04 Nov What does your poo say about you
4 Nov 2019
De-Code Your Poo
An extremely handy guide is called the ‘Bristol Stool Chart’. We’ve popped a picture of it below and will refer to it a few times below when I talk about the ‘Types’.
This may look like pebbly separate lumps (Type 1) or a lumpy dry sausage shape with cracks (Type 2). Poos like this are often hard and sometimes painful to pass, and likely indicate constipation. Some of the most common causes of constipation are a lack of water or dietary fibre from foods like vegetables, fruits and wholegrains. Other causes include an imbalance in your gut microflora, certain foods, hormone imbalance and stress.
This is a Type 4 and looks a bit like a banana. This is generally considered a healthy poo. Everyone’s ‘healthy’ is different, but this is the general benchmark to aim for.
This may look like Type 6, is usually passed very easily. These sorts of poos can be caused by various factors, including stress or a lack of dietary fibre.
This type of poo contains no solid pieces at all (Type 7). It’s considered diarrhoea if it’s accompanied by urgency and increased frequency. This type of poo may be due to an imbalance in your gut microbiome, inflammation, a lack of dietary fibre, stress and other factors.
Generally, a ‘healthy’ poo is brown due to something called bile (which helps you breakdown and digest fats). Bile is typically green, but as it moves through your digestive tract through various processes, it will usually result in a brown stool.
This often occurs when your poo has moved through your intestines too quickly. The green colour comes from the bile which has not had enough time to break down, and is often accompanied by diarrhoea.
This may indicate an issue with fat breakdown and absorption and therefore an excess of fat in your stool. This may be due to issue with your liver or gall bladder.
This may simply be because you’ve eaten beetroot recently, but it may also be due to blood. Often, it is due to something like hemorrhoids. However if you notice this, it’s best to go to your doctor as soon as possible to get checked.Black or very dark poo
This may be due to an excess of dried blood from somewhere inside your digestive tract. As the blood travels through your digestive tract, the iron in the blood oxidises and darkens… causing a black and sometimes ‘tarry’ poo. In this situation, we highly recommend going to your doctor as soon as possible for a check up. It may also be due to other factors, including certain iron supplements, eating lots of spinach or black liquorice.
Pretty much everyone experiences undigested corn in their poo, but some people will notice other undigested bits of food (like veggie skins or nuts). This may indicate that you’re not chewing your food properly or that your digestive system is not properly breaking down your food.
A slimy or mucousy poo is often an indication of inflammation in your digestive tract. Your digestive tract is lined with mucous membranes, and your body produces mucous as somewhat of a ‘protective layer’ when there’s inflammation. This inflammation may be from a variety of factors, including infection, certain foods or inflammatory bowel disease.
Poo that requires lots of wiping or leaves marks on your toilet bowel often indicates that there’s fat in your poo. This may indicate an issue with fat breakdown and absorption, again possibly due to liver or gall bladder issues.
So, there you have it! Next time you go to the loo, take a good look. Your poo really can be quite insightful. However, we’re all completely unique human beings. The above is a general guide, but as we said there are many more factors to consider, including underlying health conditions. One thing we haven’t talked about here is frequency (i.e. how often you go to the loo – daily, multiple times a day, once every few days, etc). If you’re curious, concerned or confused about your bowel habits…or anything else to do with your gut or general health, please get in contact with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or book an appointment online.