There's not a generally accepted clinical definition for frequent bowel movements. Most people consider several bowel movements a day to at least be unusual, particularly if this pattern is a change from what's normal.
However, if nothing else about your bowel movements is different — no loose, watery stools, abdominal cramping or bloody stool — the change is probably not a sign of any illness.
See your doctor if more-frequent bowel movements are also accompanied by any of the following signs or symptoms:
- Changes in the consistency, volume or appearance of your bowel movements, such as repeatedly passing narrow, ribbon-like stools or loose, watery stools
- Abdominal pain
- Blood, mucus or pus in your feces
Nov. 04, 2014
- Wilkinson JM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Sept. 9, 2014.
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- Evaluation of the GI patient. The Merck Manual Professional Edition. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gastrointestinal_disorders/approach_to_the_gi_patient/evaluation_of_the_gi_patient.html?qt=frequent bowel movement&alt=sh. Accessed Aug. 24, 2014.
- Understanding celiac disease. American Gastroenterological Association. http://www.gastro.org/patient-center/digestive-conditions/celiac-disease. Accessed Sept. 9, 2014.
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- What is hyperthyroidism? American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. http://empoweryourhealth.org/endocrine-conditions/thyroid/about_hyperthyroidism. Accessed Sept. 9, 2014.
- IBS: A patient's guide to living with irritable bowel syndrome. American Gastroenterological Association. http://www.gastro.org/patient-center/digestive-conditions/irritable-bowel-syndrome. Accessed Sept. 9, 2014.