If all diseases begin in the gut, then why aren’t more people concerned with their poop? Our bathroom time may be something we typically avoid talking about, but it’s something that needs to be addressed. If we all understood what was ‘normal’ and wasn’t when it comes to poop, we may be one step closer to becoming a healthier society. (One can hope, anyway.)
The truth is that our stool holds information that we need to know. The consistency, smell, shape, and texture all give us clues to what is going on inside our bodies, more specifically, within our guts. To understand your own stool, you compare it with the Bristol Stool Form Scale (BSF Scale). The scale was developed to make talking about poop with a medical professional easier. It breaks stool into seven categories and allows you to visually compare your own sample.
When analyzing your stool, you will want to note three main items:
The frequency in which you are having a bowel movement. Having at least one complete bowel movement every 24-hours is ideal, with up to three being normal. Depending on your metabolism, quantity (and quality) of food eaten, and the health of your gut bacteria, pooping 1-3 times per day is considered healthy. Eliminating your bowels more frequently than this is considered diarrhea, and less frequently is considered constipation. Even though many people believe having a bowel movement once every 2-3 days is ok, I strongly disagree. Our body is removing toxins and cleaning itself out with each bathroom trip, and storing feces for longer periods of time is not doing the body good.
Did you know that your poop is 50-80% bacteria and not just the digested food being eliminated from your body? This is why I am a firm believer in eliminating the waste daily. The food passes through the digestive tract and collects bacteria as the body absorbs the nutrients needed. When it is expelled, it is the body’s natural way of detoxing from itself.
This is where you utilize the BSF Scale. The formation of your poop is very important, as it tells you if your body is properly digesting foods, absorbing nutrients and combining the acids and toxins properly to be eliminated. There are seven forms of stool within the BSF Scale model ranging from separate lumps to smooth, soft, snake-like poop to watery diarrhea. Below you can see each type. Ideally, you want to fall in the 4th category.
The brown color of your stool comes from the dead red blood cells and bile that is secreted to digest fats. Think of melted milk chocolate, that would be the color of perfectly balanced poop. Stool that is gray-white in color signals a lack of bile and typically means liver problems or clogged bile ducts. Yellow stool can be a sign of parasites present (or cancer in some cases); red or black stool can mean bleeding in the upper GI tract; green stool can mean there is an infection. However, simply eating foods with colorings or dyes can affect your stool coloring, too. The same can be said if you consume a significant amount of naturally colored foods (beets, for example). The key is to note your stool on more than one occurrence. You’ll want to note the color over weeks, not just a day. This way you learn if a food is affecting the color, or if your body is telling you something more.
After digging up the courage to look at your poop, you’ll realize that it’s a whole lot more interesting than you thought! Don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor (or chiropractor!) about your bathroom habits.
To change your stool, consider adapting a healthier diet, increasing water intake, exercising, and removing trigger items from your daily menu (caffeine, dairy, gluten, etc are all common foods that cause problems).
Did you know?
Chiropractic care can help infants, toddlers, children, teens, and adults become more regular with their bowel movements. Multiple studies show that regular care aids the digestive system in properly eliminating toxins from the body, leading to an all-around happier lifestyle.