Think it’s gross to look at your poop? Well, we all look at our pooh from time to time, and may be some people do more than others. But it’s actually good to keep a casual eye on it, because it gives us clues to what’s going on.
How Many Times A Day Should I Pooh?
Some people I’ve seen in clinic worry that if they’re not having a pooh everyday, then there must be something wrong with them. And others worry that they’re going too much if they have 2 or 3 poohs a day. Everyone is different. And if you’re happily going to the toilet between 3 times a week and 3 times a day, then that’s classed as “normal”.
Sometimes My Pooh Isn’t Brown – Do I Need To Worry?
If you think of your gut, from your mouth to your bum, as a long tube. And when you eat food it gets passed along this tube. And each section of the tube plays its role, with the ultimate aim of getting out all the nutrients from the food, until it pops out the other end.
So pooh can slightly change colour depending what you’ve eaten or if you’ve got any issues, like any cuts, lumps or bumps anywhere along the tube, if you’ve got an infection or if something isn’t working as well as it should.
If you eat beetroot it can make your pooh (and pee) look a reddish colour. Or if you’ve eaten a lot of kale or spinach; making it turn a slightly green colour.
But if you’ve not eaten any of these, then speak with your doctor about it.
1. If it’s black
It could also be from what you’ve eaten, such as liquorice or if you’re taking any supplements containing iron, but it could also suggest you’ve got bleeding somewhere in your gut, but higher up in your gut, as black, tarry pooh suggests old blood. So definitely speak to your doctor if you’re experiencing this.
2. If it’s bright red
It can suggest fresh blood, which would mean it’s from lower down in the gut, so it may be piles that are bleeding and you may also notice fresh blood on your tissue paper. Again, speak with your doctor if you notice this.
3. If it’s yellow/white/pale colour
It could mean that you’ve got an infection or you’re not digesting fats. If your pooh is consistently a pale colour and not brown, then speak with your doctor as it could be you’ve got a problem with your liver and/or gallbladder.
What’s The Ideal Consistency?
Ever seen the Bristol Stool Chart? Ideally our pooh should be between Type 3 and Type 4 on the chart, or basically a smooth sausage shape.
If it’s really soft or runny (Types 6 and 7) then you’ve got diarrhoea. If it looks like pebbles or marbles (Types 1 and 2), then you’re constipated. And you can take action to start managing it.
If your pooh is regularly either like marbles or runny, and isn’t “normal”, then your doctor can help you. And it may be that they want to do some tests and investigations to find out what’s going on. And remember to tell them about the frequency, consistency and colour, along with if you have any other symptoms.
👍 A healthy pooh is brown, smooth and sausage-shaped which you can easily pass.
👍 Keep a regular eye on your pooh and don’t delay seeking medical advice if you’re concerned.
👉 If you’re ever concerned about what you see, and especially if you’ve got any other symptoms as well, then don’t be afraid to speak with your doctor. Tell them all your symptoms and any concerns. As this will help them piece together what’s going on and help towards a diagnosis. And in turn, give you the right treatment and support.
Because there’s loads of conditions that can alter our pooh and give us gut symptoms.
Such as IBS, inflammatory bowel disease, cancer, Coeliac disease and liver disease.
Stress and worry can alter our bowel habits too, so be sure to have coping strategies for this. The NHS has info on stress and mental health.
P.S. This is for information purposes only and to raise your awareness, and for you to seek support from a medical doctor. It isn’t aimed at helping you self-diagnose or treat any bowel conditions.
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