I know, I post about the best topics!
But seriously – this is an important one. Your poo can tell you a lot about your digestive health, so it’s worth paying attention. Basically your poo is a clue.
SO WHAT IS A HEALTHY POO?
Frequency Contrary to what you might have heard it’s normal to poop anywhere from three times a day to three times a week. Yes. Really. Going every day might not be the norm for you and that’s OK. Going less than three times a week is usually considered constipation. But just as important as frequency is…
Appearance The look of your poo. Health professionals use something called the Bristol stool chart (you can see this below) to help determine a healthy poo. It’s a cartoon style drawing of 7 different poo types. The holy grail of poo is type 3-4 – smooth and easy (and pain free) to pass. Types 1-2 indicate constipation and types 6-7 suggest diarrhoea, which can be a sign of infection (you’ve probably experienced this if you’ve had food poisoning) or other conditions like irritable bowel syndrome or lactose intolerance.
Other factors to consider – taking time to read a few pages of your favourite novel on the toilet is no big deal but pain, straining or taking a really long time to poop is a sign there might be an issue. All shades of brown are normal, but certain foods (like beets) can change the colour temporarily. Greasy, oily, pale or watery poos can be a sign of malabsorption, so chat to your G.P. is this sounds familiar. What about gas? Well, it’s normal – the average person is said to trump around 14-20 a day (true!), but excessive or v. offensive gas or bloating can be a sign of gut problems – or a problem digesting a particular food.
If you’ve noticed a change in your poo that lasts for longer than a week or two, visit your G.P. If you’re unsure, keeping a poo diary can help you to describe your symptoms. Stay tuned for more on what you can do to foster a healthy poop habit and what the different poo types can tell you.