Are your number two’s a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7? Or somewhere in between?
Turns out we can actually tell a lot about your health by looking and smelling your daily doos. The digestive tract is truly the gateway to the rest of the body and if you don’t have good gut health, which your poop is a reflection of, then you don’t have good health.
All Disease Begins in the Gut – Hippocrates (2500 year ago)
Your poop and other gut related characteristics like gas, bloating, or presences of pain reveals a lot about your digestive health — how hydrated you are, whether you’re digesting fat well, eating enough fiber, producing enough digestive enzymes and how you’re handling stress.
So Let’s talk about the frequency, color, and the form of your poop!
Let’s start with frequency: One to three poops a day is ideal. One to three a week, not so ideal.
Your frequency is going to be dependent on how much and what type of food and fiber you eat, how hydrated you are, the quality of the bugs in your gut, and your bowel motility — which is a reflection of other organs and hormones. For example, if you’re thyroid is low you may have problems with constipation. See my other blog on thyroid, because the normal tests your Doc runs are not sufficient to determine whether or not you have thyroid issues.
If you’re going more than 3 times a day, you can try to bulk up your stools by eating more plant fiber like fruit, veggies, lentils and beans. The fiber will help slow your transit time which can help you absorb those precious nutrients from the food you’re eating.
If your transit time is too fast, then your body doesn’t have enough time to absorb all those precious nutrients from your food. If increasing fiber doesn’t work you might think about getting some expert advise and do more comprehensive stool analysis.
If you’re consistently going less than once a day, well you are not eliminating well and you don’t want that to happen. It’s kinda like not taking the trash out of your house. It’s gonna start to stink. We eliminate toxins and food waste through the colon and if you’re not doing that, well then, you’re sitting in your own waste.
A good place to start is to take 300-500 mg of magnesium/day at night before bed. Magnesium helps to increase the amount of water in the bowels. And speaking of water, drink lots of it.
I like Colon Rx because it contains both magnesium and triphala. Triphala is a well-recognized and highly efficacious Ayurvedic herb consisting of fruits of the plant species Emblica officinalis (Amalaki), Terminalia bellerica (Bibhitaki), and Terminalia chebula (Haritaki), It is a cornerstone of gastrointestinal and re-juvenative treatment in Ayurvedic medicine. (R)
Vitamin C is also a powerful nutrient to soften stools and speed up gastric motility plus it serves as a powerful anti-microbial, anti-oxidant, and especially good to take routinely if you’ve got a lot of stress in your life. Take 500-600mg 3x/day.
You’re doing pretty good if the color of your poop is in the brownish-hue color range. Think Hershey’s chocolate bar color. Black can indicate bleeding in the upper GI tract. Red can indicate bleeding in the lower GI tract, due to hemorrhoids for example. If you see green colors, yellow, tan or even white this can indicate fat malabsorption and maldigestion and possible stagnation in your liver, gallbladder and/or pancreas. If you see these latter colors it’s worth taking the time to do a comprehensive stool analysis.(See Below)
Take a look at the chart above. Is your poop soft, hard or runny?
Type 1 and 2 are on the harder side and can be hard to pass and are indicative of constipation. Types 3 and 4 — are sausage or snake like. I prefer to say banana-like, smooth, and soft.
Types 5-7 indicate that your stools are loose, mushy or runny and more on the order of diarrhea.
Can you guess which one is ideal? If you said Type 1… you’d be wrong:-). Ideal is somewhere between 3-4 but more like 4. If you tend to run hard or too soft then I recommend getting a comprehensive stool analysis done to help identify what’s truly going on. (see below).
It should be easy to wipe up, yup gotta talk about that too! You should feel lighter after you’ve pooped and there should be minimal odor and gas.
LENGTH OF TIME
How long should it take for you to drop-the-kids-off at the pool? Your stools should be easy to pass, generally within a few minutes. You should also feel like you’re complete after you poop. Meaning, business is over and there’s nothing left in your bowels. Some people take 2 or more session in the morning to completely empty their bowels.
In the field of functional and integrative medicine this is one of the first conversations we have when helping people get to the bottom of their health concerns. Even when that health concern seems to be unrelated to the gut. Because “seemingly unrelated” health issues, like pain and inflammation in the body, mood and cognitive issues, inability to lose weight, brain-fog, auto-immunity, feeling tired all the time are, actually, all related to the gut.
So if your poop is type 3-4 and/or looks like the classic poop emoji and you’ve got a fairly regular daily bowel movement around the same time every day, passes fairly easily and the smell doesn’t clear out the room then these are signs that your digestion is pretty strong and you’re eliminating/detoxing well and in general you’re doing pretty good.
However, if you are still having some health issues you would like to resolve, and/or you’re not feeling like you’re thriving, then working with an integrative or functional medicine health expert that does comprehensive stool analyses and knows how to heal the gut can really help you optimize your digestive health so you can feel younger and stronger well into your older years.
Unfortunately your conventionally trained doctor isn’t versed in the type of stool testing we use in functional medicine. We are using cutting-edge state-of-the-art testing that takes the latest research into consideration. We are not only looking out for harmful parasites, bacteria, and viruses but we also look for a balance of the healthy, keystone microbes that are doing important jobs for us, functionally, when it comes to digestive health. I recommend the GI-Map by Diagnostic Solutions or GI-Effects by Genova Diagnostics.
If you want more information we’d love to hear from you @ firstname.lastname@example.org or setup a free 20 min consult.
- Improves overall fat, protein and carbohydrate digestion
- Eases occasional indigestion, heartburn and bloating
- Balances stomach acid
- Soothes the gut
- Minimizes heaviness, stomach pain and fatigue following meals