Poop.  It’s not one of those things we are used to talking about and excuse me if this all sounds a little gross.  But the reality is that bowel movements are a critical part of digesting the food we eat.  Stool formed by our large intestine is the body’s way of getting rid of waste. I always recommend discussing with your doc any concerns you may have on this matter.  Changes in consistency or color show what is happening inside your digestive system.  Poop will literally give you and your doctor clues to your health.  Here is my poop analysis:

1. Hard Rocks and Pebbles

Poop that is hard and mimics small rocks or pebbles is probably just a sign of constipation. You can still be considered constipated even if you are able to pass a small amount of stool.  The large intestine helps to concentrate waste by absorbing water. If muscle contractions in the large intestine are not working properly, waste left in the colon becomes even more concentrated, resulting in harder stool.

2. Color Changes

A change in the color of stool is usually not cause for concern, unless it appears to be black or bloody, which could signal other problems with the digestive system.  “There are a lot of food colorings added to what we eat and drink, so of course the color of your stool is then going to change”,  says Dr. Linda Lee, director of the Johns Hopkins Integrative Medicine and Digestive Center.  “When I perform a colonoscopy, I can actually tell what color the beverage was they used to take the prep.”

3. Black and Tarry

The most common cause of black and tarry poop is from taking iron supplements or a medication containing bismuth, like Pepto-Bismol. However, it could mean you’re losing blood somewhere in your gastrointestinal tract, such as in the stomach or small intestine.

4. Oily or Greasy Stools

If you have poop that looks oily, has a greasy consistency and is difficult to flush, it could be a signal that your body is not able to properly digest fat. The consistency changes could be caused by an infection, nutrients not being digested due to celiac disease or a problem with the pancreas, such as pancreatic cancer or pancreatitis.

5. Pencil-Thin

Stool that is only occasionally very thin is not a cause for concern. It is likely due to muscle contractions in the large intestine as it helps to concentrate waste.  If there is a sudden and consistent change in your stool always being thin, it could mean there is a blockage in your colon, and you should see your doctor.

What is normal poop like?

Normal poop is medium to dark brown and pain-free to pass with a soft, firm texture.  Generally speaking, poop that is passed in one single piece or a few smaller pieces is typically considered to be a sign of a healthy bowel. The long, sausage-like shape of poop is due to the shape of the intestines.  Most people pass stool once a day, although others may poop every other day or up to three times daily. At a minimum, a person should pass stool three times a week.   Remember that each person is different.  Make sure monitor any changes in the smell, firmness, frequency, or color of poop as it can indicate there is a problem.

Conclusion:

It was my daughter’s dependance on laxatives that inspired me to become a health counselor.  We learned that there actually is a huge correlation between diet and pooping.  The more Whole Foods you eat, the better off you will be.  Commit to limiting processed foods that may not be serving you well.  Remember that I am here to support you – so feel to reach out if you are struggling. 🙂

Healthy Recipe: Mineral Boosting Juice
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