Let’s Talk About Poop! Not Sure About Your Health? Just Check the Toilet!
I know it sounds gross, but one of the best ways to gauge your overall health and wellness is to monitor your bathroom performance, specifically your stool. Its shape, size, color and other details can actually tell you a lot about your body, and it can shed light on dietary changes you should make, supplements you should take and other steps you need to take to get yourself healthy. It can also give you important clues about possible infections, digestive issues and, in some cases, even cancer.
Everyone Poops: Let’s Talk About Poop
But… lets call it stool. Stool is mostly water, though it also contains fiber, bacteria, dead cells, mucus and more. To evaluate what your stool says about your health, you need to look at a number of things, including the colors, the shape, the size, the odor and even the sound it makes hitting the water.
In the medical world, there are 7 classified types of stool. Here’s how they break down:
- Type 1 – Small nuggets, like nuts, that are hard to pass
- Type 2 – Lumpy, sausage shaped log
- Type 3 – Sausage shaped log with cracks on the surface
- Type 4 – Smooth, soft and shaped like a thin sausage or snake
- Type 5 – Soft nuggets with defined edges that are easy to pass
- Type 6 – Soft, mushy nuggets with ragged edges
- Type 7 – Watery stool with no solid pieces
Types 3, 4 and 5 are considered healthy; these are what you should aim for. If your stool doesn’t look like this on a regular basis, it could mean something’s amiss in your body.
How to Evaluate Your Stool
Once you’ve identified the type of stool you’re producing, it’s time to evaluate a number of other factors, like it’s ease of passage, its length, its smell and more.
Here’s what to be on the lookout for:
- Color – A medium or light brown is the color you want to look for. Black, red, yellow, white or pale gray stools mean there’s an issue at hand. Black or red stools could indicate bleeding in the digestive tract, or they could be the result of medications, iron supplements or even something you ate. White or gray stools indicate a lack of bile in the digestive system, so you could have a pancreatic issue, hepatitis, cirrhosis or something more serious at work. Yellow stools point to an infection or gallbladder problem.
- Ease of passage – Healthy stool should pass easily. If yours requires straining or is painful, it may indicate something’s wrong in your digestive system or that you’re not getting enough fiber in your diet.
- Sound – Healthy stool shouldn’t splash, float or make a load sound when it hits the water. It should fall quietly into the water and sink slowly to the bottom. Floaters and splashers are a not a good sign – especially if they continue over time.
- Odor – While stool is never going to smell great, it shouldn’t be awful, either. It should have a natural smell, one that doesn’t make you gag or hold your breath. If your stool has a particularly bad odor, it means something is awry. You could have Celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, pancreatic or Cystic Fibrosis.
- Frequency – This can vary. Though many people have one or more bowel movements per day, plenty of healthy people only have a handful a week. The important thing is that you know what’s regular for your body, so you can recognize when something has changed or shifted.
If you spot any signs of unhealthy stool, go see your doctor. While it’s probably nothing to be alarmed of, when it comes to your body, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Avoiding Unhealthy Stool
The best way to avoid seeing unhealthy stool in your toilet bowl is to focus on your overall health, particularly the health of your digestive tract. Eat plenty of fibrous vegetables and greens, and cut out sources of gluten, like wheat, barley and rye. These all make bowel movements more difficult.
Avoid consuming refined sugars, artificial sweeteners and a lot of caffeine, as these can affect your digestion as well. You also may want to consider taking a probiotic supplement daily, as this can replenish your system with the proper amount of good, healthy bacteria in your intestines.
And as usual, be sure to drink plenty or water, and get a good amount of exercise daily. By following these guidelines, you’ll not only prevent unhealthy stool; you’ll keep your body healthy and well from top to bottom.
~ Be Happy, Healthy and Fit in Mind, Body and Spirit ~ Visit DiviniFit.com for daily health, fitness & lifestyle tips ~
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