Your poop is talking to you. Not literally, of course—but every time you make a deposit at the ol’ porcelain bank, your body is trying to tell you something about your health. It might not be pretty, but feasting your eyes on your feces view can offer a wealth of information about the wellness of your digestive system. It can tell us how well you are eating, how much stress you’ve been feeling, and even what your hormone balance is like. Here are a few things you can learn by taking a peek at your poop.
What the color of your poo is trying to tell you
The color of your poop can give you the scoop on your internal workings. While a chocolatey brown poop indicates a healthy gut, anything different can indicate anything from poor diet to infection. Bright red stool is indicative of hemorrhoids or anal fissures, which can be irritating, but are relatively harmless. Yellow or green stool may signify gallbladder trouble, an intestinal infection, or a liver issue such as hepatitis or cirrhosis. Dark or black coloring may indicate ulcers, polyps, or internal bleeding. These issues could be potentially more serious. White specks could mean you have a parasitic infection…which, yikes. If you look down and see something colorful in your bowl, it could be a sign to contact your doctor.
What the size of your poo is trying to tell you
A medium, hot dog-shaped bowel movement means your body was able to successfully remove nutrients and water from your food. If your stools lack these characteristics, pay close attention to them and visit your doctor if they persist for long periods of time. If your poops are small or pellet-like, it’s a strong indicator that you’re constipated. If you're taking massive dumps, it could be a sign of excess fat in your intestines from poor diet or illness. And if your poop is wet and watery? You’re likely dehydrated, have a bacterial infection, or your hormones are out of whack. We spent a full post discussing why the shape of your bowel movement matters, so head over there if you want to learn more about what the shape and size of your poop really means.
What the smell of your poo is trying to tell you
Poop smells. That’s just the nature of discharging bodily waste. But, if the smell of your poop has recently changed for the worse or is excessively foul, it could be a sign of malabsorption of nutrients or bacterial overgrowth. Many different diseases, disorders, and conditions can also lead to distressingly nasty smelling stool. Identifying and treating the underlying cause of the odor early is important to minimize any potential complications or damage to your digestive system.
What else can my poop tell me about my health?
When you look down into your toilet and see anything but a brown, sausage-like turd at the bottom of the bowl, take note. If your stool is floating it could mean fatty acids are not being absorbed into the gut. Greasy stool could indicate pancreatic insufficiency. Undigested food particles can sometimes be found in healthy stool, but if you’re consistently seeing bits of last night's dinner in the bowl, you could have an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine caused by intolerance to food, a digestive enzyme deficiency, or allergies. Long story short, if you see something abnormal, it’s probably a sign that isn't working quite right in your digestive system.
Our bowel movements can provide a wide range of information about our health. So, before you rush to flush, study your stool and see what it has to say.