It’s more about whether your bowel movements are consistent (Photo: Getty Images)

Asking For A Friend is the series where we answer the questions you don’t want to ask.

If you’re like my friends and I, you won’t be ashamed to talk about your bowel movements to some degree.

But let’s face it, in wider circles most of us are afraid to admit we poop.

We are so embarrassed that we are afraid to talk to people if we think something is wrong.

am I giving up too much? Too few? Is it this color/consistency?

The answer is that it just depends – some people poop twice a day, others twice a week. We are all different!

There are some telltale signs of a healthy bowel movement (Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

according to Dr Hana Patel, a family physician specializing in women’s health, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to how often you should drop off the kids.

However, she tells that if you notice a significant change, you may need to question things.

“As a general practitioner, I have seen patients who are safe for them and open their bowels [aka, have a number two] once every few weeks, while it is normal for other patients to open their bowels up to six times a day,” says Dr. Hana

“If there are any changes in your normal bowel movements, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about this, as conditions such as intestinal infections, irritable bowel syndrome, and intestinal disorders can cause these types of problems.”

That said, there are a number of ways you can tell if your bowel movements are particularly unhealthy.

“It shouldn’t hurt to open the bowel and you shouldn’t strain,” says Dr. hana

“Stools can be different colors, but most often they are brown.

“If your stools are a different color than usual, or if you notice that you are passing blood or mucus in your stools, you should discuss this with your GP as this could mean you have an undiagnosed medical problem.”

If you want to know more about your bowel movements, you can consult the Bristol Stool Chart, a visual guide that shows the different types of stools.

“The guide helps people understand what their bowel movements are like and describe it to a doctor,” says Dr. hana

Type 3-4 is usually normal in shape and these feces are soft and easy to pass.

“Type 5 is prone to diarrhea, but it can also be normal in some people.”

There are a number of reasons why you might notice a difference in your bowel movements, and not all of them are frightening or chronic medical conditions.

“Our bowel pattern and type of stool depends on what we eat and drink, how much fluid we drink and how we feel.”

There you have it: It’s not the amount you poop that indicates your health, but the consistency of your bowel movements.

If you’re concerned, let go of the embarrassment and talk to your GP – we literally all do.