Topic summary contributed by volunteer(s): Charlie

The form, frequency, and transit time of bowel movements may play an important role in colon health. Those with lower fecal pH (from a diet high in fiber) have less risk of developing colorectal cancer. Larger bowel movements rid the body of excess estrogen and excess bile. Women who have more frequent bowel movements appear to be at lower risk of breast cancer, which may be because bile acids absorbed from our intestines concentrate in the breast and have an estrogen-like tumor promoting effect. A minimum of 200 grams of fecal output (about a half pound) per day is the goal for cancer prevention. The healthy bacteria in our colon may even help us control our weight, so it’s important to keep our gut flora happy.

Fiber from whole foods can prevent diverticulosis, constipation, and hiatal hernias, heartburn, GERD. High fiber diets such as traditional plant-based diets can lead to two to three healthy bowel movements each day, and with enough fiber, one should be able to sit in any position and have a comfortable bowel movement. Prunes were found to be more effective than fiber supplements in increasing spontaneous bowel movements. Foods high in antioxidants may also help increase stool size. Moreover, the elimination of all dairy products may cure almost all cases of childhood constipation. Eating meat and processed foods may increase one’s risk for conditions such as diverticulosis. Fat blocking drugs and certain fish can cause anal leakage.

For substantiation of any statements of fact from the peer-reviewed medical literature, please see the associated videos below.

Image Credit: Charles Deluvio / Unsplash. This image has been modified.

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