Bowel Transit Time
Bowel transit time is simply the amount of time (hours) it takes for a meal to travel from the mouth, through the digestive tract and for its waste by-products to be eliminated through a bowel movement.
It can vary a great deal from person to person due to dietary habits, age, climate, exercise habits, immobility, medications and so on. Due to these multiple variables, a general bowel transit time for the general public can not be determined.
It is clear however, that a healthy person should have a bowel transit time ranging from 8 to 14 hours. The end results should be two to three loose bowel movements a day. People who have high fiber diets, are in good physical shape and are on no medication with constipating side effects are most likely to have a healthy bowel transit time.
There are several ways to measure your transit time. Each requires that you swallow something that can be tracked or traced as it travels through your digestive system or can be seen upon elimination.
Bowel Transit Time Home Test
The simplest test is one you can do at home and involves less digestible foods such as kernel corn or beets. You first avoid eating the chosen food for a week or so prior to the test.
Note the time you eat the chosen food and then begin to monitor your stools for the appearance of the food. The time between when you ingested the food to the time it first appears in your stool and stops appearing in your stool is your bowel transit time range (i.e. range 8-14 hours).
Bowel Transit Time Dye Test
The dye test method can also be done at home and requires that you swallow a capsule containing an indigestible dye. Note the time that you swallowed the dye capsule and then monitor your stools, looking for the red dye to appear.
The time between taking the capsule and the red dye appearance in your stool and disappearance in your stool is your bowel transit time range (i.e. range 8-14 hours).
Bowel Transit Time Pellet Test
The pellet test requires x-rays and therefore medical assistance will be necessary. You swallow small indigestible pellets prior to having an x-ray of your abdomen taken. The pellets will show as white spots or blotches in the x-ray. This process takes several days and requires that additional x-rays be taken over the testing period.
The amount and location of the pellets helps your physician measure your personal bowel transit time. Due to the inconvenience and inconsistency of this method, pellet testing is most often done for measurement of bowel transit time in the large intestine with patients suffering with severe constipation.
The Purpose Of Measuring Bowel Transit Time
Bowel transit time tests are done by health care practitioners to better understand and evaluate abnormalities in patients. It is not a test that is often done due to the many variables that can affect test results.
If you are doing a home test you may want to consider doing it once a month for several months. Your personal bowel transit time may vary due to food intake, changes in exercise, menstrual cycles, seasonal changes etc.
Methods to Improve Bowel Transit Time
Bowel transit time can and should be improved upon if you are facing any kind of digestive discomfort or illness. Many health practitioners believe the bowel must be cared for first, before true healing can begin.
The theory is that the slower the transit time, the more toxins from your large intestine (waste by-products) can be absorbed into your bloodstream. The ill effects of these toxins (auto intoxication) can range from headaches, to fatigue, bloating, gas, irritability, memory loss, rashes, weakened immune system, weight gain and so on.
When attempting to improve your bowel transit time there are several approaches that can be taken.
Below they are listed in order of importance, but all are vital to becoming a truly healthy person.
- Cleanse the colon regularly with an herbal cleansing program.
- Increase your daily fiber intake to 25-30 grams daily.
- Begin an exercise program.
- Consider modifying your diet to include proper food combining.
- Drink ½ your body weight in ounces of purified water daily.
- Listen to your body’s signals regarding bowel movements, don’t delay the urge.
- Eliminate use of chemical laxatives, they reduce colon muscle tone and are addictive.
- Eat meals on a regular schedule.
- Stop eating before you are full; your brain signals the feeling of fullness ten minutes after you are actually full.
- Reduce portion sizes to the size of your fist.
Bowel Transit Time Summary
Good bowel transit time is a critical component of a healthy person’s lifestyle. A slow bowel transit time increases the risk of toxicity, anal fissures, hemorrhoids, fatigue, constipation, bloating, gas, Diverticulitis, and weight gain.
A healthy bowel transit time (8-14 hours) reduces toxin absorption, bloating, gas, indigestion, parasite infection, and the chances of disease development in the colon.
Bowel transit time can be tested in the comfort of your own home and done so on a regular basis. Improving bowel transit times can be done through colon cleansing, dietary modifications and several other at home methods without major life altering changes. The difficulties with any efforts to improve bowel transit time far out way the risks of doing nothing at all and developing disease.