Change in bowel habits, Bowel pattern, Abnormal bowel habits
Bowel habits constitute the time, size, amount, consistency and frequency of bowel movements throughout the day. A change in bowel habits is any alteration in regular bowel function. Bowel movements normally occur at approximately the same time each day. The feces (stool) itself should be soft enough so they can be passed without straining.
Changes in our regular pattern – constipation or diarrhea – happen from time to time. However, if an altered pattern persists over time, it may indicate an underlying health problem and should be evaluated by a doctor. Bowel habits reflect one’s diet, fluid intake, exercise pattern and age among other factors.