When you work with me there will come a point where poo becomes a topic that we are 100% going to discuss.
I’ll probably phrase it slightly more professionally – I’ll ask you how many bowel movements you have a day or a week and what your stool looks like. In the beginning most people feel slightly uncomfortable talking about their bathroom habits but, once they get chatting, it all comes out fairly easily.
Your bowel movements are more important that you might think or give them credit for. You should probably pay more attention to them than you might have been, other than remarking about the stench that chases you down the hall way having dropped the kids off at the pool!
Have you ever heard the expression “you are what you eat”?
Well that’s not exactly true, “you are what you don’t poo” is closer to the truth.
Thinking about it, if it hasn’t left your system then it’s still inside you thus you are what you don’t poo and, if you’re not pooing or you’re not pooing frequently, then it’s time to figure out WHY.
Thankfully your poop is something that is fairly easy to read. It’s a great tell tail of what’s happening further up your digestive track. Changes in the colour, shape and texture of your stool can reveal signs of infection, digestive issues and in some cases your stool can indicate more serious health problems such as cancer.
Faecal matter is 75 percent water and 25 percent solid matter. The solid matter is made up of dead bacteria, indigestible food, toxic and inorganic substances. Generally speaking it takes three days for your food to pass through your system from ingestion to excretion however, we often find that food passes through your system either too quickly or too slowly this can affect the size, colour and texture of your stool.
A healthy poop should look like a torpedo, be easy to pass and it should be mid brown in colour.
It’s not just the shape and consistency of your poo that tells a story, the colour of your poo is another great indicator.
Mid brown: This is the target, the golden standard if you like. We all want our poops to be mid brown and look like mini torpedoes.
Red / reddy brown: There are a couple of things that could be going on here. One is that the red vegetables most notably the beetroots you had as part of last night’s dinner are coming though. Though if you haven’t eaten anything red recently then this colour poo is a sign that something more sinister is happening, such as upper gastrointestinal bleeding. If you think that’s the case now is the time to call your Dr. and book an appointment to get checked out! Now being right now and not some time next month!
Green: When I ask you if you eat your greens now is the time to really have a good think. Green poops can be the result of eating lots of dark green leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach. It can also be the result of adding spirulina to your morning shake. However, green poo can indicate an overuse of antibiotics, undigested bile and possible Crohn’s disease.
Yellow: No, this doesn’t mean that you have miraculously found a way to be the goose that lays golden eggs, though that would be pretty cool. Yellow poo or sand colour poo normally indicates issues with your gallbladder or parasitic infections namely Giardia.
White: If you have been busy popping the antacids (aluminium hydroxide) then this could explain your white or very light-coloured stool, however, something a little more sinister could be going on. White or light stool often indicated liver disease or a pancreatic disorder of some type.
Black: Chances are you visited your Doctor who having run a blood panel on your and finding you to be anaemic has asked you to take iron supplements which is the most likely reason that your poop is the colour of the night sky, however a diet rich in meat and upper GI bleeding can also cause this. If it’s the latter it’s time to pick up the phone and make a plan to see your Doctor.
Now we know what the colour is indicating we can take a look at shape.
Rabbit / Dear Dropping i.e lots of little lumps:
Your faecal matter is hanging out in your intestines too long, which means that water is being reabsorbed. A lack of dietary fibre can lead to these hard, pellet style lumps. Most likely caused by dehydration, stress, magnesium deficiency or a possible thyroid issue.
Floats and stinks:
The occasional stinky floater is nothing to be overly concerned about however if you often find yourself struggling to flush your poos away it could be an indication that your body is probably not absorbing fats as well as it should. This could also be the result of a malabsorption condition, weight loss drugs or over using products like olestra (synthetic calorie free cooking oils).
Hard and dry:
This guy is also hanging out in your intestines for far too long, your body is reclaiming the water allotted to the stool, however this type is generally down to being mildly dehydrated and can be a side effect of medications.
Pencil thin or ribbon shaped:
You may have a mass in your colon that may be obstructing the stools escape hatch. Pencil thin or ribbon shaped stool may be an indicator of colon cancer or polyps. If you find that your stool is frequently exiting looking like an old-school shoe lace or a ribbon then it’s worth visiting your Doctor for a check up.
Too liquid, often imitates a water fall:
Generally, this indicates that your stool is moving through the 30ft of digestive tract between your mouth and your anus faster than Usain Bolt and his 100m sprint … well maybe not quite that quickly but your poop is moving way too fast which means that water is not being absorbed. If this happens regularly, it’s most likely indicating severe inflammation, gut imbalances, intestinal permeability, possible IBS or Crohn’s Disease.
If nothings coming out then you’re constipated. The question is why? For most people this is caused by dehydration and a diet low in fibre. Some women who are oestrogen dominant or on the birth control may find that this is caused by excess oestrogen.
Constipation can cause a myriad of different health concerns primarily because the whole point of your bowel movement is to eliminate waste material such as toxins, dead cells and excess hormones. When these materials sit in your colon awaiting elimination for longer than expected your body starts to reabsorb and recirculate those should have been excreted toxins and hormones, which can lead to hormonal imbalances, fatigue and brain fog. You also run the risk of painful haemorrhoids from straining to get rid of the feeling of being perpetually full.
When to see your doctor
If you feel a burning sensation while your eliminating or if when you wipe your rear end you notice blood it’s time to head over to your doctor for a full investigation.
I could stop here but there is another area that I would like to touch on, in fact there are many but this one is worth noting.
Do you have any of the following?
- Unexplained constipation, diarrhoea, nausea or vomiting, gas / bloating or IBS type symptoms.
- Fatigue, exhaustion, depression or frequent feeling of apathy.
- Unexplained weight loss and never feel full after your meals.
- Grinding your teeth in your sleep
- Diagnosis of iron-deficiency anaemia
- Skin irritation, unexplained rash, hives, rosacea or eczema
- Have you ever travelled abroad and remember getting a dicky tummy, diarrhoea while you were abroad or even after you went for a swim in a river or lake while in your home country?
- Have you ever suffered food poisoning and your digestion have never quite been the same since?
I often find the clients who come to see me saying “yes” to most points on the list above find that they are harbouring unwelcome guests in the form of parasites.
Trouble with sleeping, mood changes, muscle pain and skin irritations can all be caused by parasites releasing toxins directly or indirectly into the bloodstream. These toxins can cause anxiety which often manifests itself in different ways. Grinding your teeth while you sleep is an indicator that your body is experiencing anxiety while you rest. When toxins interact with your neurotransmitters or blood cells they can cause mood swings or skin irritations.
How do you know if you have a parasite?
A simple stool test will revile the answer and let us know which little parasite you are providing a comfortable home for. Once we know who’s triggering the symptoms we can work out rectifying the situation calming down your system and putting you back in control.
So, as you can see your poo, poop, stool (whatever you like to call it) is just one chapter in the book of what’s going on inside your body. In most cases drinking more water and eating more fibre will really help you, however some things need to be looked at with trained eyes so If this article resonated with you and you believe that you may have something else happening within why not give me a call.