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Be Warned! 9 Serious Poop Signs That Should Warn You Of Some Serious Health Problem.

Poop, in simplest terms, is the body’s natural way of expelling waste and toxins that it doesn’t need once it’s absorbed all of the usable nutrients from food.

These bodily emissions are an important health topic that deserves serious attention. Majority of the people never look at their stool. But did you know that you could be flushing your health down the drain? That’s why it’s important that we all take an occasional peek in the bowl and assess the situation.

The characteristics of your stool will tell you a good deal about how happy and healthy your digestive tract is – the colour, odour, shape, size, and even the sound it makes when it hits the water and whether it's a "sinker" or a "floater" are all relevant information.

It is therefore a good idea to take an occasional peek in the toilet, just to make sure all the plumbing is working right!

So, What is a Normal Poop?

Your stool is about 75% water. The rest is a fetid combination of fiber, live and dead bacteria, miscellaneous cells and mucus.

Healthy stool is medium to light brown in colour, is smooth and soft, formed into one long shape and not a bunch of pieces. It is usually S-shaped, which comes from the shape of your lower intestine and about one to two inches in diameter and up to 18 inches long. It usually has a uniform texture and has a natural smell, not repulsive (I'm not saying it will smell good).

It should quietly and gently dive into the water...it should fall into the bowl with the slightest little "whoosh" sound – not a loud, wet cannonball splash that leaves your toosh in need of a shower.

What’s NOT Normal?

1. It Hurts — like, really hurts.

Pooping should never hurt, but sometimes, it happens. Usually, a painful poop can just be chalked up to gas pain or constipation. Painful pooping is most commonly a sign of an anal fissure, or a small tear in the anus. In more rare cases, the pain can be a symptom of severe and life-threatening conditions such as diverticulitis and even colon cancer.

Therefore, if it really hurts on a regular basis, you need to pay close attention or see a doctor.

2. How often should you move your bowels?

Normal bowel habits vary but three bowel movements per day to three per week is considered the normal range. What's more important than frequency is the ease with which you move your bowels. 

If you need to push or strain, something is off – moving your bowels should take no more effort than urinating or passing gas.

3. You can’t stop going.

The average body takes between 18 and 72 hours to convert food into poop and pass it on out. When this time is significantly shortened, the result is diarrhea because your intestine doesn't have time to absorb all of the water.

Healthy bowel movements do not send you running for the bathroom at the drop of a hat unfortunately diarrhea does. If you feel an urgent need to ‘go’ all the time, and you’re producing soft, liquid stools, your poop is unhealthy.

Most cases of diarrhea are linked to something minor, like a stomach bug. However, diarrhea that is persistent and doesn’t clear up in a day or two can leave you dangerously dehydrated and often indicates a more serious problem, like ulcerative colitis.

4. Your Stool is too hard.

When transit time is lengthened, you may end up constipated because too much water has been absorbed, resulting in hard, dry stools. Passing hard, dry stools that you have to strain to move is defined as constipation and it's typically accompanied by decreased frequency of defecation.

Straining is not normal, nor are experiencing feelings of incomplete elimination, bloating, crampiness, or sluggishness after going number two.

Chronic, untreated constipation can lead to fecal impaction which can be a serious medical condition. 
Laxatives should be avoided at all cost and used only as a last resort. If you absolutely must use a laxative, make sure it is used for only a very short period of time.

If you're over the age of 65, your risk of becoming constipated increases significantly.

5. There’s blood.

Blood in your poop is always is a bad sign that should never be ignored.

If it’s just a spot or two of blood, you might be dealing with a hemorrhoid. However, if there are streaks of blood in the toilet or on the paper or if the stool itself is red, purple, or black, this could be a sign of a rectal bleed.

If you have a large amount of blood, go to the doctor straightaway.

6. Your poop is yellowish and extremely smelly.

All poop is smelly, but if it smells extremely foul, that’s a sign that your poop is unhealthy.

A combination of a yellowish khaki tint coloured poop and a very foul smell usually indicates that your body isn’t absorbing nutrients from your food effectively.

Sometimes, this symptom is associate with a chronic illness like Celiac disease. Other times, it indicates inflammation in your pancreas.

If you have eaten untreated water or food, it could also be caused by a microbe called giardia.

7. It’s very pale.

Any bowel movement that appears whitish, tan, or clay-like is unhealthy poop. These unusually pale bowl movements happen when your body’s bile isn’t draining properly. 

The liver makes bile which gives poop its brown colour and the gallbladder releases the bile into the digestive system.

If the poop is pale, it might indicate that your liver isn’t functioning properly or that your gallbladder’s bile duct is blocked.

8. Your poops are very narrow.

Pencil-like poops can indicate that a tumor or another blockage is stuck in your bowel and is causing the unhealthy poop symptoms. Your intestines are a tube, and when something blocks part of the tube, the result is a very narrow stool that managed to squeeze past.

If you notice a stringy poop, your first step should be to up your fiber intake and see whether constipation was a factor. If that doesn’t work and the problem persists, call your doctor.

9. You have ‘floaters’.

A healthy poop usually sinks to the bottom of the toilet bowl. So, if your poop floats, it is a sign that there is a lot of fat and grease packed into it. This could be a simple indicator that you have too much fat in your diet. Fats are lighter than water, so they buoy the stool up to the surface.

It could also be a sign that your body isn’t absorbing and processing fat correctly, which can be an early symptom of pancreatic disease.

How to Get Your Poop Back to Normal.

(i) Increase Your Fiber Intake.

Adults should make sure they consume fiber from whole food sources as often as possible. It’s best to aim to get between 25-40 grams of fiber per day.

Getting this much fiber shouldn’t be too difficult if your diet is made up of real, whole foods- including plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Vegetables, fruits, and beans are some of the best sources of both soluble and insoluble fiber which will increase your ability to properly poop.

(ii) Drink plenty of water.

Aim to consume water every 2 hours at a minimum; drinking 8 oz. every couple of hours will keep you hydrated throughout the day and set you up for a healthier poop the following morning.

Whenever you are eating a lot of fiber, you want to also make sure to drink plenty of water. 
Remember that fiber swells and expands in the digestive tract, so if it doesn’t have enough water to absorb and to move it through the gut lining, you can experience uncomfortable bloating, gas, pains, and constipation.

(iii) Probiotics.

Probiotics help to create a healthy environment in your gut “micoflora”. Essentially this means that the amount of “good bacteria” in your gut is able to balance the amount of “bad bacteria,” helping you to stay free of digestive problems including constipation or diarrhea.

Probiotic-rich foods include things like high-quality yoghurts.  Make sure that when buying dairy products, you always choose organic products as they are easier on digestion, such as goat milk products, raw dairy products or dairy that doesn’t contain A1 casein which can cause inflammation. 

You can also try supplementing with a good-quality probiotic as well.

(iv) Supplement with Magnesium.

If you frequently deal with constipation, magnesium has the natural ability to safely soften poop. It works to draw water from your gut into the poop and helps it to easily move through your system. 

Magnesium is also a natural muscle relaxer which can help to stop cramping in the gut and abdomen.
Since magnesium is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in adults, there are really no downsides to tying magnesium, as long as you stick within the recommended daily dosage carefully; if you start experiencing stools that are too loose and watery, you can adjust your intake until its comfortable and back to normal.

(v) Support your Liver! 

Did you know that your liver is responsible for producing the bile that digests fat? Without enough bile, your fats become something like soap in your gut!  This backs up and can lead to constipation and difficulty detoxing the body of toxins. One of the best ways to support your liver is with diet and exercise!

You can also do a liver cleanse to clean everything out and get your body back to feeling its best.

(vi) Get your body moving.

Exercises stimulate the bowels and lymphatic system which helps to push waste down to your colon, making it easier for you to go. Furthermore, exercises relax one’s mind and reduce stress which is one of the biggest reasons for digestive troubles.

Now that you know, enjoy some healthy toileting…

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