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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I can't find any studies on the link between early dinner time and efficient bowel evacuation. Maybe this is one reason why IBS-C / Gas / Leaky Gas is so poorly understood. Eating dinner earlier and diet has made a big difference to evacuation time for me so I hope this post helps those with this condition.

There are a lot of estimations for total gut transit time. Some say 12 to 14 hours; others 2 or 3 days. Transit time is highly variable and a lot depends on diet but in terms of management, the longer the fast during the night, the better the digestion and evacuation the next morning.

Assuming normal bowel evacuation time is daily and in the morning after breakfast, transit time would be the total time that breakfast, lunch and dinner become stool the next day. For those of us with constipation and gas predominant IBS, how we manage our transit time has a huge effect on IBS symptoms.

Constipation isn't always IBS. Some otherwise healthy people routinely experience constipation. It's not particularly embarrassing for them because there are few symptoms and it has no real effect on their work or home life.

For many of us, constipation is always associated with maldigestion of starches and vegetables, incomplete evacuation and gas, and this has a devastating effect on our lives.

If the average person eats their dinner at 9.00 pm, and assuming their total gut transit time is 14 hours and bowel evacuation time is scheduled at 8.00 am the next morning, then they will be attempting full defecation before their dinner has fully digested. Breakfast and lunch should be totally digested, but not their dinner. Possibly part of their dinner has become stool residue - for instance, quickly digested fruit - but not the remainder. Generally though, this won't bother a healthy person. They may be partially constipated from this remaining stool, but if there is no malabsorption, the stool will simply be constipating. Chances are they won't experience any symptoms at all apart from the constipation itself.

For those of us with IBS-C / Gas, any maldigestion or malabsorption will result in gas. That gas will either be part of the stool or separate from it. Gas is painful to hold in after any length of time and will find its way out eventually, whether we want it to or not. Ideally we want to void all stool and gas in the colon at a regular set time after breakfast.

This is why transit time is so important. We should be reinforcing a regular evacuation time after breakfast, ideally. This is an ideal time to go because of the benefit of the long fasting of the previous night.

Simple experimenting will give you a good idea of your transit time. Try not to snack late at night and have dinner as early as possible, without being too hungry before bed. If your dinner is at 9.00 pm and evacuation is still long and difficult the next morning, try an earlier time, say 8.00 pm and see if this makes a difference. Aim for 7.00 pm or even 6.00 pm - the earlier the better. This is hard to do if you're a nightowl because you'll be hungry in about 4 hours after you last ate. Try having a heavier breakfast and lunch, with plenty of proteins, fats and healthy snacks and make yourself as active as possible so that you're tired, reasonably full and ready for bed by 10.00 pm.

The more things you get right the quicker and easier evacuation will be. Diet is all important and an ideal diet is one which is non-irritating to the colon but still has enough fibre to move things along. Low FODMAP and low starch fruits and vegetables (with negligible grains) will cause the least flatulence. Intestinal gas also delays transit time.

Alcohol can irritate the colon and cause constipation.

I've posted here about the link between food opioids from wheat and milk and constipation.
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