What can stool say about our health?
Poop is a stinky subject and one we are reluctant to talk or read about, but it can tell us a lot about the state of our digestive system. By observing the quality of our daily bowel movements, we are able to track which products are harming us and even detect serious diseases early and have time to act. It’s time to normalise what each of us does in the toilet every day. Let’s talk about poop.
A topic that is disliked, embarrassing for many and, unfortunately, very often swept under the carpet for too long and pulled out from under it when it is already very late. Therefore, for the sake of health, despite the reluctance, let’s do it. Let’s talk about poo.
The toilet – a place for daily health checks
Before we even begin to tell you about poop – what it should look like, smell like and how many times a week it should be properly defecated – we’ll start with why it’s really important. We hope this will get you through to the end of this article, and that you will feel less disgusted at the thought of poo.
Observing your stool allows you to examine the state of your digestive system in a simple and daily way. Let’s be honest with ourselves. Rarely does anyone do blood tests more than once a year, let alone visit a gastrologist. This is hardly surprising. If there is nothing to worry about, there is no need to become hypochondriac and run around the doctors looking for problems. However, our organism is clever and gives us signals before something really serious starts to happen, and we can read the signals concerning abnormalities in the digestive system right from the stool.
We don’t want to scare you, really. We want to make you aware. Did you know that according to the WHO’s 2020 report, colorectal and rectal cancer ranks third after breast and lung cancer in terms of new cases (1.93 million) and second in terms of the most common cause of death (916,000 deaths)? We are not going to bamboozle you into thinking that by watching your stool, you will definitely avoid cancer, because this is not true. What is true, however, is that by watching your stool, you can spot abnormalities and react quickly by going to your doctor for additional tests. And this can already save your life.
What exactly is worth observing in the toilet?
Frequent diarrhoea may be indicative of diseases of the digestive system (e.g. food intolerances or allergies, irritable bowel syndrome or even Crohn’s disease), whereas constipation may be indicative of an inadequate supply of fibre (and therefore insufficient intake of fruit, vegetables or whole-grain products) or insufficient fluid intake throughout the day. In both cases, it may also be related to an abnormal state of the gut microflora.
|Brown||This is the normal colour of faeces. Dark brown may indicate a high intake of iron-containing products (e.g. liver) and a lighter shade may indicate less iron in the diet.|
|Black||Black stools are most likely stools with blood and this is a definite signal that something bad is happening and it is time to go to the doctor.|
|Red||Red stool does not necessarily indicate a bowel movement with blood, but only with dye. Eating beetroot or consuming other products containing red dye can affect the colour of the stool.|
|Green||As with red stools, green stools may be caused by eating a lot of green vegetables e.g. broccoli, spinach etc. However, if your stool is this colour despite not eating green vegetables, see your doctor, as this may indicate an abnormality.|
|White||White stools or very light stools can indicate that bile is missing and has been blocked for some reason. This is a signal to go to the doctor urgently. Sometimes it can be caused by diarrhoea medication.|
Normal stool and bowel movement process
- bowel movements once every 1-3 days
- can be passed up to 3 times a day (it is important that it has the right consistency, if the bowel movement is abnormal – too loose – we are dealing with diarrhoea)
- has an elongated, serpentine shape, is smooth and soft (see no. 4 on the Bristol scale)
- it is brown in colour
- has an almost undetectable odour
- the time of defecation is short (should not take longer than 3 min) and the defecation itself is painless
Bristol Stool Form Scale
In the table below you can see 7 types of stool. Stools 1-3 can be indicative of constipation and poor diet (too little fibre and water), while 6-7 are indicative of diarrhoea, which can have various causes. Stools 4-5 are the most desirable and normal stools.
How to maintain good stool quality and bowel movements
First and foremost, you need to take care of your diet so that it is well-balanced, varied, provides the right amount of fibre from fruit, vegetables and whole-grain products, as well as keeping an eye on adequate fluid intake.
Fitatu and the ‘Toilet’ function
Once you’ve made sure you’re getting the right diet and hydration, it’s a good idea to start keeping a daily record of the quantity and quality of your bowel movements. Sounds like a lot of work, right? Nothing could be further from the truth! In the Fitatu app, you’ll find a “Toilet” function that allows you to easily monitor the quality of your bowel movements by quickly marking the shape, colour, size and smell of your stool, as well as the feeling after a bowel movement, how long it lasted and how it felt immediately afterwards (whether it provided relief or whether the feeling of pushing and discomfort has passed). If you add to this the daily supplementation of the application with the products consumed, you will have you, and perhaps your doctor if necessary, ready to analyse what the problems are due to.
Do you prefer the web version? No problem. A basic web version is prepared for our subscribers. And now you can use the TOILET-G discount code by going to https://www.fitatu.com/app/giftcode and get 29% off your monthly Fitatu Premium.
What else can you find in Fitatu Premium?
- over 1000 recipes plus several new ones every month
- additional plans for intermittent fasting
- the ability to create shopping lists
- a choice of six ready-made menus full of meals to choose
- filtering products and recipes
- more synchronization with fit apps
- access to the application in the web version
- no ads!