Poo Health: How Your Waste Has A Face

You may not like discussing it but your bowel movements could be telling you something about your gastrointestinal (GI) health. The intestinal tract and surrounding gut is ground zero for a majority of immune system functions, so optimal GI health is essential to homeostasis, your systemic equilibrium.

The next time you take a peek at your number two creation, keep in mind some of these clues your poo could be telling you and the natural remedies that might help improve your move.

On the Clock

How many times you release a bowel movement really depends on your anatomy.

A study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology concludes on what may be determined as a normal evacuation,

“This study confirms that normal stool frequency is between three per week and three per day.”

Everyone is different, however traditional therapists lean on the side of more frequency meaning a cleaner house. As waste moves through your colon it is made up of unusable, sometimes toxic material but it also drags along the intestinal wall to slough off impeding “hanger ons” such as old fecal matter, minor growths and more toxins.

A Good One

An acceptable poop is one that resembles smooth sausage links. It is one that passes easily with little cleanup needed. Some feel achieving this is the best part of their day.

Try Not to Go to Pieces

When your stool passes in hard, clumped pieces chances are your system is dehydrated and you are constipated. When not enough water is consumed your body will use whatever it can to keep your organs protected. Therefore, water that would be used to maintain a healthy bowel movement is removed for more important functions and you are left with hard to pass stool. Constipation can also occur when taking certain medications.

Gastroenterologist, Dr. Anish Sheth, comments to Prevention magazine comments,

“…some people assume that if they go to the bathroom every day then they’re not constipated, but if your stool is consistently hard and comes out in pieces rather than a soft, single piece that passes without much effort, you may be constipated.”

Remedy: Stay hydrated with clean, fresh water. Fruit juice, smoothies, milk, coffee and any other consumable liquids other than water are not the same. In addition to drinking more water, if you are on medication talk to your doctor about stool softeners.

Color Change

Black or bright red stool may mean you are passing blood from something bleeding in your GI tract. This can be as benign as hemorrhoids, a reaction to medication such as Pepto-Bismol or red foods like beets, red cabbage, pomegranate or food dye. It could also be a more serious development such as an ulcer or even cancer.

Remedy: See your doctor if you are continually passing black or red stool.

Loose

Loose stool can be the result of a variety of factors including too much processed or natural sugar from foods like candy, cakes, wine or fruit. It is also a presentation for celiac disease, a condition where the intestines are unable to absorb proper nutrients often due to a gluten intolerance from foods like wheat, rye, barley and others.

According to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness as reported by Prevention, about 1% of the American population has celiac disease but it’s estimated that 83% don’t know they have it.

Remedy: If loose stool continues lay off sugars of all kinds and talk to your doctor about a possible celiac screening. A gluten-free diet may help reduce symptoms.

The Non-Sinker

Floating feces could mean you have more gas than average which is probably due to eating foods such as legumes, sprouts, cabbage and other gas producing foods. Medication can sometimes be a factor as well.

However, if you see a floater with an oil-slick like film on the toilet water surface it could be an indication your body may not be absorbing necessary fats.

Remedy: Add in fiber, good fats, and water to sink your floaters. Talk to your doctor if there is a continued presentation of these symptoms.

Too Thin

Pencil thin stool could mean you are in mid-constipation so drink more water however if it continues there could be a blockage not allowing for full evacuation.

Remedy: Talk to your doctor if thin stool is a constant.

Sulfur Egg Smell and/or Explosive Diarrhea

Poop that smells like sulfur or eggs accompanied by intense, explosive diarrhea could indicate a microorganism imbalance or parasite. We all live with harmless parasites and other organisms but when they overtake our gut there could be these stool symptoms but no other discomfort. A stool sample can determine if you need antibiotics to kill these interlopers.

Remedy: See your doctor for a stool sample or add probiotics to your daily supplement intake. A naturopathic doctor can also address intestinal challenges with botanical remedies.

You know your body best so if bowel movements drastically change and stay that way, try some of these remedies as well as check in with your physician. Don’t ignore what your body is trying to tell you.

Sources:

http://www.prevention.com/health/health-concerns/7-things-your-poop-says-about-you

http://www.menshealth.com/health/poop-health

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20205503

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