It shouldn’t surprise you, but we all poop. Despite this universal knowledge, poop as a subject is so taboo (for some crazy reason) that we simply don’t address it. In today’s culture, it is sometimes easier to talk about sex than poop, which (in my humble opinion) talks a lot about our dysfunctional perspectives.
This is also the reason why most of us have no idea what happens in the normal and abnormal I-need-a-doctor-like-now I need a doctor when it comes to bowel movements.
And that is absolutely tragic. Poop is an indicator of health. The quality of your stool is the way your body indicates whether everything works well or if you need to be alert. That is why the questions related to your bowel movement are a basic element in the general medical history of all doctors.
So it’s time to start paying attention. It’s time to hear exactly what your body means.
What is a “normal” poop?
About 75% of feces are water, while the rest is a combination of live and dead fiber, cells, bacteria, and mucus. It can be considered that regular bowel movement is performed between feces that pass a maximum of 1 to 3 times a day to a minimum of 3 times a week.
When it comes to playing stools, always think of the four S’s: shape, size, smell, and shadow. Healthy stools should have the following characteristics:
- Eyeshadow: light brown to medium.
- Shape: S-shaped
- Fun fact: the shape really comes from the small intestine. Ideally, it should be soft and soft, which comes in a long portion and not in many smaller pieces. It should also have a uniform texture and sink slowly, which means it should not float or splash.
- Size: approximately 1 to 2 inches in diameter and approximately 18 inches in length.
- Smell: Now, I’m not here to tell you that it must smell good. However, it must smell natural and not too repulsive.
Poop Color And What it Means
Before asking, yes, the poop comes in different shades. And most of the time, color can provide a great idea of what your body is doing.
- Medium to light brown: Congratulations! You are perfectly normal
- Black or bright red: this may indicate possible bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract.
- Bright red stools indicate fresh blood, which may mean less bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract.
- Black stools may also appear as a result of certain supplements and medications or consume black licorice. If your stools are black, tar colored, go and be evaluated by your doctor.
- Green: This is a surprisingly common color change in stool. It may be due to the presence of bile pigment in the stool when you suffer from diarrhea. Loose movements cause food to travel rapidly through the intestines, which does not give the body enough time to break down the green bile pigment to its normal brown color.
- The green color can also be the result of consuming green foods such as green leafy vegetables or even green dyes.
- Yellow: may indicate a gallbladder problem, a giardia infection, or a condition known as Gilbert’s syndrome. If you see this color, consult a doctor.
- White or gray: this may indicate a lack of bile, which may suggest a very serious problem such as cirrhosis, pancreatic disorders, hepatitis, or even a blocked bile duct. Therefore, consult a doctor a.s.a.p.
Poop Shape And What They Mean
- Small pieces like hard-to-pass nuts: this indicates that your food has been in the intestine for a long time, which is causing the water in the stool to be reabsorbed. It is the lack of fiber in your diet that is causing the formation of small hard lumps such as pellets.
- Too Liquid: it moves through the intestines very fast, so water is not absorbed. This may be the result of a high fiber diet, a recent cleaning or even an infection.
- Pencil Thin: if the stool looks like thin strips, this may indicate a possible mass in the colon that is contracting them. It may be a possible indicator of colon polyps or cancer.
- Float and stink: indicates that your body is not absorbing fats properly. It can be the result of a malabsorption disorder, weight loss medications or even Olestra (read: fat-free calorie substitute).
- Sausage, but hard and dry: it remains in the intestine for a long time, which causes the water to be reabsorbed. It may be due to constipation, dehydration or even medications.
- Nonexistent: if you are not experiencing stool, you are probably constipated. Drink water and try to increase your intake of dietary fiber.
Poop isn’t just a fact of life, it’s also your body’s form of communication. Stop ignoring what your body has to say. It’s time to listen.