A lot of people and I am sure you’re one of them lol, don’t like looking at their poop or even talking about them. Well, we all have this mindset that poop is dirty and we shouldn’t even bother looking at it.
However, it is not a bad thing to stand and observe your poop before pressing the flush button because your poop gives you a signal of what’s going on in your body.
It might be a thing of a shock to you to know that your poop gives signals or help you understand how your body is working. Bowel movements are an important aspect of our metabolism and an essential part of digestion.
This is why you can pick up signals from the type of stools you pass, the frequency, how you move bowels, and other factors. This post will open your eyes to start studying your poops.
Why You Should Check Your Poop Before Flushing
A normal bowel movement should not be forced out and neither should it come with such urgency that you can’t hold it in. also, you should make it a habit to check your stool before flushing it.
What you should check regularly is the color, texture, and even the consistency of your poop. This will give you clues about what’s going on in your inner body.
Then when checking your poop regularly, it’s consistent changes you should look out for and not temporal ones that last for one day or two.
When you’ve noticed this consistent pattern, texture, or color of stool, this is what they mean.
What Your Poop Means
1. Hard pieces of poop
If you spend time in the toilet pushing and straining and your poop comes out in little individual pellets that are hard, lumpy, sausage-shaped, and also hard to pass, it means you are dehydrated or constipated.
Some people have regular bowel movements but they are still constipated. Even if your bowel movement is regular but you still pass stools that are consistently hard and they come out in pieces after straining, you are constipated.
You have to quickly resolve the root cause of your constipation as constant straining or pushing can lead to hemorrhoids. Safe and effective ways to relieve constipation is to increase your water intake and your intake of fibers.
Fibers are abundantly present in whole plant foods and lacking completely in processed foods. Whole plant foods are rich in both soluble and insoluble fibers.
You should also increase your intake of magnesium-rich foods and a magnesium supplement will help too. Magnesium helps draw water into your intestines and this makes stools soft and easier to eliminate.
This vital nutrient also relaxes our intestinal muscles and this helps a lot with constipation. Another potent way to get rid of constipation is to do enemas.
2. Black poop
Black-colored poop is normal in newborn babies. In the first few days of their lives, their poop is black in color before changing to normal.
However, it is not normal if an adult passes black-colored poop. The meaning of this can range from mild to life-threatening issues. It can be caused by mild issues like eating foods that are dark-colored.
Examples are blueberries, black licorice, etc. Some medicines or supplements that are black can cause this, an example is iron supplements.
However, if an adult is not taking supplements and your poop is consistently black, then it is a sign of an underlying health problem. It can be a sign of bleeding in your upper respiratory tract due to ulcers.
It could also be a sign of bleeding sores in your esophagus caused by acid reflux, cancer, and non-cancerous tumors.
3. Red-colored poop
Red or reddish-colored stools are not normal. This can be a sign of bleeding in your lower-intestinal tract, rectum, or large intestine. This bleeding can be caused by a non-cancerous tumor, cancer, polyps in the colon, hemorrhoids, diverticular disease, and even colitis (inflammation of the colon).
If this is consistent, then you should see a doctor ASAP. However, if it’s just one or two days something, you don’t have to worry. Intake of red-colored foods like beets, cranberries, red gelatin, tomato soup or juice, or drink mixes can cause this.
4. Green- colored poop
If you consume too many green leafy vegetables, or foods containing green colorings like cake frosting, ice cream, jelly beans, etc., your poop will be green and this is not a cause for worry except that in taking those processed foods with unhealthy additives, you are harming your body over time.
If you have diarrhea and it’s green color, it simply means that your meal moved through your gut quickly without giving enough time for bile to turn it brown.
But if you have explosive poop and its seaweed green in color, it is a sign of an infection, clostridium infection to be precise. This is caused by an intake of antibiotics which kills both the good and the bad microbes.
This kills off the good microbes that keep clostridium in check and this, in turn, leads to an infection.
5. Bloody poop
Blood in poop should not be taken lightly. You should see a doctor ASAP once you see a bright red color in your stool. It is a major sign of rectal bleeding.
Blood in the stool can also be maroon or even black in color. It could also mean hemorrhoids. If the blood streaks are on the outside of your stool, it could mean that the hemorrhoids have broken open.
It can also mean that you have a strained sphincter and this can be caused by constipation. Other reasons why blood can be seen in poop are:
- Bleeding stomach ulcer
- Abnormal blood vessels
- Anal fissure
- Inflammation of the stomach lining
- Intestinal infection
- Inflammatory bowel disease
If you are experiencing blood in poop, you need to see a doctor immediately to rule out serious issues or commence treatment immediately.
6. Floating poop
Well, normal stools are supposed to sink and not float. Of your stool floats, they are many factors that trigger this. It can be caused by your diet. The type of food you eat can affect the density of your stool.
If your food increases gas in your stomach, that can make your poop to float. Another reason poop float is due to nutritional deficiencies. So, if your stool is constantly floating, you might be deficient in essential nutrients.
A floating stool can also be a sign of stomach or digestive infection. If this is your constant reality, then you need to see a doctor ASAP as it could be caused by an inflammation of the pancreas.
This inflammation prevents your body from producing sufficient digestive enzymes. Another cause of constant floating stool is a food allergy or an infection. This damages the lining of the intestines.
You have to see a doctor if this persists.
7. Sulfur-smelling poop
Foul-smelling poop is an indication of serious health problems like:
- Gastrointestinal infection
- Cystic fibrosis or chronic pancreatitis
- Crohn’s disease
- Celiac disease
- Malabsorption disorder etc.
If your poop smells like rotten eggs or sulfur, and you have symptoms of diarrhea, it can be a sign of infection. This infection can be caused by viruses, parasites, and even viruses.
8. Very loose poop
If your stool cannot be classified as diarrhea but it is very loose, that can be a sign of celiac disease or gluten intolerance. Celiac disease is characterized by the inability to tolerate gluten, a protein found in certain foods like barley, rye, and wheat.
If you can’t tolerate this protein and you eat it, you will have loose stools several times daily. A good way to resolve this is to opt for gluten-free foods.
Also, if your stool suddenly changed from a regular consistency to a loose one, and it persists for days, and the frequency also increased, it could be a sign of hyperthyroidism.
In this condition, the thyroid gland overproduces thyroid hormones. It is also known as an overactive thyroid. You have to contact a doctor immediately.
9. White-colored stool
If you are not on some medications like Kaopectate which causes clay-colored and clay stools, then you need to be worried. When your stool is consistently white, it means that little bile is getting into your gastrointestinal tract.
It is also a sign of liver malfunction because it means the liver is not making enough bile. This happens if the bile duct is blocked due to a tumor or a stone. Poop turns white when bile cannot reach the intestines.
This is a sign of liver cirrhosis and hepatitis.
10. Yellow poop
If your poop is consistently yellow and it floats, this is a sign that you’re not digesting fats properly. This is common in people whose gallbladder has been removed but it can also happen in people who still have theirs.
If you’ve had varieties of surgeries or you’re taking weight loss supplements/medicines, you would experience this too. If your stool is yellow, fatty, and greasy, it could be a sign of celiac disease or chronic pancreatitis.
Effective Ways To Improve Your Bowel Movement
The following tips will help you correct abnormal bowel movement and improve your digestive health for good.
- Increase your intake of water to avoid constipation, dehydration, and hemorrhoid
- Increase your consumption of whole plant-based foods so you can have sufficient levels of fiber to help you have normal bowel movements, prevent infections, boosts your immune system, and improve digestion.
- Eliminate or reduce your intake of processed and unnatural foods and additives.
- Include fermented foods and drinks into your diet, this boosts the population of good bacteria in your gut thereby preventing infections. You can also go for a good probiotic supplement.
- Exercise daily and avoid a sedentary lifestyle to ensure you have a healthy and optimal digestive system.
- Reduce stress and get rid of negative thoughts, emotions, and mindset because they can affect your digestive system.
- If you are on medication, you should ask your doctor for the side effects and if it affects your digestive health and bowel movements.
How Regular Should Healthy Bowel Movements Be?
Well, everybody’s normal is different as we are all different. One size does not fit all. And besides, as our fingerprints are unique to every individual, so also is the gut microbiome unique to different individuals.
No two people have the same gut microbiome. So, due to this, it is not easy to judge healthy bowel movement by regularity. However, if your diet is okay and you’re not treating any condition, you should have at least one bowel movement daily.
When it comes to regularity, there is no ideal number. Just make sure you’re eating well, exercising, drinking enough water, and positive about life.
Everyone’s colon moves at a different pace. While it’s healthy for some to go three times a day, it is healthy for others to go a few times a week. However, sudden changes in bowel movements should not be ignored.
Never Ignore A Pain In The Butt
Some parts of the body do not give warning signs until problems surface, examples are the heart, liver, etc. But the butt is a different story. It always gives you signals that’s something’s wrong via pains.
The most sensitive parts of your body include your anus and the lower part of your anal canal. They are highly sensitive because they have to sense gas, liquids, and even solids.
They also choose when they can pass it and when they can’t pass it. Don’t ignore pain, itching, burning, or stinging feeling in your butt. Apart from pain, these could mean that you had lots of spicy foods last night.
When you didn’t have spicy foods, then the next thing to suspect is hemorrhoids. Look out for swollen veins in your rectum or anus. Constipation makes the veins inflamed and swollen, straining, and sitting down for too long also contributes to hemorrhoids.
Pain in the butt could be a sign of Crohn’s disease. This autoimmune condition divides the small tracts in your colon that extends to your anus through the skin.
This causes pain and bleeding.
The Best Position for Bowel Movement
Modernization is so good, it has made life easy and fun but it comes with its drawback and the modern toilet is not left out. If you sit on a toilet seat with your feet flat on the floor, you are passing bowel in the wrong position.
Studies have revealed that people who squat to defecate with their knees pressing towards their chest straighten their rectal canal in doing so and they also empty their bowels better.
They don’t strain much and they are other benefits of this position than those who sit down with their feet flat against the floor. If you strain while sitting on the bowl, you can take up this position.
Remember that straining increases your risks of diverticulosis, hemorrhoids, and even stroke. Pressing your abdomen down to your bowels and even closing your windpipes can cause stroke and brain hemorrhage if the pressure is too much.
The knees-up position is the best way to defecate but if you don’t have any problem with bowel movement, you can continue sitting on the bowl. This might feel awkward for generation Z, lol.
Well, if you have straining or problems with bowel movement, then you can try pulling up your knees. You can put a high step or box (about 4 inches high) in your bathroom.
Put your feet on this when passing bowel or you can use a squatty potty. And if you still find yourself straining during bowel movements, take frequent and shallow breaths so as to reduce the pressure on your windpipe and the risks that comes with high pressure.
Is Healthy To Resist The Urge to Empty Bowel?
Resisting the urge to use the restroom is a bad habit except you’re in a place where there are no restrooms or you just can’t do it then due to what you are wearing or what you are doing.
So while you’re resisting the urge to defecate, distracting your mind from the sensation, and clenching your cheeks, lol, many things are going on in your body that you do not know.
If you hold onto wastes when your body wants to expel them, your rectum will return the wastes to your sigmoid colon. If this happens, your colon will start the process of extracting fluid all afresh from its content.
This leads to the hardening of stools and constipation. If you still hold onto these wastes longer, some of the toxins will escape into the bloodstream and raise the risks of sepsis (blood poisoning).
Then when you finally want to expel the waste, you will strain and push and this can shoot up your risks of tears, diverticulosis, and hemorrhoids.
When nature calls, always answer promptly.
With the few tips above, you will learn how to take care of your bowels and have a healthy digestive system and bowel movement.