While we don’t really like to talk about it, we all occasionally have problems going to the bathroom. The need to go too much, or too little, can be worrisome and embarrassing. So, how often should you pass a bowel movement?\nHow often you go to the bathroom depends on many different factors including:\n\n\nAge\n\n\nDiet\n\n\nDaily activity levels\n\n\nIn fact, a regular bathroom schedule can range from three bowel movements a day to three a week. During healthy digestion, nutrients from the food we eat pass into the bloodstream, and the leftovers travel through your intestine into your colon. From there, water is removed and the waste is passed through your bowels within a day or two.\nEver wonder how often you should be having a bowel movement? Click To Tweet\nConstipation and Bowel Movements\nIf you feel like you are not going to the bathroom enough, you may be constipated.\nConstipation happens when you have less than three bowel movements a week. Fecal matter hardens while it sits in the colon. If you are having bowel movements where your stool is hard, dry, small, and painful to pass, you may be suffering from constipation.\nRELATED: Home Remedies for Constipation Relief\nThere are steps you can take to relieve constipation. Start by adjusting your diet to include foods that are high in fiber, which help you feel fuller longer and have more regular bowel movements. High-fiber foods include:\n\nWhole-grain breads and cereals\nFruits\nVegetables\nBeans\n\nAnother way to relieve constipation is to drink more fluids: Stick to water and avoid drinks that are high in caffeine, such as soda, coffee, and tea.\nDiarrhea and Bowel Movements\nUnlike constipation, diarrhea happens when you go to the bathroom too often. This happens when you have more than three or four bowel movements a day and your stool is loose and watery. Other symptoms of diarrhea include:\n\nCramps\nBloating\nBelly pain\nVomiting\n\nIf you have diarrhea, it is very important to stay hydrated. You should also avoid foods that are fatty, greasy, and high in fiber.\nWhen to See a Doctor About Bowel Movements\nAgain, it is perfectly normal to have irregular bowel movements every once in a while. If your bathroom schedule continues to be a problem, you may need to get help. Speak to your doctor if:\n\nYou are constipated for more than three weeks\nYou have diarrhea for more than two days\n\nIf you suffer from severe pain or blood in your stool, you should speak to your doctor immediately. Don’t be embarrassed or afraid to ask questions. If left untreated, both constipation and diarrhea can cause serious health concerns.\nLearn more by visiting the UPMC Digestive Disorders Center website.