Let’s Talk About Poop!

everyone poopsEveryone poops. But rarely does anyone talk about it. And why should we talk about it? Because poop can be a great indicator of your health and wellness, if you stop to look at it. So today we’re going to talk about poop and what yours might be telling you about your health and wellness.

Your poop can indicate the speed of your digestion: too fast, too slow, or just right? If your digestion is moving too fast you may not be absorbing all of the nutrients from your food. If it’s moving too slowly you may be reabsorbing toxins.

How Often Should You Go?

How often you poop is a first indicator of your health. If your health and digestion is in order, you are probably going one to three times a day. I once had friend who was only going two or three times a week and had no idea that was not “normal”, because really, who talks about how often they poop?

Are You Constipated?

All Exlax jokes aside, if you are going #2 less than once a day you are most likely constipated. This could be because your digestion is moving too slowly, you aren’t drinking enough water, or you aren’t eating enough fiber (think fruits and vegetables.)

There are several downsides of constipation, but one of the big ones is that poop contains toxins that your body is trying to eliminate. So the longer your poop sits in your colon without being eliminated, the more time your body has to reabsorb those toxins. That is not good.

Are You Going Too Often?

If you are going more often than three or four times a day, or have chronic loose stools, you may have an over-active digestive system. This could be caused by too much stress in your life. The stomach and digestive tract are two places that stress can present itself.

Or you may have a food allergy, sensitivity, or gluten intolerance. Try an elimination diet to discover food allergies, or check with your doctor or naturopath.

What Does Your Poop Look Like?

Bristol Stool ChartNext time you go poop, take a look in the bowl before you flush. It should be well formed and the consistency of a banana or a snake, with a curve to it.

This Bristol Stool Chart (at right) gives a general overview of what poop looks like. Types 1-3 indicate constipation. Types 4-5 are considered “normal”. Types 6-7 are indicative of loose stool or diarrhea.

If your poop is pencil-thin, that could indicate of a blockage or obstruction in the colon, and should be checked out by your doctor or naturopath.

What Color Is Your Poop?

It should be brown in color. If it’s green or yellow and you’ve not been eating too many green veggies or blueberries (which can make it green) or turmeric (which can turn it yellow), it could indicate a bile disorder. If it’s black it could contain dried blood. If you’ve recently eaten beets, it may be red or purple, but if you see fresh, red blood you likely have hemorrhoids.

To learn more about what the color of your poop means, and what Ayurvedic Medicine has to say about it, check out this article by Ayurvedic specialist, Dr. John Douillard.

Why Does Poop Smell?

Poop is comprised of about 75% water and 25% solid matter. 30% of that solid matter is bacteria which produces gas and causes the smell. The odor of your poop can change depending on your diet. But if it’s particularly bad smelling and you can’t correlate it to something you ate, it could indicate a medical condition. If you’re concerned, consult your naturopath or doctor.

Icky Poop Factoid

New British research says that one out of six cell phones contain fecal mater…eeew! Just one reason not use your cell phone on the toilet, and to wash your hands after using the bathroom.

That may be more info than you ever wanted to know about poop, but at least now you know what an important indicator of health it can be. So the next time you go poop, do your self a favor, take a look in the bowl and see what it’s telling you about your health and wellness. You just might be surprised!

2 Responses to “Let’s Talk About Poop!”

  1. Laren Watson

    Great article Heidi! So important to check out your poop and it’s true that many people don’t know what is healthy or normal. For me, I am much more regular if I exercise daily which wasn’t mentioned in the constipation section. It’s very important to keep your body moving to help get the digestive system moving! Thanks for the great info.

    • Heidi

      Thanks for the comment Laren, you are SO right about the importance of exercise, and I should have included that in my post. Thanks for the great reminder of how exercise can help you to stay “regular”. 🙂


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