The Scoop on Poop

The Scoop on Poop

Today is World Digestive Health Day so we thought we would write about the topic that is most related to the health of our digestive system. Poop!

What does your poop say about your health?


We all do it and it is a completely normal part of our bodily function, and it can tell us a lot about the state of our health.
It has many names – poo, stool or faeces, and it is not only made up of millions of dead bacteria from your GI tract but the left-overs from your food and drink once your body is done absorbing all it needs from it.


A good rule of thumb when it comes to your bowels is that ‘normal’ can look like anything from going to the bathroom three times per day to three times per week. It is different for everyone. If you are worried or if something has changed, then talk to your health professional.


What if my poop changes colour?


If your poop is red, it might mean that there is blood in your stool. The brighter the red colour, the more likely the blood has come from your rectum or anus. Older blood can appear darker in colour.


If it is light in colour and looks yellow, light brown or like clay, it may be a sign of inflammation, infection or a problem with your bile duct.


Black poop is usually a result of eating dark coloured foods like blueberries or liquorice or from taking an iron supplement.
Always speak with your doctor if you notice changes in your poop.

What should my poop look like?


The Bristol Stool Chart has become a global reference for poop quality. Type 3 or 4 are generally considered to be ‘normal’ stool formation.

Bristol Stool Chart
Aim for ‘Sausage’ or ‘Corn on the Cob’

Diarrhoea


If you are experiencing type 6 or 7 three or more times per day and your poop is loose and watery, that would be considered diarrhoea. Causes of diarrhoea include:


• Viruses
• Food poisoning
• Parasitic infections
• Food intolerance e.g. lactose intolerance
• Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) – such as Chrons
• Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Diarrhoea can be very common and may go away on its own but if it persists for more than a few days, talk to your doctor.

Constipation


If you are suffering Type 1 or 2 stools as per the Bristol Stool Chart, this may be constipation. Constipation refers to stools that are hard and dry and often painful to pass. Some cause of constipation include:


• Dehydration
• Lack of fibre in the diet
• Lack of movement or physical activity
• Some medications and supplements like iron can also contribute to constipation.

Stinky Poos


Let’s face it, no poo smells great, but the smell shouldn’t be toxic either. Foul-smelling poop can be caused by:


• Malabsorption of nutrients
• Coeliac disease
• Chron’s disease
• An intestinal infection
• Cystic Fibrosis
• Inflammation of your pancreas (pancreatitis)


Floating Poop


Fluffy floaties can reflect what you eat. Floating poop can be caused by:


• Too much gas from a high fibre diet
• An intestinal infection
• Pancreatitis
• Malabsorption of nutrients


Floating poop is not usually a sign of anything concerning on its own, but if it accompanies weight loss or other symptoms, speak to your doctor.


Keep an eye on the toilet bowl


Monitoring your poop is the best thing you can do for your health. Looking for any changes is important. Frequency is also important to note, as when it comes to poop, regularity is a good thing!


Diet notes


Good gut bacteria thrive on fibre. To boost your gut health and improve gut symptoms, start by increasing the number and diversity of plant foods in your diet. Having a healthy gut ensures that maximum nutrient absorption can take place, which supports proper hormone production, low inflammation, good health and mood regulation.