Everybody does it, but it’s how we do it that reveals important insights to our health.
It might be unpleasant or embarrassing to talk about but the fact of the matter is that doing a number two is part of our life and we need to take notice when we feel something isn’t right.
Here’s what to look out for next time you are in the bathroom.
Hard, pebbly pieces, straining to pass it
It’s obvious that if your poo is pebble-like and small, you’re constipated, however even if you’re regular but you’re doing these types of poos it’s easy to think you’re not just because you’re passing something. If your stool is consistently hard and comes out in pieces, it’s a big sign that you need to increase your fibre intake.
Taking a daily magnesium supplement can also help your bowel movements stay soft, and relax the muscles that line the bowel.
Black or red stool
This may mean something in your GI tract is bleeding, which could be anything from a ulcer to haemorrhoids or something more serious. Any time you notice blood in the toilet bowl, see your doctor, especially if it doesn’t look fresh. Certain medications can turn your stool black but the colour is temporary and harmless.
Very loose stool, but not diarrhea
This could mean you have celiac disease or you need to reduce the amount of gluten you’re consuming. Cut down on your high-grain diet to aid absorption and firm up your stools.
Green and liquid
This is a bit yuck but it’s clear that if your poo is any colour but brown, especially green, you’re sick. Go to your doctor and have a check up and a course of antibiotics.
Seeing pieces of undigested food in your poo can mean either you have not chewed your food properly or your digestive system needs some TLC. With that said, corn kernels are notoriously hard to digest and these can be ignored.
Visible mucus that resembles a gel may be a sign of inflammation. While our digestive tract is lined with mucous membranes to make it easier to go to the loo, you should not be able to see the mucus. It could mean there’s an infection.
So what does the perfect poo look like?
The perfect poo is about the size and shape of a banana, and is not too hard nor too soft. There’s no magic number for the amount of poos to do a day to be considered regular, but it’s regarded as unusual if you don’t go every couple of days.
Poo changes its appearance changes from day to day and these variations are nothing to be worried about, unless they are frequent.
So, next time you are about to flush, take a look. Look for blood and any changes and see your doctor if you have any concerns.