Digestive Health

10 February 2009

Healthy toilet habits

This is a part of one's day which most people don't really think about much. But wait until something goes wrong with your digestive system or urinary tract.

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Margot remembers one of the things that irritated her the most about her ex-husband, was the hours he spent in the toilet. As they only had one bathroom in the house, this frequently caused others in the family to be late for school or work.

How often do you go to the toilet? How often should you go to the toilet?
This differs from person to person. Most adults pass 1-1,5 litres of urine a day, which usually involves at least 4 visits to the toilet, unless they have a bladder infection.

When it comes to passing stools, there are no fixed rules about how often this should happen. Some people go three times a day, others once in two days. If you become constipated, however, it is time for action, as this can cause serious diseases on the long run, such as piles and colon cancer.

Things to remember

  • Go when you feel the urge to urinate or pass a stool. A full bladder is more susceptible to bladder infections and the suppression of bowel movements can lead to constipation.
  • Drink enough fluids as it softens stools and cleanses your body.
  • Laxatives are not long term solutions to constipation.
  • Eat enough fibre in your diet as this relieves and prevents constipation.

"There is only one immutable law in life – in a gentleman’s toilet, incoming traffic has right of way.” Hugh Leonard

 

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Digestive Health Expert

Dr. Estelle Wilken is a Senior Specialist in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology at Tygerberg Hospital. She obtained her MBChB in 1976, her MMed (Int) in 1991 and her gastroenterology registration in 1995.

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