Most of us like to flush it and forget it, but pooping is an essential bodily function that is vital to your health. It is your body’s way of expelling waste that is doesn’t need. This is why the look and smell of your stool can provide clues as to what’s going on inside your body. The texture, shape, size, smell and color of your stool can hint at things like dehydration, diseases, deficiencies in your diet and even stress, so the next time you do the doo, see what your poop is trying to tell you. Here’s what to look for:
Texture and Shape of Your Stool
Color of Your Stool
Each person is different and so are their bowel movements. There is no normal. The size, shape and frequency of feces differ greatly from person to person. Instead of looking for “normal” look for changes from what you regularly experience as your normal bowel movement. For example, changes like previously moving your bowels frequently to now having trouble going, or previously having solid feces but now they are consistently runny. Sometimes medications can cause constipation or changes in frequency of bowel movements, so always be aware of the side effects of the medications you are taking. If you experience any big, noticeable changes that last, you should see your doctor.
“Everyone’s bowel habits are different so there is a very wide variety of ‘normal,’” said Robert Giacobbe, DO, of Mather Primary Care. “One of the most important warning signs is change. If there is any change in the size, thickness, frequency or color of your stool, talk to your doctor. Also, any unexplained weight loss or new bloating, cramping or abdominal pain should prompt a visit to your doctor. Finally, blood is always abnormal. Although bleeding can be caused by something benign, you should always call your doctor if you see blood in your stool.” Giacobbe said.
Additionally, our bodies react to stress differently and some of those reactions may manifest in the bathroom. If your bowel movements have changed drastically and other medical conditions have been ruled out by your doctor, stress may be the culprit. Pay attention to what your bowels are telling you. From stress to medical conditions, they provide you with warning signs that will help you improve your overall health.