Your poo may be trying to tell you something. Are you flushing away the answer?
In all seriousness, faeces is one of the most underrated and valuable ways to see the state of your body’s GI health. But most people aren’t jumping to examine things after they go. We get it – it’s not exactly fun to examine (or pretty). But with the popularization of the book What’s Your Poo Telling You (not to be confused with Everybody Poops 410 Pounds a Year), featuring illustrations of different types of poo and explanations by a genuine medical professional, this is a topic that is trending. Everything comes down to poo!
Here are the things that matter when it comes to poo:
Pet owners and parents tend to understand poo discoloration can mean a call to the vet or pediatrician. But the color of your faeces can tell you what’s happening in your own body, too. If your stool is brown, it’s normal. If it’s white, red, black, or green, it could be a problem. But what about those times you eat too many beets or spinach (look at you being healthy!)? Wait to see if the color trend continues for more than a couple days. If it takes longer than three (the amount of time it takes for your food to be eliminated), then you should see your doctor. If your stool is black, it can mean internal bleeding. Don’t wait. Get to a doctor right away!
There are plenty shapes – ranging from those that indicate something non-dangerous (pebble-like means you need more fiber and water in your diet) to not-so-normal (watery diarrhea). Check out the shapes in this handy infographic and pay attention to trends. When you take note of these variances, you can change your diet and possibly introduce prebiotics or probiotics to assist gut digestion. One day, your poop may be normal, and the next day, it’s less than normal. But if you have something like diarrhea for a few days, see your doctor. At the very least, you’ll need to keep very hydrated.
OK, no one’s poop smells like roses (not even yours). But stool that’s overly smelly could be linked to stomach bugs like giardia, Crohn’s disease, or Celiac disease. The earlier you notice this, the sooner you can start treating the problem.
If your poop’s doing the backstroke – floating on top of the water, in other words – it could be normal, or you could have a fat malabsorption problem. This is when you should also look for other signs that aren’t so normal. Does it also smell extremely foul? Are you losing weight without trying? You may not be getting all the nutrients you need.
The frustrating thing about many of these points is that often there are things you’ll notice that could be normal or abnormal. There are often many variations in the average person’s stool (especially with a varied diet or changing medications), and there’s only so much your eyes and ears can do.
The solution? Start testing your stool. The GI Effects Comprehensive Stool Profile will show you whether your recent GI discomfort is related to anything from IBS to Inflammatory Bowel Disease. On top of that, you’ll learn about how well your digestive system is breaking down crucial nutrients, you’ll learn about how well your gastrointestinal microbiome is functioning, and you could discover the keys to enhancing your future GI health.
Once you have the answers you can start taking control of your digestive health. Eating right, drinking plenty of water, and getting enough exercise all contribute to healthy stool. But if there’s an underlying condition preventing you from feeling your best, it’s best to know the answers. And everything comes down to poo.
Image Source: Pixabay