You probably shouldn’t read this article before eating. But your bowel movements are a pretty good indicator of your health. While there’s no way a cursory peek in the toilet bowl can replace an actual laboratory exam, it can tell you if it’s time for a detox diet and a visit your doctor—especially if you’re feeling other health problems too.
The ‘best’ kind of poop
The perfect bowel movement is, first of all, easy. You don’t feel any discomfort or strain. Color is about medium brown (like cardboard) and a texture similar to toothpaste. You can gauge its density from the way it falls into the water: smoothly, slowly. There is very little smell.
If it sinks too fast
If your poop falls like a torpedo, then it’s way too dense and probably compacted—meaning that it’s been in your body for a while. Most dense stool is very dark, another sign that it’s been ‘baking’ in the intestines for way too long. You need more water and fiber in your diet. Eat more vegetables and grains!
If it’s too pale
Poop gets it brown color from bile salts secreted by the liver. So very light or even grayish poop may be a sign of some problems in the liver or pancreas. Conditions include gallstones, hepatitis, or a parasitic infection. You may also temporarily get pale poop if you take an antacid that contains aluminum hydroxide.
If it’s sticky and smelly
Think ‘tar.’ It sticks to the bowl and often stinks. This is a sign that your poop has a high fat content, called steatorrhea. There could be a lot of bacteria in your small intestines that prevent your body from absorbing fat well. Stress and lack of fiber can be causes—so is diabetes (so have your sugar levels checked!). This may also be a side effect of some medicines.
Loose or pencil thin stool
The chinese believe that these are a symptom of blocked chi/qi or energy in the spleen. This is often accompanied by poor appetite and bloatedness, and may be brought about by poor die, overwork, and stress. Your body, unable to digest food properly, can not properly process and distribute the energy from the food you eat. The chinese believe that the problem is amplified by eating greasy foods and cold drinks, which disrupt the body’s internal balance. Take in more hot drinks especially ginger and cinnamon tea.
Photo from guardian.co.uk