We know, we know…this is a crappy discussion! However, bowel movements are a natural process. As much as you may not want to discuss this topic, WE NEED TO DISCUSS THIS TOPIC!
It’s simple. According to the American Cancer Society, about 150,000 people are diagnosed with colorectal cancer & 50,000 will die from the disease. While we don’t know the environmental influences that may affect our colon health, we do know diet plays a huge role. Our “poop” is a clear indication of what we are consuming. Understanding your poop, (yes, that means you must look at it), will help you better understand what your body is trying to communicate to you & guide you to make changes to your diet.
Here are 5 facts your need to know about your poop:
1. Water makes up 75% of your poop: 75% water! Making sure you are properly hydrated goes way beyond weight loss. Water is vital to your overall health. The remaining 25% of your poop is a combination of fiber, live and dead bacteria, dead cells, mucus, fats, and inorganic salts.
2. Check the color of your poop: Depending on what you eat, it may affect the color of your stool. In other cases, color may indicate something more concerning that requires further evaluation from your doctor. Poop is naturally brown due to the bile produced in your liver. Green poop may be a result of eating green leafy veggies, food coloring, or food could be moving to quickly through your system. Yellow, greasy, foul-smelling poop indicates excess fat in your diet. Black, white, or red poop are not normal colors and could be a sign of something more serious.
3. Check the shape of your poop: According to a segment seen on the Dr. Oz show, experts explained our poop should be S-shaped. In order to get that “perfect poop,” our diets need to be rich in fiber. The fiber lends bulk to your poop which keeps it together as it exits your body. Little lumps mean you lack dietary fiber. The loosey-gooseies mean your poop is moving to quickly through the intestines and is not absorbing the water. Pencil thin poop is a red flag. Something may be constricting the stool or it could be an indication of cancer. Floating, stinky poop means your body is not properly absorbing fats. Hard and dry poop means the stool is staying in your intestines too long. This is an indication of dehydration, constipation, or medication. Lastly, if there is no or if you are not going, you may be constipated. You will definitely want to increase your fiber & water intake.
4. How often should you poop: Most people will go once to twice a day. According to doctors, there is no “normal” frequency. The most important factor is your consistency. If you experience a decrease in your frequency, make sure to increase your fiber intake and your activity/workouts. These two things help to promote a healthy digestion.
5. Pass the gas! It’s normal!: Ok. Farts stink. BUT THEY ARE NORMAL!!! Gas is the result of bacteria breaking down the food in the large intestines. As the bacteria in your colon breaks down the food, it will release gas. Some of the gas is actually absorbed into the bloodstream, some you will breathe out through your lungs, and the rest comes out the rear end. According to the American College of Gastroenterology, you will pass gas anywhere from 10-18 times per day. If anyone ever tells you they don’t pass gas, take them directly to the hospital.
Want more facts about your poop? Check the chart!
Eric and Maleka Beal are health coaches and co-founders of BetterChoices, a health & wellness company and social community focused on educating, advocating, and promoting better health and wellness through lifestyle, nutrition, and fitness education.