Pooping is a normal bodily function that we normally do not talk about to our detriment. Your poop is one of the best indicators of what’s going on in you. This is why it’s important to be able to analyse it. Here’s what your poop says about your health from colour to consistency and more.
Your poop is normal if the frequency is anywhere between three times a day to three times a week. Three times a day is for people with a fast metabolism while more than three times a day could be a sign of diarrhoea. Infrequent stool could indicate a low water intake and lack of fibre.
It’s normal for poop to vary in colour with most shades of brown and green being okay. Colour can be affected by a variety of factors including food, medication, and other underlying health concerns. Here’s what the colour means.
Normal poop ranges from light brown to dark brown because of the natural breakdown of bile in the gastrointestinal tract. Bile is produced by the liver and helps in the breakdown of fat.
The most likely reason why poop may be green is because you recently ate green vegetables. Sometimes it’s green because the content moved through the digestive tract too fast and little, or no bile was involved, like in the case of diarrhoea. The green colour may also be a sign of an infection. If it’s consistently green, you should consider consulting a physician.
Yellow poop is often because you recently ate lots of carrots or drank yellow-coloured fluids. It may be an indication of poor fat absorption in the bile ducts or a sign of cystic fibrosis, celiac disease or pancreatitis.
Black poop may be caused by certain medications and supplements. It may also signal possible bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract, which is shy to be on the safe side, you should speak to a physician if it recurs.
Red or maroon
One of the most common reasons for red-coloured poop is consuming red-coloured food such as beets, tomatoes, or other red food. If your poop has bright red blood spots, this may indicate bleeding in the anal canal or in the lower rectum. Other causes may be internal haemorrhoids, anal fissures, rectal polyps or rectal cancers. Maroon coloured stool may indicate bleeding from the end of the small bowel or the colon. You should consult a doctor.
Pale or clay coloured
Pale poop may indicate a potential blockage in the bile duct obstructing the flow of bile. This obstruction prevents the bile from mixing with the stool leaving it looking pale and colourless. Certain medications can also cause pale or whitish stool.
Rocks and pebbles
Normal stool should be at least a few inches long and cylindrical, not small pellets. Poop that is hard and shaped like tiny rocks or pebbles may be a sign of constipation. If the muscle contractions in the large intestines are not working well, some stool gets left behind, and it hardens over time. In general, hard stool is a sign of constipation, inadequate water intake or excessive water loss from the body.
Oily or greasy
Poop that appears oily or greasy and is difficult to flush could signal your body is not properly digesting fat.
Mucus in the stool
Poop with mucus is usually because of inflammation of the intestines. If the mucus is accompanied by blood or abdominal pain, you should consider seeing a doctor.
Occasionally thin poop is fine, however, if your poop is suddenly, consistently thin, it may indicate a blockage in the colon which is something you should consider speaking to your doctor about.
If your poop is suddenly watery or with a diarrhoea consistency and this recurs, it could signify irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, or other infection.
You should speak to your doctor if you alternate between constipation and diarrhoea. Three easy ways to improve your poop are eating a healthy high-fibre diet, exercising regularly, and staying hydrated.
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