Have you ever wondered about what your poop says about you, and whether you are having a healthy poop? When you have SIBO your bowel habits can be all over the place, frustratingly changing from day to day. Toilet habits can be a taboo subject but your poop says a lot about your overall health. It’s important to know what healthy poop looks like, what should you look out for, what’s good and what might be an indication that there is an area for concern.
Our poop frequency and appearance gives us insight into how well our gastrointestinal tract is functioning and can even indicate if there is a serious disease process taking place.
The Bristol Stool Form Scale (BSFS) is a 7-point scale which has been used in clinical practice to measure stool appearance and bowel transit time (the time it takes for food to move from mouth to anus). There is even a modified 5 point scale Bristol Stool Chart for children.
Most of us are detached from our human “manufacturing”. Investigating only when we feel off, gassy, constipated, bloated or when there’s an uncontrollable urgency to pass poop.
I would like to ask you to do the unthinkable? …Get up close and personal with your poop.
You see, your poop is trying to tell you what’s happening under the human epithelial bonnet. If you listen, it may just save you years of poor health and loads of money spent trying to band-aid treat symptoms.
Then quit ignoring the messages your poop is trying to deliver.
Poop characteristics to look out for
- Texture – formed or loose
- Any noticeable bits in it (undigested food, mucus, blood, pus, fat globules)
- Does it sink or float?
- Smell – mild or foul
- Straining or easy to pass
- Accompanied by pain
- Any changes from your normal frequency and appearance?
We are all so wonderfully unique which means that there are many variables to the appearance of our poop. There are however some poopy characters that warrant your attention.
Poop color and scent
Medium brown is ideal. Variations from brown may indicate incomplete or impaired digestion.
Green poop often means that food is passing through your digestive tract quickly, which can be a sign that something is not agreeing with your body and it is being removed asap. You may be moving toward diarrhoea. Certain foods and supplements such as leafy vegetables, spirulina and chlorophyll can cause poop to be green too.
Grey, yellow or white
May indicate the presence of mucus and/or a problem with the liver, bile production, gallbladder or pancreas. Certain medications such as antacids and antibiotics may produce white or yellow stools. Yellow stools may also indicate an infection from pathogens such as giardia or be indicative of Gilbert’s syndrome.
Black, tarry (sticky and shiny), bright red or red
Congealed blood is black; fresh blood is red.
It is normal for poop to smell, however if the odor is extremely foul, it should not be ignored. Foul smelling stool may be a sign of conditions such as a malabsorption, Celiac disease, Leaky Gut, Crohn’s disease, carbohydrate intolerance, food allergies, chronic pancreatitis, cystic fibrosis, short bowel syndrome and infections (bacterial, viral or parasitic) such as Clostridium Difficile.
Please note that this is a general guide only. The big take home is that if you experience a change in bowel frequency and appearance, don’t ignore it or suffer in silence. Seek professional advice as your poop may be trying to tell you something.