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.