What is your poop trying to tell you about your health?

The average person poops 1-3 times per day.  Our poop can hold important facts about our health, if we pay attention!  But studies have shown that only 27% of people actually look at their stools.

A perfect bowel movement should be brown, log-shaped, and with cracks on the surface.  That is the gold standard of poop.  What do other types of poop tell us?

Small pellets:  This typically indicates constipation.

Black stool:  While bismuth medications, licorice and iron have been known to cause black stool,  it can also indicate bleeding in the upper intestinal tract.

Green stool:  This can be from eating a large amount of green food such as vegetables, but can also mean that the food is moving too quickly through the digestive tract, and the green digestive bile did not have a chance to turn brown.

Red stool:  The biggest concern of course is that red could be blood, however some foods such as cranberries, beets, and red gelatin can cause red stool.

Yellow, greasy stool:  This can be from eating large amounts of fat, but can also mean a malabsorption problem like Celiac disease.

White stool:  This can be from a lack of bile secreted from the liver, and can indicate a serious medical problem.

Stool with mucous:  This can represent infection or inflammation of the bowel.

Floating poop:  This can again be from high fat content in the diet or from malabsorption.  It is better if poop sinks.

Pencil-sized poop:  This is concerning as it can represent a narrowing or obstruction of the bowel, and can be associated with colon cancer.

This is the chart that nurses use in the hospital to document stool type:

poop.png

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