Under the Hood

Toilet Habits In America: Is That Normal?

In a perfect world, we'd always be at home whenever we needed to have a bowel movement. But if the urge strikes and we're nowhere near our own bathroom, how comfortable are we using a public facility? And is it normal to be afraid of using public restrooms? 

According to a recent survey of 2,000 people conducted by Healthline, 96.1 percent of women and 91.4 percent of men are comfortable pooping in their homes, the baseline for comfort. In a family member’s home, 68.5 percent of men and 63.2 percent of women felt comfortable defecating. This percentage is nearly halved when compared to a significant other’s home, with 42.8 percent of men and 29.4 percent of women feeling comfortable.

restroom According to a recent survey, less than 25 percent of men and women feel comfortable defecating in a public restroom in a bar. Pixabay.com

The location men and women felt the least comfortable pooping outside of their home was the bar. Of those surveyed, 23.8 percent of men and 22.4 percent of women were comfortable enough to defecate at the favorite watering hole. On average, participants face this dilemma of where to poop about once per day. However, it should be noted what is considered to be “normal” can range from three bowel movements per day to three a week.

Additionally, you may be more or less likely to defecate in your significant other’s home based on where you live. Nationwide, the Northeast was the most comfortable pooping in their significant other’s home (40.6 percent) while the South was the least comfortable (34.2 percent), according to the survey. The survey also suggests Southerners may be the least comfortable because they live in the region with the lowest percentage of normal bowel movements (49.7 percent).

General discomfort in having bowel movements could also affect people's willingness to use bathrooms outside their homes. An uncomfortable bowel movement could be caused by food intolerances and particular health conditions. Of the 2,000 participants, nearly one in four had a food allergy or intolerance, with the most common food allergies and intolerances including dairy, wheat, eggs, corn, and soy.

More than one in five were diagnosed with a health condition that could affect their bowel movements, including heartburn/acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), ulcerative colitis and celiac disease.

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, 60 million people in the United States are affected by digestive diseases. If you are worried you may have digestive health issues, visit your gastroenterologist.

Read More: The Surprising Way Cinnamon May Improve Your Digestive Health

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