What's Your Poo Telling You?

I had a subscriber request a post about poop since it’s not often discussed. This often neglected bodily function can tell you a lot about what's going on in your intestines and can lead you to make the right changes to improve your digestive and overall health. Even a “sinker” vs a “floater” may provide clues to your health. Let’s decipher what your poo is telling you! First, let’s describe the perfect poop, sometimes referred to as "the Holy Grail". It should be long, smooth and soft and you should be regularly passing about 12" per day. It shouldn't have an overly foul smell but should be medium to light-brown in color and be easy to pass. Interestingly, ease with which you move your bowels is more important than frequency. If you need to push or strain, something is off – moving your bowels should take no more effort than urinating or passing gas.

The next time you’re in the bathroom, take a second to glance down and observe the color of your poop. This guide breaks down what stool color is normal and which colors you should consult your doctor about (courtesy of doctoroz.com).

For a list of specific characteristics that may point to health problems, see the chart below (courtesy of preventdisease.com):

Also make note of the smell. The odor of your poop is highly dependent on a number of factors, including how long it's been sitting in your colon, your diet, medications you may be taking and, in some cases, the presence of infection. Bacterial imbalance (dysbiosis) in the GI tract and undigested fat or protein can also lead to a change in odor.

Fiber tends to bulk up your poop and acts like glue to keep the poop stuck together, instead of in pieces. If your poop is on the softer side, short of diarrhea (“soft serve,” as some call it), it could be related to lactose intolerance, artificial sweeteners (sorbitol and Splenda), or a reaction to fructose or gluten.

Here are some tips to perfect your poop: • Drink plenty of water: Dehydration leads to constipation. • Eat REAL, WHOLE foods: Processed foods lead to diarrhea and toxic build up. • Lower Stress: Chronic stress prevents the body from entering "rest and digest mode". • Eat Fermented/Probiotic Rich Foods: These foods aid digestive health. • Apple Cider Vinegar/Lemon: Stimulates stomach acid to help break down food properly. • Eat substantial meals; don't nibble on small amounts throughout the day. • Ensure optimal vitamin D status. • Ensure adequate intake of healthy fats: Your large intestine and nervous system require a constant influx of undamaged fatty acids and cholesterol to remain fully functional. • Exercise daily • Go if you gotta go! Don't suppress the desire to go.

And if you're having trouble going, squat on the rim of the toilet in your bare feet while you poop. This straightens your rectum, relaxes your puborectalis muscle and encourages the complete emptying of your bowel without straining. You can also use the Squatty Potty :) -