I know, not the most sexy topic but poop is part of everyone’s bodily functions whether you find it to be a boring but necessary part of your routine OR you actually find it to be a somewhat satisfying part of your digestive process.
The main idea here, your poop is a direct link to what is going on in your gut!
So, what is poop exactly?
Poo is made up of undigested foods, protein, bacteria, salts and other substances that are produced and released by our intestines. Get this, you are not only unique in your DNA but also your poo. Everyone has their own unique size, shape and smell.
There are a few things to consider when deciding whether you have healthy or unhealthy poo.
What is healthy poop?
Are you wondering if your poo is normal? As I mentioned above, everyone has their own unique poo BUT there are a few general rules to keep in mind when assessing toilet bowl artistry.
A nice brown coloring is what you’re looking for. If you’re wondering exactly what shade of brown, you can use the poop emoji as a reference. Billirubin is what gives poo its brown color. This is the breakdown of red blood cells in the body and when this happens the result is bilirubin and the lovely shade of brown it produces.
Because poo travels through the intestines the expected shape is somewhat log-like. As you know this can change and when it does listen up because your gut is trying to tell you something.
You don’t want your poo too big or too small. Really, it should be a couple inches in length, comfortable and easy to pass.
Something between firm and soft consistency is normal. You definitely don’t want anything hard to pass or super loose.
LENGTH OF TIME
Really, it matters how long you’re in the bathroom. I have a feeling these days it’s longer than it was maybe 10 years ago or maybe it’s the same but just with a different source of literature. Rather than taking a magazine into the bathroom I think most people can get lost on their phones looking at social media.
A healthy poop should only take a minute or less to push out. That being said, if you’re spending more than 10-15 minutes in the bathroom and you’re not checking social media on your phone, there might be a problem.
On average, a person with a healthy digestive system will poop anywhere from every other day to three times/day. If you are having to use the bathroom less than every other day you may be constipated. Try consuming more water in your diet as a result you’ll get that log to float down river.
Did you know…most people are on a schedule and poop around the same time every day!
What in the heck is a Bristol Scale?
First of all it increases your knowledge of poop and it’s really easy and basic to understand.
Second, it’s broken down into 7 categories and the information it provides is based on a 2,000 person study.
Third, it gives a great visual of how and why different types of poo look or feel a certain way.
Type #1; Marbles: Hard and separate pieces of stool that are lumpy, hard to pass and look like nuts. Typically, this indicates constipation. You may be in the bathroom for up to 45 minutes with not much happening. This shouldn’t happen frequently, if it does typically the number one culprit is diet. You should increase your water consumption, drinking at least 40 ounces/day if not more. Next, eat more fibrous foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains such as brown rice, oats, quinoa, buckwheat, bulgar and barley. Lastly, it’s not part of your diet but can really help, MOVE…wake up those bowels!
Type #2; Caterpillar: Log-shaped but lumpy. This is typically another sign of constipation that should not be happening frequently. You may not stay in the bathroom as long but you might find yourself straining and having difficulty passing stool. Many people find themselves switching between type one and type two. Before I move onto type #3 it is worth suggesting that if constipation is not typical for you check your medications, are you taking any narcotics for pain or a recent surgery?
Type #3; Hotdog: Sausage-shaped, with some cracks on the surface. This is your normal or ideal poop. You should not be straining or have any pain. Really, you should feel satisfied as if everything was passed.
Type #4; Snake: Sausage or snake like shape that is smooth. This is also considered a normal or ideal poop. Type 3 and 4 are your “gold standard”, you should be having this type of poop every other day to three times/day.
Type #5; Amoebas: Blob like soft pieces that fall apart easily. Typically this type of stool has clear cut edges and is easy to pass. This type of poo can tell you a lot…maybe you’ve been stressed, maybe you ate something that didn’t agree with you, maybe you need more fiber in your diet. If this type of poop is normal for you and has been long-term for some it’s an indication of irritable bowel syndrome, maybe you have an intolerance to lactose or you are unable to tolerate the artificial sugars in mints or gums.
Type #6; Soft Serve: Fluffy and mushy with ragged edges, this isn’t quit diarrhea but very soft stools. Regular loose stools can be a problem. For many it can mean you’re not properly absorbing vitamins and minerals, this leads to deficiency. Again, this might be a sign that you ate something that didn’t agree with you or maybe you have a lactose intolerance. This could be medication or antibiotic induced but it can also mean that you may have some food sensitivities. Lastly, this also might indicate that you have some type GI health issues such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
Type #7; Jackson Pollock (an American Painter 😂): Liquid consistency with no solid pieces. In plain words…you’ve got the runs! Yup, this is diarrhea, no doubt about it. This type can very similar to type #6 but just more severe. If you have diarrhea longer than 4 days or you’re running to the bathroom every couple of hours your chances for dehydration increase. Adding lemon and a shake of salt to your water can help increase electrolytes, eating more bananas, avocados and potatoes can add potassium and magnesium to your diet.
If this is out of the ordinary for you think about where have you been and what have you been drinking. Have you traveled outside of the US, did you drink contaminated water when camping. Other things to consider, new medications or antibiotics. If this seems to be normal for you are you suffering from food intolerances or food sensitivities? Are you suffering from some type of GI issues such as irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis?
What does your poop color mean?
Yes, we are talking poop and rainbows…well not exactly rainbows but not everyone’s poop in a lovely brown. So what does the color of your poo mean?
If you happen to be taking iron supplements, you ate licorice or you’re taking bismuth medications (such as pesto-bismol) then you might experience black stools. If non of these apply to you then you may have a upper gastrointestinal bleed. That requires medical intervention.
Believe it or not, hints of green are actually represent a normal stool. But if your stool has gone from brown to full green it can mean one of two things. Either you’ve eaten a bunch of green foods to your diet like spinach. Have you ever noticed if you add spinach to a beautiful smoothie forget it, it turns green right away. Or your poo is passing through the intestines too fast. It’s not able to pick up as much billirubin on its journey to the other end.
PALE, WHITE, OR CLAY COLORED
This typically means that your poop is lacking bile. Are you wondering what bile is? It’s a digestive fluid that is stored in your gallbladder and excreted by your liver. It aids in digestion of the lipids in the small intestines. You may have a duct blocked if your poop is dis-colored and bile isn’t getting excreted as it should.
I’m sure you all have this one down…yes blood! Hemorrhoids or a lower gastrointestinal tract bleed could be the cause of your bleeding. Hopefully it’s one of the lesser problems like you ate too many beets, cranberries, red gelatin or you drank too much tomato juice.
Too much fat in your diet and unable to absorb it? You might be experiencing greasy, stinky, yellow stools. Consequently, you may not be absorbing fat properly is celiac disease, a perfect example of your body unable able to absorb adequate amounts of nutrients.
What should you do now?
Consider the following:
Check your medications; are they causing constipation or diarrhea?
Change your diet; are you drinking enough water, are you eating enough fruits, vegetables and whole grains?
Move; are you moving your body? Walk the block twice, take the stairs at work, park far out in the parking lot, exercise.
Do you have a true bleed or is it something you ate?
Do you need help figuring out food intolerances and food sensitivities?
Finally, If your symptoms are severe, persist with the above interventions and/or cause you pain certainly you should seek the attention of your physician.
Don’t forget if you believe you may have food intolerances or food sensitivities I can help you uncover these through food sensitivity testing and a short-term elimination diet. To calm down any inflammation is the main goal so you can have better poops!
Tell me below, have you ever used the Bristol stool chart before? Have you used this to help you improve your health? Drop me a line below.