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What does your poo say about you?

It is a stinky subject taking about your poo, faeces, number twos, poop, dump, sludge, stool, excrement – no doubt the waste we excrete each day is synonymous with laughter and conjecture. It is simply what is left of our daily food and drink intake after the body has absorbed vital nutrients. People aren’t comfortable talking about it and the very thought of the Dr. poking his finger up your bum, looking for possible oddities in your anus – just freaks us all out. While it sounds like a gross subject, paying attention to your pooh is important. It will tell you how healthy your body is and whether you require health supplements. Digestive issues, infection and cancer is detected with changes in colour, texture, shape and odour.

A healthy poo is considered to be a soft consistent bowel movement; easy to pass, with natural brownish colour. Faeces is about 75% water and 25% solid matter. It consists of bacteria, proteins, salts, undigested food and inorganic materials released by the intestines. It should take about 3 days for food to pass through the digestive system. Your body is habitual in its routine and on average you could poo 3 times a day or every second day. As soon as you notice a change in your habits with constipation or diarrhoea, consider what is going on in your gut. Certainly, food is passing through your system too quickly or too slowly and could be digestion or fibre issues.
There is an accepted global scale to measure the healthiness of your poo. Called the Bristol Scale, it categorises poo into 7 types, based on size and texture – it goes like this:-

  1. Separate hard lumps, like rabbit pellets that can be painful to pass. They signify faeces that have been sitting in the intestines for some time. Constipation may also be that you only poo a couple of times a week and most definitely strain to pass the poo.
  2. Lumpy, sausage shape poo indicates much the same as number 1 – in that, you are having issues with your diet.
  3. Sausage like with cracks on the surface is a normal healthy poo.
  4. Snake-like, smooth and soft is the ideal poo and signifies your gut system is working to its optimal ability. The poo remains intact when flushed.
  5. Soft blobs are borderline for showing a possible issue.
  6. Mushy poo has been flushed through your intestine quickly.
  7. Liquid diarrhoea is the ultimate signpost for erratic gut issues. Your body is trying to get rid of toxins in the digestive system, that could have been caused by contaminated water or food, a virus, food intolerance or colon problems.

Poo colours also designate health symptoms.

  • Brownish in colour is normal.
  • Black or red is indicative of intestinal bleeding, cancer or bleeding from hemorroids.
  • Gray colour displays a liver concern.
  • Yellow, foul-smelling tells you that your intestines didn’t properly digest and absorb the fat you ate. There would be anxiety for celiac disease or pancreatitis. Very likely, you will have a gastric infection. Often this is poo that floats and refuses to flush away.

Your poo is what you eat.

Change your diet and you can change your poo. 70% of your body’s immune system is in the digestive tract. To maintain good bowel health, experts suggest the following:

  • Eat balanced high-fibre foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Cut back on medications
  • Relieve any stress you have in your life
  • Exercise regularly
  • If you are over the age of 45, complete the 2 yearly bowel tests sent to you by the Australian government for the Bowel Screening Programme.

By performing a physical examination, or ordering scans, your Dr can determine if there are any problems within your digestive system. Talk to your Dr. if you didn’t make any major changes to your diet and your poo has a strong smell and looks odd as per the Bristol Scale.

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