bowel movement

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

bow·el move·ment (BM),

Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012


The discharge of feces from the rectum.
Synonym(s): movement (3) , defaecation.
[L. defaeco, pp. -atus, to remove the dregs, purify]
Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing © Farlex 2012

bowel movement

Evacuation of feces from the gastrointestinal tract. The number of bowel movements varies in healthy individuals, some having a movement after each meal, others one in the morning and one at night, and still others only one in several days. Synonym: defecation


A persistent change in bowel habits should be investigated thoroughly because it may be a sign of cancer or inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract.

Bloody bowel movements may be caused by a variety of lesions in the upper or lower gastrointestinal tracts, including hemorrhoids, anal fissures, dysentery, bleeding diverticuli, arteriovenous malformations, inflammatory bowel diseases (such as ulcerative colitis), or cancers. Black (melenic) bowel movements may result from bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract but may be mimicked by other conditions, e.g., the use of iron supplements or bismuth-containing medications. Clay-colored stools are often seen in biliary obstruction. Constipation with a decrease in the caliber of stools may indicate a malignant obstruction of the large intestine.

Patient care

A history is obtained of the patient's usual bowel habits, and any change is documented. The patient is questioned and the stool is inspected for color, shape, odor, consistency, and other characteristics, as well as the presence of any unusual coatings or contents (mucus, blood, fat, parasites). Privacy is provided for the patient when using a bed pan, toilet, or bedside commode. The area should be ventilated or a deodorant spray used after the bowel movement to limit the patient's embarrassment and to reduce the discomfort of others sharing the area. The patient is taught the importance of fluid intake, diet, and activity to help prevent constipation, supportive therapies for diarrhea, and the importance of hand hygiene after toileting. The rationale for testing the stool for occult blood or other laboratory studies, if this is required, is explained.

See also: movement
Medical Dictionary, © 2009 Farlex and Partners

bowel movement

DEFAECATION. The normal frequency of bowel movement varies between three times a day and three times a week.
Collins Dictionary of Medicine © Robert M. Youngson 2004, 2005

Patient discussion about bowel movement

Q. Can pregnancy cause an increase in bowel movements? After very long years now I am 7 wks pregnant with my first child and I have noticed that I'm having more frequent bowel movements during this pregnancy. They are neither loose nor hard out of the ordinary. My husband is little bit afraid of what’s happening with me. I too fear of it. I don’t want to loose him. Has anyone else experienced this, and is this normal? Can pregnancy cause an increase in bowel movements?

A. It is nothing to worry maria. It’s a usual happening during pregnancy. Here I am 13 weeks pregnant with my second child and I too experience frequent bowel movements (2-4/day). It feels as if I am not gaining any weight b/c everything that goes in goes right out. I know this is okay. Here we can get an expert's opinion on this. So don’t worry and comfort your loving and caring husband. My best wishes for your healthy first baby.

More discussions about bowel movement
This content is provided by iMedix and is subject to iMedix Terms. The Questions and Answers are not endorsed or recommended and are made available by patients, not doctors.
References in periodicals archive ?
Liquids like water and juice add fluid to the colon and bulk to stools, making bowel movements softer and easier to pass.
This includes a previously regular resident who has a bowel movement less than three times per week and/or straining with more than 25% of bowel movements, or if a resident with chronic constipation is uncontrolled to the extent of fecal impaction removal.
The frequency of bowel movements among healthy people varies greatly, ranging from three movements a day to three a week.
When these byproducts move through too quickly, bowel movements are watery; this is called diarrhea.
The most frequent symptoms were difficult bowel movements (42%), flatal incontinence (34%), and fecal incontinence (19%).
Throughout the study, patients daily recorded how they felt related to abdominal pain/discomfort, bloating/distension, sense of incomplete evacuation, straining at stool, urgency of bowel movement, passage of gas and mucus and bowel habit satisfaction.
The researchers found that men who had fewer than one bowel movement per day in the 1970s were nearly three times as likely to develop Parkinson's disease as were men who had averaged one per day, and four times as likely as were men who averaged more than one.
Some have a hard time passing a bowel movement, others empty their bowels in inconvenient places, and many have both problems.
13, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- The time to first postoperative bowel movement after elective laparoscopic colorectal resection is shorter in those drinking coffee versus noncaffeinated tea, according to a study published in the August issue of Diseases of the Colon & Rectum.
Due to ageing, some of the body functions including bowel movement may appreciably reduce, causing constipation.
A few minutes after consuming the food, they experienced stomach ache, vomiting and loose bowel movement, all symptoms of possible food poisoning.
Haemorrhoids normally come about when you strain too hard when youre having a bowel movement. The veins around the anus become enlarged, and what initially starts off as a little pain may end up as bleeding every time you have a bowel movement.