Have you ever wondered how much you poop in a lifetime or a year or even a day? How much does poop weigh? Take a look at the answers, based on scientific studies.
What Is Normal?
Pooping, more properly termed “defecation,” varies widely from one individual to another and depends on several factors. These factors include age, sex, where you’re at in your monthly cycle (for females), your health, and your diet. For example, women poop less often and have harder stools just after ovulation. Overall, men produce softer stools than women and may use the bathroom more often.
Of these factors, the one with the biggest impact on your poop is your diet. Eating foods high in fiber improves colon health, decreases the risk of cancer, and also greatly increases the amount of fecal material you produce. So, if you eat a lot of fiber, you’ll make more poop and may use the bathroom more often than someone who avoids vegetables.
How Much Do You Poop in a Lifetime?
So, keeping in mind differences between people and even the variability one person experiences, here are some numbers:
- On average, a healthy person has 1.2 bowel movements per day. But, the “normal” number of times someone uses the bathroom varies widely.
- According to one source, the average person makes around 14 ounces (400 grams) of poop per day. Another source, (Rose et al.) comparing fecal output from people all over the world, gives an average output of 128 grams per day.
- However, the range of values for healthy individuals is between 51 and 796 grams per day!
- People who eat a diet high in fiber produce about twice as much poop as those who do not.
- The average healthy person produces around 312 ounces (142 kilograms) of poop per year. That is about the same weight as the average gorilla.
- Over the course of a normal lifetime, you make around 25,000 pounds (11,300 kilograms) of poop. Women make more than men because they live longer, on average.
- If you don’t eat a lot of fiber, your stool is about 70% solids and 30% water. If you eat a fiber-rich diet, those numbers switch and your stool is closer to 70% water and 30% solids. Fiber absorbs water, bulks up feces, and makes stool softer.
Do You Lose Weight When You Poop?
When you have a bowel movement, you do lose a bit of weight, but probably not as much as you think. A single trip to the toilet reduces your weigh anywhere from 72 grams (about 2.5 ounces) to as much as 470 grams (about 1 pound). While this means you can lose a pound just by going to the bathroom, it’s just a number on the scale. It isn’t the same as actually losing a pound of body weight, since the mass of fat and muscle is unchanged. As soon as you drink water or eat a meal, that weight comes right back.
- Aichbichler, B.; Wenzl, H.; Ana, C.A. S.; Porter, J.; Schiller, L.; Fordtran, J. (1998). “A comparison of stool characteristics from normal and constipated people.” Digestive Diseases and Sciences. 43 (11):2353–2362. doi:10.1023/a:1026699525487
- Bender, D.A.; Bender, A.E. (1997). Nutrition: A Reference Handbook (1st ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
- Chen, H.L.; Haack, V.S.; Janecky, C.W.; Vollendorf, N.W.; Marlett, J.A. (1998). “Mechanisms by which wheat bran and oat bran increase stool weight in humans.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 68 (3):711–719. doi:10.1093/ajcn/68.3.711
- Davies, G.; Crowder, M.; Reid, B.; Dickerson, J. (1986). “Bowel function measurements of individuals with different eating patterns.” Gut. 27 (2):164–169. doi:10.1136/gut.27.2.164
- Rose, C.; Parker, A.; Jefferson, B.; Cartmell, E. (2015). “The Characterization of Feces and Urine: A Review of Literature to Inform Advanced Treatment Technology.” Crit Rev Environ Sci Technol. 45 (17): 1827-1879. doi:10.1080/10643389.2014.1000761