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What Is Your Poo Telling You?

The topic of poop might feel a little uncomfortable for you, but I can assure you that Naturopaths around the world sit at their dinner table discussing this stuff without the bat of an eyelid. After all our stool can tell us so much about our health that it seems ignorant not to look in the bowl. Below is a version of what is famously known as the 'Bristol Stool Chart'. It gives us an indication of what is considered a healthy stool vs what's not.

Types of Stools

Healthy transit time can range from 12-24 hours; anything less indicates diarrhoea and a lack of absorption of vital nutrients from the foods we eat. On the other hand, longer transit time of course indicated constipation and means poor elimination of toxins, old hormones, cholesterol and reabsorption into the blood stream.

TYPE 1 - Separate hard lumps

TYPE 2 - Lumpy and sausage "like"

This is constipation. Dry or difficult-to-pass stool or rabbit pellets.

When you see this in the bowl it's time to assess your water intake. Aim for enough water daily so that your urine is clear or straw-coloured. If that's not the issue then you'll need to consider other things that I delve into here.

TYPE 3 - Sausage with cracks

The stool might not be perfectly smooth. I wouldn't be too concerned if this was your usual. Although cracks in the stool can highlight our level of dehydration or fatty acid intake.

Next up, the ideal poop.

TYPE 4 - Like a smooth, soft sausage or snake.

These descriptions always make me laugh.

So essentially we want this - a type 4 - an easily passed stool that is brown in colour and leaves a feeling of complete evacuation afterwards.

TYPE 5 - Soft blobs with clear cut edges

TYPE 6 - Mushy consistency with ragged edges

TYPE 7 - Liquid consistency with no solid pieces

All of these types indicate diarrhoea and potentially an irritated gastrointestinal tract.

This can happen from caffeine, food sensitivities, a histamine intolerance, antibiotic use, viral or bacterial infections, spicy foods, alcohol, and chronic inflammatory bowel conditions.

Diarrhoea left untreated can cause microtrauma to the mucosa of the digestive tract, creating inflammation and malabsorption of micronutrients and macronutrients.

Stool Colour

Our bile creates a healthy medium brown colour that’s the ideal poop colour.

  • Light or clay-coloured stools tell us the production of bile is not optimal or can be the side effect of some medications like anti-diarrhoeals.

  • Green-coloured stools can happen after antibiotic use. Or it may be indicative of a bacterial infection. Green stools also occur when food is moving too quickly through the large intestine. It may also be from the consumption of chlorophyll-rich foods or food dye.

  • Black-coloured stools may indicate recent iron supplement use or potential bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract. See a doc to get this assessed asap.

  • Red stools can be indicative of blood in the lower intestinal tract. Eg. Hemorrhoids or anal fissure. It may also be from the consumption of red wine or beetroot.

  • Yellow and or greasy foul-smelling stools often indicate poor fat breakdown and absorption. Likely low bile and digestive enzymes. This can also indicate a small intestine infection.

Smell and Mucus

Offensive smells from gas or when passing stool is a sign that something is up. It's true, your poop shouldn't smell too bad. If it does, it's a sign of fermentation happening in the bowel and or insufficient digestive enzymes, an imbalance in bacteria or possible infection.

Something else to look out for is clear mucus. Anything funky going on in the gut will mean inflammation which results in your digestive tract or lining producing mucus to protect itself.

As you can see from all the info above, it's worthwhile to pay attention to your bowel movements. Taking a peek in the bowel can help you figure out why you might be feeling nauseous, bloated or unwell. If something has been up with your gut for a while and you need help addressing the issue, connect with us in the Kiyah Clinic - we offer a 'Heal Your Gut' package and free online assessment.


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