You might not think too much about the appearance of your stools, but experts say they can give clues into your wellbeing and help detect signs of major health concerns such as bowel cancer.
Doctors say one of the most worrying signs of bowel cancer actually appears in your poo, with traces of blood indicating that something might be wrong.
With bowel cancer climbing the charts as the third most common cancer in the world, doctors are asking patients to keep an eye out for changes in their stools that could point towards bowel cancer.
Thankfully, a new chart is teaching people what to look out for and how to know when something might be wrong.
Studies have found that most people, understandably, are reluctant to talk about their poo with friends or family. Go figure!
The problem is, this means many people are missing the signs of early stage bowel cancer and their chance to start treatment before it is too late.
If caught early, doctors say bowel cancer is very treatable and patients have a much greater chance of beating it than if it is detected in the later stages.
What are bowel cancer symptoms?
- Bleeding from your bottom and/or blood in your poo
- A change in bowel habit lasting three weeks or more
- Unexplained weight loss
- Extreme tiredness for no obvious reason
- A pain or lump in your tummy
Since the warning signs of bowel cancer are usually the most obvious in stools, the chart is designed to show people what to look out for and how to detect changes.
Doctors say stools that are dark or tan-coloured can be a sign of bowel cancer and urge patients to consult their doctor if they notice changes lasting up to three weeks.
Experts are encouraging people to talk more about these kinds of health alerts and share the information with their friends and families.