What does your poop say about your health? This may sound like a joke, but you can actually learn a lot about your health from your daily doo.
According to Dr. Mercola, the shape, size, color, and other fecal features can tell you a great deal about your overall health, how your gastrointestinal tract is functioning, and even give you clues about serious disease processes that could be occurring, like infections, digestive problems, and even cancer.
The most important part of a “normal” poop is the quality, so part of this quiz requires you to look down and see what’s really going on. The folks at the University of Bristol published a study in the Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology, gifting us with the Bristol Stool Chart.
A “normal” poop is “like a sausage or a snake, smooth and soft (4). Anything between a 1-3 is considered constipated, while 6’s and 7’s are considered diarrhea.
THIS IS WHAT YOUR POOP SAYS ABOUT YOUR HEALTH
• Medium to light brown
• Smooth and soft, formed into one long shape and not a bunch of pieces
• About one to two inches in diameter and up to 18 inches long
• S-shaped, which comes from the shape of your lower intestine
• It should fall into the bowl with the slightest little “whoosh” sound – not a loud, wet cannonball splash that leaves your toosh in need of a shower
• Natural smell, not repulsive
• Uniform texture.
• Stool that is hard to pass, painful, or requires straining
• Hard lumps and pieces, or mushy and watery, or even pasty and difficult to clean off
• Narrow, pencil-like or ribbon-like stools. This can indicate a bowel obstruction or tumor – or worst case, colon cancer; narrow stools on an infrequent basis are not so concerning, but if they persist – call your doctor.
• Black, tarry stools or bright red stools may indicate bleeding in the GI tract; black stools can also come from certain medications, supplements or consuming black licorice; if you have black, tarry stools, it’s best to be evaluated by your healthcare provider.
• White, pale or gray stools may indicate a lack of bile, which may suggest a serious problem (hepatitis, cirrhosis, pancreatic disorders, or possibly a blocked bile duct), so this warrants a call to your physician; antacids may also produce white stool
• Presence of undigested food (more of a concern if accompanied by diarrhea, weight loss, or other changes in bowel habits)
• Increased mucus in stool – This can be associated with inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis, or even colon cancer, especially if accompanied by blood or abdominal pain
• Floaters or splashers