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Educational health information to improve your well-being.

What’s the Scoop on Your Poop?

September 5, 2017
Published in: General, Men, Nutrition, Women

Person holding toilet paper while sitting on toilet

Yes, it may sound strange, but your poop is an excellent indicator of your physical health. Signs of diseases or stress often first show up in the toilet. Of course, the key to monitoring your health is knowing what to look for and what the signs mean. So, yeah, it's a good idea to pay attention to your poop, even if this seems a bit gross. Monitoring your stool for changes can help you spot potential problems before they become significant issues.

There is No Such Thing as Normal When It Comes to PoopMan reading the newspaper while on the toilet

Everyone is unique, and your bowel movements are just as unique as you are. Size, shape, and consistency can change from person to person. Instead of wondering if what ends up in the toilet bowel is normal, look for changes. For instance, if you're a very regular person, you might be on the lookout for any trouble with regularity. You might also want to take note if you usually pass solid stools but suddenly experience runny stools for an extended period. You're looking for big changes that don't go away.

Blood in Your Stool Can Be a Warning Sign

If you notice blood in your stool on a regular basis, you might need to see your doctor. Blood can be a warning sign of colorectal cancer or polyps. Of course, blood in the stool can also be caused by anal fissures or hemorrhoids. Either way, it's still worth getting checked out. However, if you notice blood in your poop and you're experiencing fever, chills, or weight loss, this can be troubling. When these symptoms are paired together, it's considered a "high alert" signs for a bowel disorder.

Sometimes Size Does Matter with Your Stool

If you've had a history of having sizeable stools and suddenly your stools are hard to pass and pencil thin, this should be extremely concerning. At times, colon cancer causes the bowel to narrow, and as stool passes the blocked areas, it becomes smaller as well. Thin stools are not automatically indicative of disease, but if the stools stay slim in shape and you continue having problems going to the bathroom, you may need a colonoscopy to rule out cancer. Again, sustained changes in size are what you're looking for. Don't worry about a small change that happens over a few days.

Consistency is the Key to Healthy Bowel MovementsToddler sitting on a training potty

Everyone has a bout of diarrhea now and then. Loose, runny stools that last a few days can mean that you're fighting off an infection or have a case of mild food poisoning. However, if you've always had solid bowel movements and now you're having diarrhea three out of five days each week, this could be a sign of a food sensitivity or inflammatory bowel disease. If you notice runny stool coupled with other symptoms like abdominal pain, weight loss, and blood, it's definitely time to see your physician.

Stress Can Cause Problems with Your Poop

Your body reacts to your environment. Stress and unresolved issues can lead to bathroom troubles. Your bowels may be trying to tell you something. If your bathroom habits haven't been regular for some time and other medical issues are ruled out, your stress levels could be to blame. Pay attention to what your body is telling you. From medical conditions and stress, your bathroom habits can tip you off that you need to make changes to improve your health.

Well, that's the scoop on your poop. If you have additional questions about what's going on when it comes to your bowels, there's no harm in consulting your family doctor. It's always better to be safe, rather than sorry. Instead of worrying about what's going on with your body if there's a change in your bowel habits, take the time to find out what's going on with your body.​