Your Digestive System – Part 2: Do You Have Healthy Poop?

Before concluding I am nuts, though I won’t hold it against you, let me explain why I am bringing up the topic of poop. In part one we discussed the Digestive system as a whole and the digestive process. What you digest is important, what you eliminate is also important and your elimination process can provide much insight into how well or not well your digestive system is functioning.

Essentially, if your poop is not healthy then your digestive system is not healthy and in turn YOU can’t be healthy.  Let’s discuss 3 signs of healthy poop:

Bristol_stool_chart1. WHAT DOES YOUR POOP LOOK LIKE? The image to the left is the Bristol Stool Form scale (BSF scale) developed by the Bristol Royal Infirmary. It was designed as a self-diagnostic chart to allow patients to discuss what is essentially an embarrassing topic for a surprisingly large part of the population.

Type 1: Separate hard lumps, like nuts. The diameter is 1 to 2 cm (0.4 – 0.8˝). Typical of acute dysbiosis, that is, bacteria are missing or there are problems with the quantity and quality of the bacteria present within your gut. In addition, there is nothing present to retain water so the lumps are hard, abrasive and hard to pass. There is a high likelihood of anorectal bleeding from lacerations. These are typical of post antibiotic treatments and for people consuming a fiber free diet. Flatulence is not likely because fermentation is not taking place.

Type 2: Sausage-like but lumpy. The diameter is 3 to 4 cm (1.2 – 1.6˝). These are similar to type 1 stools just impacted together into a single mass held together by some fiber and bacteria. These are typical of constipation and can be very destructive because of their size relative to the opening of the anal canal. There is bound to be extreme straining during elimination, and will mostly likely cause lacerations, hemorrhoidal prolapse or diverticulitis. To attain this form, the stool must be in the colon for at least several weeks instead of the normal 72 hours. Owners of these is likely to suffer from IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) due to the constant pressure on the intestinal walls. The possibility of obstructions is high and adding a fiber supplement can be dangerous because the expanded fiber has no place to go and can further damage the intestinal wall.

Type 3: Like a sausage but with cracks in the surface.  The diameter is 2 to 3.5 cm (0.8 – 1.4˝). This form has all the characteristics of Type 2 but the transit time is faster, usually between 1 and 2 weeks. IBS is likely and flatulence is minor. Straining is required and all the adverse effects typical of type 2 stools  are likely. If not dealt with properly, this can easily become type 2.

Type 4: Like a sausage or snake, smooth and soft. The diameter is 1 to 1.5cm (0.4 – 0.6˝). This form is typical of someone having daily bowel movements. The larger diameter suggest longer transit times and or larger amounts of fiber in the diet.

Type 5: Soft blobs with clear-cut edges. The diameter is 1 to 1.5 cm (0.4 – 0.6˝). This form is typical of someone having bowel movements twice or three times daily, after major meals.

Type 6: Fluffy pieces with ragged edges, a mushy stool. This form is close to the margins of comfort. First, it may be difficult to control the urge, especially when you don’t have immediate access to a bathroom. Second, these can be rather messy to manage with toilet paper alone. These stools may indicate a slightly hyperactive colon (fast motility), excess dietary potassium, or sudden dehydration or spike in blood pressure related to stress (both can cause a rapid release of water and potassium from blood plasma into the intestinal cavity). These can also indicate a hypersensitive person prone to stress, too many spices, drinking water with a high mineral content or the use of osmotic laxatives (mineral salts).

Type 7: Watery, no solid pieces. This is diarrhea and a rather broad complex subject so I will keep it brief. In cases of food poisoning diarrhea is a good thing as the body attempts to remove “bad” thing promptly. At times of extreme stress, diarrhea is not uncommon as is temporary constipation depending upon your metabolic predispositions. These events should be infrequent. As frequency increases, so does the risk of harm and damage.

2. YOU SHOULD POOP EVERY DAY! Your poop is a waste material and it needs to go. Getting rid of it on a daily basis is ideal. Some experts suggest that having a bowel movement after every meal is even better. A general rule is that having one to three movements a day is normal and healthy if the form is in line with types 4 and 5 of the Bristol Stool Chart. Every other day or a few times a week is not at all good or healthy. This is constipation and will increase greatly toxic load in the body, can lead to increased risk of disease and problems such as hemorrhoids.

3. POOPING SHOULD BE FAST AND EASY! The perfect poop is easy in every way possible. You get the urge, head to the bathroom, sit down and in a flash it is over. There should be no pain, no pushing, no blood, no sweating and no wiping forever. Pooping should not be considered a daily break, the goal is to get in and get out. Longer than 10 minutes is definitely a problem. When you have completed your task there should not be a need or desire to head back in a few minutes later to finish the job. If your experience in the bathroom isn’t fast and easy, there is something wrong with your gut.

So, the big question is:

Are you having perfect poops? If you are not, it could be a sign that something is out of balance with your health.

Final Thoughts: I am not sure if you have noticed, modern toilets, especially the ones in public buildings appear to be taller. I have recognized a correlation. The only reason there is a need for a taller toilet is because the user is having a more difficult time squatting. Imagine having to go and then falling the last few inches to the toilet seat….I sense a problem in the making.

As in most problems that appear in modern society, rather than fix the problem, the inability to squat, we just mask the issue and alter the environment…..raise the toilet. But there is a problem with this mentality. Once the hips are above the knees, there is increased pressure on the intestines, especially the descending colon and this can make it more difficult to have a successful bowel movement. If you can’t access a lower toilet, the solution is to raise the legs by placing your feet on a low stool or bench. The desired height is one that allows the knees to be above the hips.

In the past, if you had to go, you would squat all the way down and go. No mess, no fuss. Imagine relieving oneself from a partial squat position…..not a clean and pleasant thought. I would guess that more than half the population over the age of 35 would be very challenged to even be able to squat all the way down without falling over, much less being relaxed enough to eliminate.

On that thought, I think it is time to go. Hope you enjoyed this article and learned a few more things about yourself and your health. I believe there is one more part to this series. We have looked at the act of digestion and elimination. All that is missing is absorption. Until next time…I hope you are able to leave the bathroom with a smile on your face!

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