When it comes to poop, things can get a little, well, awkward. It can be kind of an icky subject and one that we often want to avoid talking about. But your poop is an important indicator of your overall health, which means that taking a second glance at what’s inside your porcelain throne could mean catching health issues before they go too far.
Basically, your poo can tell you if your health has gone to crap! There’s no reason to be embarrassed. Remember: Everybody poops.
Today we’re going to explore why your poop is important for your health, find out how to decipher the message and reveal the one thing you need to improve your number two.
Why Your Poop Matters
Your poop is the literal result of what you put into your body and how your body digests it. While you know exactly what you’re putting into your body, you have no way of knowing exactly what’s going on inside, except for what comes out the other end. Your poop is a symptom of your gut health and your gut health is important for many aspects of your health, including weight!
When it comes to weight loss, eating the right foods is important, but if eating right doesn’t seem to be helping you shed pounds, it might be a sign that something else is going on.
Researchers are finding out more and more that gut health matters, big time. Your gut is actually FULL of bacteria! In fact, the bacterial cells in your gut outnumber your own cells that make up your body. Not only that, but you have hundreds of different species living in your gut.
So if you’re ignoring your bacteria, you’re ignoring a huge part of your health. Even though these bacteria might seem small, they have a major effect on your health, including:
- Immune system
- Digestion and absorption of nutrients
But not all gut bacteria are created equal. There are good and bad gut bacteria. Good gut bacteria (a.k.a. probiotics) are the ones that provide major benefits. We have a symbiotic relationship with probiotics. We let them live in our gut and they pay us back with good health. Probiotics help us:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Fight off illness
- Metabolize food better
- Absorb nutrients
- Reduce inflammation
Bad gut bacteria, on the other hand, have the opposite effect. The wrong balance of good and bad bacteria can cause:
- Weight gain
- Tummy troubles
- Frequent illness
You and Your Poop
That’s why it’s so important for you to pay attention to your poop! It can tell you a lot about what’s going on inside. It can help you figure out if things are going smoothly, or if there are issues you might need to worry about.
It’s not just a sign of what your gut bacteria may or may not be doing, it’s a sign of other health issues that might be going on as well.
There are three main areas to consider when it comes to poop:
If you’re poop is brown, you’re good to go. Poop should be the color of a chocolate bar (try getting that image out of your head!). Your stool gets its brown color from the digestion of bile from the liver. It’s all a part of the process.
Green poop isn’t a big deal but it could mean a couple of things. It might be that your food is passing through your intestines very quickly. The bile that turns your poop brown actually starts out yellow. If your waste is passing quickly through the intestines that bile might not have time to fully digest and turn brown, leaving your poop a green color.
Another possibility is that you just ate a lot of green vegetables or green food coloring that happened to turn your poop green.
Yellow poop is also often oily and foul smelling. It is a sign that there is excess fat in your stool, hence the oily texture. The cause for this is could be malabsorption of nutrients. This can be a sign of celiac disease, a disorder in which your body cannot properly digest and absorb gluten.
Seeing red in the toilet bowl is never a good feeling, but it doesn’t necessarily mean something is wrong. While it’s true that blood in your stool isn’t a good thing, the cause could be as mild as hemorrhoids. But it could also be more serious like an ulcer or cancer causing bleeding in your GI tract. If you see blood in your stool, talk to your doctor.
Other causes for red poop could be super simple and harmless, like the end result of eating red food like beets or red food dye.
Black poop that is sticky and “tarry” could be a sign that you are bleeding internally due to an ulcer or cancer. The cause is likely in your upper GI tract because the blood has had a chance to digest, which is why your poop is black in this case and not red.
Certain supplements and other medications can also cause your poop to turn black. Iron supplements, Pepto Bismol, and black licorice can also cause temporarily black poop.
If your poop is white or clay colored it could be caused by a blocked or obstructed bile duct. Since bile is the main reason poop is brown, it makes sense that without bile your poop would look quite colorless.
Temporarily white poop could also result from certain medications like Pepto Bismol or other anti-diarrheal drugs.
If you feel like you’re a rabbit pushing out separate, hard, nut-like lumps then chances are you’re not getting enough fiber and water. Increasing your fiber and water intake should do the trick.
Sausage Shaped but Lumpy
If your poop is a lumpy sausage (kind of like someone pressed those hard nugget poops into a log) then you’re a little closer to a good poop, but not by much. You still need to increase your fiber and water intake.
Sausage Shaped with Cracks
A cracked sausage shape is in the range of healthy. It’s not the perfect poop, but it’s pretty close. Try getting a little more water each day to get things to the next level.
Sausage Shaped, Smooth and Soft
This is the Holy Grail of poops! This is what every poop wants to be: smooth, long, and soft, like play-dough. Your gut is doing great if this is what your poop is like.
Soft Blobs with Clear Cut Edges
If you’re pooping multiple times in a day this poop might be totally normal for you. Soft separate blobs, with well defined edges are still within the realm of normal and there really isn’t anything to worry about.
Soft and Fluffy Blobs, Ragged Edges
Extremely loose stool is edging into tummy trouble territory. If your poop consists of fluffy, ragged blobs with no clear edges, keep an eye on things you could be headed for a full on bout of diarrhea.
Watery with No Solids
When your bowel movement is nothing more than a watery mess, with no solids to speak of, you’re having diarrhea and you need to take action. Your diarrhea could be caused by a virus or by a meal that just didn’t sit right. Be careful because it can cause dehydration so be sure to keep your fluid intake up.
When it comes to frequency it’s hard to say what’s “normal.” Every person is different when it comes to how frequently they go, and that’s normal! With many of these factors it all comes down to what’s typical for you. When your pooping routine changes that’s when there could potentially be a problem.
If you typically poop multiple times a day and suddenly your bowel movements cut back to only a couple times a week without any apparent rhyme or reason, it could be a sign of a change or issue with your internal workings.
(Before we move on to the solution, here’s a cheat sheet to help you remember all the dirty details!)
The Ticket to Tummy Trouble
If your number twos are feeling inconsistent (never the same result twice) and you’re experiencing other tummy troubles like bloating and gas, the problem might be that your good gut bacteria are outnumbered by the bad. When the bad overwhelm the good you’ll start seeing less and less benefits of the good and more and more disadvantages of the bad.
This could also play into your weight loss goals. The more bad bacteria you have the harder it is to lose weight because your body (and its handy little helpers) aren’t processing your food correctly.
One study showed that mice with too much bad gut bacteria gained more weight than mice with healthy guts even when they ate the same amount of food! When they cut the amount of calories the overweight mice were eating, they began to lose weight but their metabolism was so damaged that they remained insulin resistant.
This study clearly shows how much of an impact gut bacteria can not only have on your health and well-being but your WAISTLINE. So what do we do about it? We bring in backup!
Good bacteria are also known as probiotics. And now, as we realize just how important gut health is, there are probiotic supplements that you can get over-the-counter to help you boost your good bacteria.
But it’s not just about having more good bacteria it’s about having more varieties of good bacteria.
“We know people who are obese have less diversity in their [gut bacteria]. They might not have fewer bacteria, but they usually have fewer species–lower diversity,” said Dr. James Versalovic, a professor of pathology at Baylor College of Medicine.
When picking out a probiotic, go for one that will boost your good gut numbers AND diversity! Some popular probiotics only contain one or two different strains/species of probiotics.
That’s why exante’s new probiotic, exante Night-time Probiotic, is so awesome! Not only does it pack an impressive 32 billion good bacteria, it provides five different strains of probiotics. Plus, all five strains have been studied and researched to prove their effectiveness. And it includes prebiotics for an added boost in gut health.
Let’s Wipe It Up
Your poop can tell you a lot about what’s going on in your body. When your BMs are all over the map and you’re experiencing tummy troubles, your poop could be telling you that you need a probiotic!
Probiotics are a great way to improve your gut health in order to improve your overall health and, possibly, your weight. That’s why you need to bring in backup and increase the variety and number of good bacteria in your gut.
Get the exante Night-Time Probiotic and you’ll be well on your way to a happy and healthy gut!