wish you God’s blessings abundantly! It actually seems to me that this is much more effective than regular walking/running/etc. “normal” physical exercise. I do not wish to use laxatives, enemas, or any of that kind of stuff. And it does not seem to matter if my stools are hard or soft, or in between. Hence, I have this great dilemma, and am troubled as to what course of action I should go, if I need to change how this is done! I often talk to God in prayer about this, and so far, I have only told one other human being about this in a limited way. It surprises me that I have never heard this kind of thing being discussed on any public broadcasts or on any talk host shows. Anyway, thanks for hearing me out. Lindsay, of Cleveland, Ohio USA.

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posted June 19, 2011 at 10:11 pm

Just a plain natural way to healthy intestines. Even gives relief to Severe Colitis. May your poopers be healthy my friends!

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posted July 11, 2011 at 3:09 am

Its a very informative post about the digestion system.

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posted July 12, 2011 at 2:17 pm

My whole life revolves around ‘pooping’! I enjoyed the article and loved reading all the comments. I should write a book about pooping, from the poopers perspective, as it seems to be such a private thing that no one wants to think about, much less talk about! Yet, I know there must be people out there who are looking for solutions. I have had IBS as far back as I can remember and have panic attacks for fear of not making it to a bathroom on time. When I have to go, I have to go now! I’ve taken everything, from anti-anxiety meds, imodium, fiber to regulate, etc. I also have Microscopic colitis, Fibromyalgia, Lupus, Osteoarthritis, Seizure disorder and I had a complete hysterectomy at age 26. The whole pooping dilemma has pretty much controlled my entire life (now in my 50’s) until the last year or so when I found out about the brain/gut connection. Currently, I use a lot of visualization, meditation and cranial sacral therapy, and medication. It is still an uphill battle, but I have hope! I have also found that laughter helps, along with a Gastroenterologist with a great sense of humor! Thanks to all of you for sharing your comments and to Dr Saxena for writing an article that started people thinking and talking!

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posted July 17, 2011 at 5:58 pm

I used to have problems pooping. Not no more tho!

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posted August 11, 2011 at 4:04 am

You might want to read this, as gross as it might seem

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posted August 12, 2011 at 12:50 pm

I agree with having a BM daily. I worry if a day pass and I do not have one. Very good article

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Steven R. Edelman

posted September 12, 2011 at 1:07 pm

I might be a “gastropsychologist” or I just might be vague (err, vagus). Few (or is it Phew) people know that the digestive system is so neurologically rich. I recently did an assessment of a 12 year old male who was in a behavior management class in public school. Asking about bowel movements is matter of routine for me. It wipes out the necessity of doing useless therapy or even referring for useless psych meds (unless the psychiatrist has been taking laxatives). Joe’s (not his real name) mother told me that it was common for him to go for a week or longer without a bowel movement. This had been happening since infancy. My first thought was about possible Hirschsprung’s Disorder. I asked if had ever been to a pediatric gastroenterologist. His mother (adoptive) said that she asked his pediatrician about one. The ped. prescribed a laxative and said that our town (population of 200,000) did not have a pediatric gastro. Several years passed with the child still having problems until mom found me. I asked her to take him to a pediatric gastroenterologist at the teaching hospital of her choice. She did. He is being treated now. No, it was not Hirschsprung’s. His behavior has improved. Poop is important.

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    Dr. Shilpa P. Saxena

    posted September 19, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    Thanks for your story. I, too, notice that a child’s bowel habits are very important to know as a condition for good health- especially if they have neuro-psychiatric symptoms or conditions relating to behavior, mood, energy and/or attention. For LWU members, the Garbage In: Garbage Out lecture goes into this in more detail so you can explore the connections that this intelligent “gastropsychologist” has found through thoughful experiences with his clients. Happy and healthy pooping to all!

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posted October 29, 2011 at 4:58 pm

This was a very good article. I know several people who have bowel movement issues and I recommend to them a product that I have successfully used every year since 2004 since I’m one of those with BM problems, well, use to have. The product is Colonix by This product works very well and I’m currently doing a cleanse now. It was a Godsend for me.

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Nompumelelo Ngwenya

posted December 23, 2012 at 11:56 am


My name is Nompumelelo Ngwenya I have problem I only go to the toilet once a week or not at all.I feel constipation my stools are hard sometomes when I go to the toilet.I think my bladder is affected also I don’t know what exaclty to drink or do.Can u please help.

Thank you very much for your time

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posted January 5, 2014 at 10:07 am

I have been suffering from diarrhea for a long time. Mostly it was loose stools, but in the last two weeks it has become extreme. I have been taking megadoses of probiotics, consuming fermented foods/drinks but nothing seems to help. I adopted the GAPS diet and have been drinking meat/chicken broth but there is still no relief. I have lost almost 10 lbs. and I am getting desperate. I have talked to my doctor in the past who is an alternative doctor about inflammation in my gut but so far I am not getting specific answers. Does the dr. have any suggestions?

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Rain Jones

posted May 7, 2014 at 11:50 am

I’ve always been a “once a week”er. but I’m coming up on day 23 now with no “evacuation” in site. I’ve tired all of the “natural” remidies with no luck. GI doc says nothing is wrong, yet I’m gaining mass and weight. Clueless here….

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posted June 7, 2014 at 9:18 pm

Good day! I know this is kinda off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could locate a captcha plugin for
my comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having difficulty finding one?
Thanks a lot!

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getting over a break up

posted August 11, 2014 at 7:36 pm

I was recommended this web site by my cousin. I am now not positive whether or not this publish is written via him as no one else understand such precise approximately my problem.

You’re amazing! Thank you!

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shahid zia

posted May 27, 2015 at 3:58 pm

hello every one i have read almost all comments and stories and i am very thankful to all of you , i was worried about this pooping problem but now i see that almost every 3 man or women on earth have either constipation or IBS problem . i have IBS issue i haven’t found any relief yet or any cure ,i am taking fibo twice a day but stool is loose which i don’t like and for diarrhea my defense system is very week so need help.

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shahid zia

posted May 27, 2015 at 4:02 pm

i have read almost all comments and i m very thankfull to all of you for sharing such stories but i am 23 years old and i have IBS problem i am taking FIBO daily but stool is still loose which i am not comfortable with i had tried CIPROFLEXACINE,NAVIDOT,ADACIP medicines but didnt help much i ma worried about thsi kindly help

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