Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Poop
Written by: Linda Celauro
Not the most glamorous conversation, but something that really needs to be addressed nonetheless. Why? Because poop is a very state-of-the-art-way to find out a whole lot about your health.
According to Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, “all disease begins in the gut.”
The digestion process normally takes 24-72 hours – starting from when you eat to the time it takes for your food to journey through the esophagus, stomach, small and large intestine until finally, the time of the exit.
So What Is Poop Made Up Of?
For the most part, water (approximately 75%) and the rest of it is a combination of dead and living bacteria, mucus and cells. Poop should have the consistency of peanut butter.
How Often Is “Normal?”
This is widely debated and I’ve seen many different answers to this question. This can range from person to person and culture to culture. How much or how often you eat is also a consideration. A traditional approach suggests anything from 3 times per day to once every 3 days within the “normal” range. A holistic approach suggests at least once per day, preferably 2 or even 3 times per day – after each meal (the typical person eats 3 meals per day).
Is There An “Ideal” Poop?
Remember this – B.S. (Best Sh*t).
‘B’ is for brown, which is the ideal color, due to the bile secreted in our liver. ‘S’ is for shape, size, smell and sink. You should hear a “plop” when your poop hits the toilet water and it should sink. If the size is about 4-8 inches and resembles the shape of a snake and doesn’t’ smell too much, give yourself a cheer! In addition, normal poop requires no straining for elimination.
A handy reference guide is the Bristol Stool Chart:
Your “Ultimate” Poop Should Be:
- Type 4: Like a sausage or snake, smooth and soft.
- A type 3 or 5 is also acceptable.
- Type 1 and 2 is indicative of constipation, while a 6 or 7 is diarrhea.
Constipation is the result of the stool traveling too slowly. Adding in more fiber, drinking more water and exercising often helps. If not, it may be a signal to other problems.
Diarrhea, on the other hand, is a result of the stool passing too quickly, especially through the large intestine where much of the water gets absorbed. This can result from stomach viruses, food allergies, intolerances and digestive disturbances amongst other things. Regardless, chronic constipation or diarrhea is not normal.
What To Be On The Lookout For: Floating poop (usually) indicates a high-fat content, a possible sign of malabsorption.
Color may vary due to what foods you have consumed, medications you have taken and the amount of bile in your poop.
- Anything in the light to medium brown shade is normal.
- Green or yellow poop indicates food that has passed through the colon too quickly. It is a possible sign of a gallbladder issue, intestinal virus or bacteria infection.
- Red poop is often associated with hemorrhoids. However, it can also be a result of inflammatory bowel disease.
- Dark brown or black can indicate a serious problem in the upper GI tract such as bleeding.
Be clued into persistent changes, which can possibly spell trouble. If that is the case, see your healthcare professional.
Listen to your body and pay attention to what it is telling you. Look before you flush and make poop a priority.
References: Healthy Eating Manifesto
Certified Holistic Health Coach, Certified Weight Loss Specialist, Detoxification Specialist, and Motivational Speaker
at Savour Wellness
Linda Celauro is a Certified Holistic Health Coach, Certified Weight Loss Specialist, Detoxification Specialist and motivational speaker. She is also the author of “Healthy Eating Manifesto.”
Linda helps her clients nourish their mind and body for weight loss, optimal health and sustainable wellness transformations, by focusing on their uniqueness. She is a member of AADP and IAHC, where she is regarded as an expert in her field. To receive her healthy tips and newsletter, connect with her on her website.
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