Did you know that the average person will spent a little more than a year of their life sitting on the toilet?
Okay, the title is a little tacky, and it’s an awkward subject not given to most conversation, but we all poop. More importantly, your bowel movements reveal what’s happening in your stomach. The health of your gut, if you don’t already know it, has so much to do with your overall health and that’s a subject worth discussing.
Below is a message I received from Dr. Cary Nelson, MD who happens to be Director of Science & Nutrition for a company producing probiotics. I hope that you will find his tips make your toilet time as easy and healthy as possible. The quality of your life could depend on it!
“We’re going to talk about pooping.
I get that most people don’t think of what goes on in the bathroom as a polite subject for conversation.
But lots of us won’t even discuss our bowel habits with our doctors…even though your daily “number 2’s” can tell you a lot about what’s happening in your gut.
THE BRISTOL STOOL CHART
When it comes to your poop, one of the major health indicators is the FORM of your bowel movements.
The consistency of your stool is a strong indicator of what’s going on when your gut digests your food.
The Bristol Royal Infirmary in England has actually developed a handy “Stool Chart.”
It explains seven main types of poop your body produces…and what those types might have to say about your health.
Type 1: Separate hard lumps, like nuts. This is common if you’re on a low-carb or low-fiber diet, or if you just got done with a round of antibiotics.
Type 2: Sausage-shaped but lumpy. This type is common for people with IBS, constipation, or hemorrhoids. They can be hard to pass without pain or bleeding.
Type 3: Sausage-shaped, with cracks in the surface. May indicate minor constipation issues, but easier to pass than Type 2.
Type 4: Sausage-shaped, but smooth and soft. This is ideal for a healthy poop, and it’s typical for people with regular bowel function.
Type 5: Soft blobs with clear-cut edges. These are typical for someone who goes two or three times a day.
Type 6: Mushy pieces with ragged edges. There’s a lot of potential causes for this, including sudden dehydration; eating too much potassium or spicy food; an overactive colon; or stress. It’s not unusual for incontinent people to produce this kind of stool. If your poops are like this, talk to your doctor to see if you can determine a cause.
Type 7: Watery, no solid pieces. This, of course, is diarrhea, and it’s common for people with IBS, Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis, as well as people with food allergies or food poisoning. This almost always indicates an inflammation in your gut, and you should definitely talk to your doctor about it.
WHAT’S IN A COLOR?
Just like consistency, the color of your poops have a lot to say about what’s going on in your gut.
The ideal for a healthy stool is the color most of us associate with poop: medium to dark brown.
On the other hand, yellow, green, or tan poops mean your body is having trouble digesting fat in your food.
This can cause strain on your liver, pancreas, or gall bladder. Be sure to talk to your doctor if this stool color continues.
And if your stool is black, this could mean bleeding in your upper GI tract. That, of course, should be discussed with your doctor as well.
This information should provide you with a sense of what your poops look and feel like when your gut’s working its best.
But if you need a little assistance keeping yourself more regular in the bathroom, here’s a few tips for strong, healthy bowel movements…
HEALTHY BOWEL QUICK TIPS
1. Make sure you’re eating enough fiber, or roughage. You’ll find it in foods like fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. Fiber will bulk up your stools, which makes them easier to pass through your gut.
2. Drink plenty of water to keep your system clean and lubricated. The Mayo Clinic recommends about eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.
3. When you’re going, don’t sit…squat. The UK’s Guardian newspaper cites reports that keeping your legs at a 35° angle when you go moves stool from your body more efficiently.
And some companies, like Squatty Potty (you know that commercial with the ice-cream-pooping unicorn?), make special “squatting stools” to keep your legs at the right angle on the toilet.
4. Keep your lifestyle active. Regular exercise and physical activity speeds up all your body’s functions…including digestion and excretion.
5. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health says one of the best ways to keep yourself regular is to ensure your gut contains a healthy supply of probiotics.
That’s the beneficial “good” bacteria that support powerful digestion, keep your gut free of inflammation and illness, and break down your food for better use of nutrients…
…and healthier, more consistent bowel movements.