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.
Pooping Should Not be Difficult.
As you have read here before, the use of Miralax is on the rise and sadly, it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. I am extremely disappointed in the medical profession as a whole over the use of this gut-ruining product, and that it is not only being recommended, but that it is being given out as candy and expected to cure all of the poop problems in our younger generation.
I could go on and on about this awful product (again), but today, I want to address something that may aid in everyone’s bathroom troubles. You know that I am a huge fan of elimination diets and healthy lifestyle choices, including preventative care through a chiropractor. I am also a fan of naturally helping the body as it performs its necessary tasks.
This leads me to the topic of poop.
Close to 75% of adults have hemorrhoids either internally or externally, but not all experience disruptive symptoms. By age 50, more than half of Americans have chronic or active hemorrhoid symptoms. What is worse is that bloody stools, strained stools, and digestive pain is affecting younger generations more and more each year. According to the Mayo Clinic, hemorrhoids are caused by straining while having a bowel movement, along with other factors like diet and weight.
If you watch an infant grow into a toddler and begin consistently eating solid foods, you will notice the natural instinct to squat while pooping. Rarely will a toddler run and sit down to have a bowel movement. He would rather stand or squat. This is the point that we begin training him to break his natural instincts and sit on a toilet. Yes, toilets are wonderful. No, I do not want us all squatting in the woods to poop. But just because the toilet works, doesn’t mean that it allows for us to utilize it in a way that aids the body in releasing poop. At least our feet touch the floor though; a toddler or young child is expected to poop easily with his legs dangling.
Bringing a stool into the bathroom, more specifically, a stool meant to fit around the toilet – such as a Squatty Potty – can help every member of the family, even those potty-learning. The idea is simple, and it can make all the difference. The angle at which we are currently pooping at is causing strain, possible pain, and other issues. When we sit, it creates an anorectal angle, which cuts off the flow of the waste being processed. It creates an upward, unnatural pressure on the rectum making it unnecessarily hard to poop. By squatting on the stool, the angle created removes that blockage and allows the waste to pass easier and without strain.
Other problems that come with straining to eliminate body waste:
- Pelvic Floor Issues: Sitting causes extreme pressure on the anorectal angle of the colon causing the colon to protrude into the wall of the vagina. This puts pressure on the pelvic floor and causes unnecessary strain.
- Constipation: Diet plays the largest role in constipation, but improper positioning also triggers this painful ailment.
- Urinary Infections: Research has found that squatting allows you to truly eliminate the bladder with a stronger, more consistent urinary flow reducing risk of UTI’s and bladder infections.
- Colon Disease: Build-up of waste is linked to colon disease. It is important to eliminate completely and often to help reduce the risk of colon cancer.
- Investing in a Squatty Potty or similar bathroom stool will allow your colon to relax and your stool to be released quicker and easier. Your body will thank you! (I recommend the adjustable height stool if you have younger children.)