Go too often and you might put it down to something you ate. Go too little and you'll be scrambling for fibre. But how regular should your visits to the bathroom actually be?
According to gastroenterologist Katie Ellard from the Gastroenterological society of Australia (GESA), there is no required amount of time you need to spend on the porcelain each day.
"It's normal to go to the bathroom between three times a day and three times a week. But people really vary," says Ellard.
"There are some people quite comfortable going to the toilet once a week and that’s fine. The issue really is how comfortable people are. If people go three times a week but they’re really bloated and uncomfortable, and the bowel motion’s really hard by the third day, then that’s not good for quality of life and that circumstance will make them look to go more often.
"But if people come along and they’re worried that they’re going three times a day but they’re fine with it, you can reassure them. And if people come along and they’re going every 3 days but when they go, it’s easy, they don’t have to strain, the motion’s quite soft, that’s also absolutely fine.
"You look for changes in bowel habits like if someone normally went every day or every second day, and all of a sudden don’t go for a couple of weeks, then you’d be thinking about what’s going on."
And if you're someone who's holding it in because you're not a fan of using public restrooms, it's not a huge problem, adds Ellard. However, if you're someone with irregular bowel movements, you should visit the lavatory.
Previous research also found no link between constipation and colonic cancer.
"If you’re in a situation where you don’t answer the calls of stool – when you’re body tells you you need to go - you can end up being a bit constipated and the motions get harder. You may have to strain and push it out. " continues Ellard.
"If some people have trouble with their bowel habits, we really tell them, that’s the window for opportunity because of the possible it can become difficult. But It’s not like you do any permanent damage or leave toxins in the body."
So what should you do if you're getting a little constipated? The good news: working a little extra harder won't do any damage.
“if you really, really push, you can cause haemorrhoids which are veins that are at the back passage. They can become swollen and they can bleed. People are usually aware that they have them because they’re uncomfortable and that’s caused by pushing. So, it’s not a good idea to push all the time by any means but you’re not likely to do yourself harm if it’s just a very occasional situation," finishes Ellard.
To avoid uncomfortable exits from your rear end, it's important to stock up on fibre for a smooth egress. Check out these six tasty foods that are packed with fibre.