The most obvious sign of how healthy we are on the inside is what comes out of us: our poop. This is your expert guide to smell, texture, and color (and what it all means).
Poop is something we don't usually talk about much, even or especially when we're having a hard time down there. But with so much focus latelygut health, Experts agree that our poop holds the answer to many of our health problems. There's no point in being squeamish: you need to get comfortable knowing what's normal for your bowel movements in terms of frequency, texture, and more.
"Our poop isn't just junk food," explains a nutritional therapist and functional medicine practitioner.Nicola Schubrook. "Up to 50% of this is actually what is called 'bacterial biomass,' essentially living and dead organisms that live in ourcolon.HormoneLike estrogen, they are also excreted in our stool, so looking after our stool is not just important for digestive health.”
What are the different types of stool?
"We use thisbench Bristolto classify the different types of poop," explains Anna Mapson, Registered Nutritional Therapist and founder ofmy god nutrition. "It really helps when people are a little squeamish about describing the differences between different banks, because it provides a table with pictures and descriptions."
There are seven official types of poop, ranging from Type 1 (hard, hard to pass poop) to Type 7 watery diarrhea. For perfectionist types, "perfect" poop is a Type 3-4 on the scale, so this is what to crave.
Surprisingly, along with the undigested food we eat, Mapson reveals that "about 30% of stool is actually dead gut bacteria - that's a lot! So the health of ourintestinal microbescan play an important role in the health of your stool."
What does our poop type tell us about our overall health?
Our poops are essentially a stinky little porthole for our inner health and well-being. Changes in our stools can often be the first sign that something is wrong, and that's not all.clogged upor diarrhea: Different types of poop can indicate a variety of health issues.
"Sometimes if your poop is floating around, it could indicate that you're not breaking down food properly," explains Mapson. “This could be due to a lack of digestive enzymes or insufficient stomach acid production. This can be genetic, chronicto emphasize, damage to the lining of the small intestine or overgrowth of microbes in the small intestine”.
"You may notice occasional swimmers, which is normal," notes Shubrook, "but if they swim all the time or are difficult to eliminate, it could be a sign that you're not properly absorbing the fats in your diet." ” .
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hard and dry stools
"Small, hard, dry stools can cause constipation," explains Mapson. “This could be due to the slow transit time. When food sits in the colon for too long, the body absorbs more fluid from the stool, causing the stool to become dry and hard.
“Slow transit time could be due to lack of exercise, for example. B. a lotsedentary lifestyle, lack of fiber in the diet (which reduces the bulk of the stool so you don't have to go to the bathroom) or dehydration".
“One of the main causes of constipation isdehydration' agrees Shubrook, 'but other causes can include a lack of fiber in the diet, stress, an imbalanced microbiome (gut bacteria) or food intolerances.'
See Whole Foods in Your Poop
"If you regularly see undigested food in your poop, it usually indicates that you're not chewing your food properly," reveals Mapson. "Slow down, sit down at the table for your main meals, and chew your food until it's finely ground before swallowing. It sounds simple, but it really helps with digestion and healthier bowel movements."
I know I don't just have a nervous stomach. "Unstable chairs are often associated with stress or anxiety," agreed Mapson. "Our stress response is our body's way of preparing to fight or flee, and bowel movements can be part of that."
"Causes of diarrhea can include drinking too much alcohol, a poor diet (processed foods and sugar), stress, food intolerance, or an imbalanced microbiome (gut bacteria)," agrees Shubrook.
Persistent diarrhea can be caused by a bacterial infection, a parasite, or other health conditions such as celiac disease, so it's important to see a doctor if your stool tends to have watery stools on a regular basis.
most smelly kot
"Gas or strong-smelling stools can indicate bacterial overgrowth in the gut or food intolerance," explains Mapson. The gas that smells like egg or cabbage may be related to certain bacteria that produce hydrogen sulfide or methane gas.
What is the perfect poop?
While it's clinically considered normal to walk between three times a day and three times a week, experts agree on one thing: In an ideal world, you should be pooping every day. "Remember, dead organisms live in our gut, so we want to make sure we poop every day to prevent bacteria and toxins from building up in the body," advises Shubrook.
"I like it when customers come to work once or twice a day," agrees Mapson, "because that indicates good volume is coming inBallaststoffand it doesn't stay in the colon for very long."
"The goal is a sausage or snake-shaped stool that's easy to pass on," says Shubrook. "It could be smooth or have a few cracks in the surface. If it's rabbit pellets, a sausage with lumps in it, or you need to strain it, it's a sign that you have constipation.
"On the other hand, if your stool is very loose, mushy, watery, or even explosive, that's classified as diarrhea."
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"Brown indicates normal colored stools," explains Shubrook, "whereas black or very dark stools can indicate bleeding. Bright red can also indicate bleeding in the intestines.
“Green stools can be due to certain foods (for example, green leafy vegetables), but also to excess bile released by the liver and stored in the gallbladder. It is a digestive fluid that helps break down dietary fats. And yellow could indicate that dietary fat is not well absorbed.”
How can we get perfect poops?
Test your transit time
"You can test your transit time by eating a serving (80 g) of sweet corn, beets, or 2 tablespoons of white sesame seeds," advises Mapson. "All of these foods should be visible in your poop when it appears in the bathroom. Pay attention to when you eat the food and when you see it in the bathroom. A good transit time is about 24 to 36 hours."
eat more fiber
"For healthy, regular bowel movements, you should be eating different types of fiber—and eating a lot," advises Mapson. "We should be aiming for 25-30g of fiber a day, and most people can eat more fruits and vegetables. Aiming for five a day is a good start.”
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Hydration is key
Make sure you stay hydrated so you don't drink more fluids than you need," warns Mapson. "The increase in fiber must also be accompanied by adequate hydration to avoid constipation."
Fermented foods can add healthy bacteria to your gut. Think yogurt, sauerkraut or kefir - anything "live" supports gut bacteria, which help us digest our food and support the intestinal lining, which contributes to healthy bowel movements.
What are poop red flags?
You should speak to a doctor about the regular presence of blood or mucus in your stool, as it could indicate more serious conditions such as colon cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, or celiac disease.
"If your stool is black or red, you have excess blood when you wipe it, or you have additional symptoms like abdominal pain, see your doctor ASAP," advises Shubrook.
If you're worried about changing your bowel habits, see your doctor to rule out anything serious.
What does Type 7 poop indicate? ›
This type of diarrhea is most often caused by a viral or bacterial infection such as norovirus or E. coli. Parasitic infections such as Giardia lamblia can also cause watery diarrhea. Certain medical conditions can cause type 7 stools as well, including celiac disease, Crohn's disease, or ulcerative colitis.What kind of poop should I worry about? ›
Poops that are well-formed and easy to pass (Types 3 and 4) are the ideal kinds of poop. Poops that are entirely liquid or have too much liquid (Types 5, 6 and 7) indicate diarrhea or urgency. Sometimes diarrhea is caused by temporary illness and should pass in a few days.What kind of poop is abnormal? ›
not pooping often enough — less than three times a week. excessive straining when pooping. poop that is red, black, green, yellow, or white. greasy, fatty stools.
Gray: May indicate a liver or gallbladder problem or be symptomatic of viral hepatitis, gallstones or alcoholic hepatitis. Yellow, greasy, foul-smelling: Excess fat in the stool, possibly due to a malabsorption disorder like celiac disease.What is my poop telling me? ›
Your poop can tell you if you're eating enough fiber and drinking enough water, or if your digestive system is processing food too slowly or too quickly. Also, lasting changes in your bowel habits or the appearance of your poop can be a sign of a medical condition that requires treatment.Should poop float or sink? ›
Healthy Poop Should Sink in the Toilet
Floating stools are often an indication of high fat content, which can be a sign of malabsorption, a condition in which you can't absorb enough fat and other nutrients from the food you're ingesting, reports Mount Sinai.
Mushy and watery/liquid: Mushy stool is usually made up of very soft pieces that fall apart when they hit the water. This may be due to poor lifestyle/diet change, higher stress than what the body is used to or an intestinal disorder. It can also happen when there is a change in exercise routine.Can your poop determine your health? ›
Your bowel habits are a strong indicator of your digestive health. Changes in the color, shape and texture of your stool can reveal signs of infection, digestive issues or more serious health problems, such as cancer.What does not healthy poop look like? ›
Light yellow or grey poop: This can be a sign of infection or inflammation, that your body is not absorbing nutrients properly, or a blocked bile duct. Black or red poop: This might happen if you eat black licorice, beets, colored drinks, or iron supplements.How do you know if you have poop problems? ›
- Passing fewer than three stools a week.
- Having lumpy or hard stools.
- Straining to have bowel movements.
- Feeling as though there's a blockage in your rectum that prevents bowel movements.
- Feeling as though you can't completely empty the stool from your rectum.
Which color of stool is the most worrisome What is it indicative of? ›
The color of stools varies, but typically falls within the spectrum of brown color, depending on the foods you eat. You should be concerned if your stools are deep red, maroon, black, or "tarry," especially if they have a noticeable odor. This may mean that there is blood in the stool.Is peanut butter colored poop normal? ›
Stools should be brown, have a peanut-butter texture, and look like a sausage. If your stool has an abnormal color or consistency, it may be due to something you ate or an underlying medical condition in need of investigation by a healthcare provider.What color should healthy poop be? ›
All shades of brown and even green are considered normal. Only rarely does stool color indicate a potentially serious intestinal condition. Stool color is generally influenced by what you eat as well as by the amount of bile — a yellow-green fluid that digests fats — in your stool.What is a healthy poop pattern? ›
The ideal frequency of bowel movements is 1 or 2 times per day. The goal is to have bowels completely emptied. Bowel movements should be soft and easy to pass, with no pain, straining or stool leakage. Establish a bowel routine and set aside time to go in private, at the same time every day.Why does my poop turn toilet water brown? ›
It can indicate blood in the stool and may be a more serious gastrointestinal tract issue. But stool that simply seems darker than normal may be the result of dehydration, constipation, or eating dark-colored foods or iron-rich foods or supplements.Why is my poop bright yellow when I wipe? ›
Your stool can be yellow because of your diet. Some causes of this are eating foods high in food coloring, carrots, or sweet potatoes. It may also be from certain gluten products or a diet high in fats.How many times a day should you poop? ›
How many times a day should you poop? There is no generally accepted number of times a person should poop. As a broad rule, pooping anywhere from three times a day to three times a week is normal. Most people have a regular bowel pattern: They'll poop about the same number of times a day and at a similar time of day.What should you look for when checking your poop? ›
A stool test can detect many things significant to health: anything from parasite infection to signs of cancer, yeast or bacterial overgrowth, or pathogenic bacteria like C. difficile, Campylobacter and certain strains of E. coli.Why is my poop two feet long? ›
Extremely large poops may be the outcome of eating a very large meal or the result of chronic constipation that alters your bowel habits. If you've tried increasing your physical activity and upping fiber and water intake, and your poops still fill the toilet, it's time to talk to your doctor.What does fatty stool look like? ›
Fatty poops are different from normal poops. They tend to be looser, smellier and paler in color, like clay. They might float. You might have an occasional fatty poop after eating a fatty meal.
Why do I poop immediately after eating? ›
Passing stool immediately after a meal is usually the result of the gastrocolic reflex, which is a normal bodily reaction to food entering the stomach. Almost everyone will experience the effects of the gastrocolic reflex from time to time. However, its intensity can vary from person to person.Do you poop more when losing weight? ›
Healthful weight loss diets usually include lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. These are all high in fiber. Including more fiber in the diet can increase stool weight and encourage more regular bowel movements. Because of this, a person following a weight loss diet may have bowel movements more often.Why does my poop come out in small soft pieces? ›
When stool passes in the form of soft blobs with defined edges, it is a slightly loose stool. It is common for individuals who have bowel movements two to three times a day. This form of bowel movement usually follows major meals of the day. Soft blob-shaped poop quickly passes without any strain or effort.What does constipated poop look like? ›
Poop that is hard and shaped like tiny rocks or pebbles is likely just a sign of constipation. You can still be considered constipated even if you are able to pass a small amount of stool. The large intestine helps to concentrate waste by absorbing water.Why is my poop like soft serve ice cream? ›
Imagine dispensing soft serve ice cream into your toilet, and you'll have the general, somewhat less delicious idea. This type of stool indicates you're getting plenty of water and fiber in your diet. An absence of either can produce firmer, broken-up, difficult-to-expel feces or constipation, Sheth says.Is it OK to have soft stools all the time? ›
In most cases, loose stools are a temporary problem and resolve on their own. However, if your symptoms continue to get worse, and you have chronic loose stools, then it's time to see a doctor. See a doctor if you experience: chronic loose stools.What foods cause mushy poop? ›
- Sugar. Sugars stimulate the gut to put out water and electrolytes, which loosen bowel movements. ...
- Dairy foods. ...
- FODMAPs. ...
- Gluten. ...
- Fried or fatty foods. ...
- Spicy foods. ...
- Caffeine. ...
- Image: 5432action/Getty Images.
What to drink to make you poop? The following drinks can help relieve constipation: prune juice, lemon juice, apple juice, kefir, coffee, green tea, water or aloe vera juice.What does a constipated colon feel like? ›
Having lumpy or hard stools. Straining to have bowel movements. Feeling as though there's a blockage in your rectum that prevents bowel movements. Feeling as though you can't completely empty the stool from your rectum.Why does coffee make you poop? ›
Coffee sends a signal to your stomach to release gastrin. This kicks off a wave of contractions in your gut called peristalsis. Peristalsis moves food and liquid through the intestines. For some people, this leads to a trip to the bathroom in just a few minutes.