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.
In this post I’ll give you the full scoop on what is and isn’t a good poop.
Has your doctor ever asked you about your poop?
Didn’t think so.
Did your parents tell you what to look for? Nope.
But Mama Natural is going there!
Hippocrates says that all disease begins in the gut
So we wanna be sure that what’s coming out of the gut looks good.
There are three main things to look for
I’ll cover them all below and in this video.
What Your Poop Says About You Video
Best Bowel Movements #1. Frequency
It’s best to have at least one complete bowel movement a day. You should feel like your bowels have emptied rather than just partially eliminated. Some people have bowel movements 2-3 times a day. This can be because of faster metabolisms, more robust good bacteria, or the quantity of food they eat. If you are eliminating more than 3 times a day, you are entering into the world of diarrhea which I will address next. Some people will say if you have bowel movements every couple of days it’s fine, but I disagree. This one of our body’s greatest ways to eliminate toxins, acids and other stuff, so it’s best to do daily.
Best Bowel Movements #2. Form
This is important, and it isn’t talked about often. We want to be sure our poops are well formed. This ensures we’ve digested and assimilated the nutrients from our food, and are eliminating acids and toxins properly. Here’s a handy reference called the Bristol chart to gauge your bowel movements.
Type 1: Separate hard lumps, like little balls (hard to pass)
Type 2: Sausage-shaped, but lumpy
Type 3: Like a sausage but with cracks on its surface
Type 4: Like a sausage or snake, smooth and soft
Type 5: Soft blobs with clear cut edges (passed easily)
Type 6: Fluffy pieces with ragged edges, a mushy stool
Type 7: Watery, no solid pieces. Entirely liquid
Can you guess where you want to be on the chart?
If you said #4, you’re right! You wanna have nice tubular shape. Think long bananas that don’t break apart when you flush. The Perfect poop comes out with ease, smells more like super-ripe fruit than something terrible, and you barely need to wipe.
It’s better to be a 3 than a 5 or 6
Diarrhea is harder to control and typically stems from harder issues to fix. With diarrhea, you may also have a level of malabsorption going on so you aren’t getting the nutrients you need.
Stool too loose?
If you find that your stool is soft, mushy, or liquidy or too frequent, there are several things you could do. First, I would talk to your doctor to see what he/she says and do some testing like a comprehensive stool analysis. In the meantime, to firm up your stool, consume more foods on the BRAT diet. This stands for
- Apples/apple sauce
- Toast or Tea
These foods have qualities like tannins that can actually help firm up stool for better bowel movements. You can also consume a teaspoon or two of food-grade bentonite clay. This helps to bind and absorb toxins, and will often firm up loose stool. You also would want to take some good probiotics and eliminate irritants like gluten, wheat or too many grains, nuts or seeds until your gut is healed.
Stool too hard?
If you find your stool is too hard or infrequent, you can also talk to your doctor about testing. Consider doing a full thyroid panel. Also, adding a little magnesium support to your diet can help tremendously. I like Ancient Minerals magnesium spray or these magnesium supplements. You can also just add magnesium-rich foods to your diet. Magnesium draws water into the bowel, making stool softer and easier to eliminate. It also relaxes the muscles in the intestinal wall, which helps with constipation.
You can also add in some good probiotics. I like Prescript Assist soil-based ones. Cod liver oil and healthy fats can also keep things moving, and so can soaked chia seeds or other nuts and seeds.
Pears are also wonderful – two a day will keep things moving. Yoga and abdominal massage are great tools. Other people have success using a castor oil pack on their abdomen a few times a week. Another trick you can try is to drop 1 drop of Peppermint essential oil into your toilet and sit down. It will stimulate your bowels and often result in a movement.
Best Bowel Movements #3. Color
Okay, we’ve talked about form, now let’s talk about color. Believe it or not, color matters! We want our stools to be a nice medium- to dark-brown color. Think milk chocolate.
If your stool is black, it could be a sign of blood in your upper GI tract.
If you have yellow poop or green poop, could be from fat malabsorption or liver or gallbladder stress. Drink beet kvass, Swedish bitters, or take HCL/Pepsin or other digestive enzymes to help you break down fat.
Keep in mind if you eat certain foods or food dyes your stool color may change. For example, if you eat lots of beets, your stools could take on a reddish hue. And eating tons of leafy greens may explain why your poop is green.
To Float or Not to Float?
One final thing… as I know this will come up in the comments, should your poop float? This is the million dollar question and I’ve seen mixed opinions from a whole host of health care professionals. Some say floating is better and indicates enough fiber in the diet. Others say it indicates fat malabsorption. Overall, the consensus seems to be that sinkers are better. The key is to notice which type YOU feel best on.
So what’s next?
See my companion post: How to have a GREAT poop. ?
How about you?
Where do your poops fall on the Bristol Stool Chart? Do you do anything to optimize your daily doo?