Yup, we're talking about it – everybody poops. Most of us poop every day, while some of us (an unlucky bunch) are constipated. Poop is such a facet of life because what comes in must come out, simple as that, but did you know poop and your health are actually very deeply linked?
It may be a taboo subject (unless you're the minority that's proud of a well-done, easily passed dump) but it's worth discussing. None of us exactly want to recall that time we spent hours on the porcelain throne regretting that quick bite we grabbed from a sketchy street-cart, but the truth is that you should be proud of a healthy bowel movement because it means your body is functioning in tip-top shape. Go you! On the other hand, green, white or red stool may be cause for concern.
Poop is the window to the soul, or at least the GI tract. The color, the consistency and the smell can tip you off about your overall health – from extreme issues like internal bleeding and cancer to the fact that you may have consumed a little too much Kool-Aid during that summer picnic with your family. It goes without saying, stool and health correlation runs deep
The following poop facts will help you determine what your poop says about your health, and especially what to keep an eye out for. Remember, always visit a doctor if something seems a little off. Now, grab your morning coffee, hit the john, and ensure you're in good health!
You may not mind smelling eggs at breakfast, but you definitely shouldn't be smelling them in the bathroom. If you have bowel movements that border on diarrhea and smell like sulfur, you may actually have a parasite called Giardia.
Giardia lives in fresh water, and if you went swimming in a lake, drank unpurified water or went camping, you could have picked up the little pest. The diarrhea could last for weeks, and you might feel totally healthy aside from that. It's still important to get tested because parasites rob you of essential nutrients. In this case, a course of antibiotics usually does the trick.
Hello, constipation! You know the usual signs – it just won't come out of you and when it does, it's in little nuggets rather than a long, smooth log. Constipation happens when the colon absorbs too much water from your stool because it's slow moving (i.e. it just won't come out in a timely matter). This makes it hard, dry, and difficult to pass.
If you're constipated, you're probably not getting enough fiber (in fact, most American's don't get enough fiber) and you may be eating too much junk food. It's recommended that women consume 25 grams and men 38 grams a day. Try eating some extra fruits, veggies and whole grains. Beans, nuts and seeds also help. If all else fails, there's tons of fiber-fortified foods out there for happy pooping.
If you already have a high fiber diet, your constipation could have another cause. Maybe you're eating too much dairy or too many fatty, high-sugar foods. Certain medications like antidepressants can also aggravate constipation. A lack of exercise stops you up, too, so it's important to always have some form of physical activity in your schedule.
This is another major sign of constipation. If you have bizarre, pencil-thin poops for a day or two, it's no cause for alarm - just chow down on some high-fiber foods. If it continues, though, it's possible you have rectal cancer.
In cases of rectal cancer, the cancer takes up space inside the rectum. It's hard, and the feces have to push past it to come out. Since your rectum is partially blocked, the poo comes out in a long string. If this is happening for more than a couple days, get a colonoscopy to figure out what's up.
If your poop has a sickly green tint, it may be full of bile. This means food is passing through your large intestine too quickly. The bile won't have time to break down, and it will tint your stool. If this is happening, you're also missing out on absorbing key nutrients from those foods – which is a major problem – and you may currently be having diarrhea.
If you're not having diarrhea, it's possible that the green tint is good, old-fashioned food coloring. Flavored drinks like Gatorade or sugary ice pops can tint your poo. Lots and lots of leafy green veggies and iron supplements may also do the same. So, green poo isn't always bad, but it’s not necessarily healthy either.