As we understand more about how important our gut health is (Lots here at this link on this topic), our poo becomes the key marker. Today we look at blood to see our health and only at stool to see if we have cancer. Soon stool may come first as it shows earlier than blood if there is a problem.
New research programs are springing up on Indiegogo like this one where you can have your gut health checked.
But in the interim we can pay more attention to our own poos. Here is a guide to this and we start with a visual chart:
Look, Listen and Smell Before You Flush
What’s normal and what’s not when you look into the toilet? The following table will help you narrow down what to look for, so that you aren’t needlessly alarmed. Of course, there are a few signs that ARE cause for concern, and those are listed too. If you have a change in stools accompanied by abdominal pain, please report this to your physician.4
Healthy Stool Unhealthy Stool Medium to light brown Stool that is hard to pass, painful, or requires straining Smooth and soft, formed into one long shape and not a bunch of pieces Hard lumps and pieces, or mushy and watery, or even pasty and difficult to clean off About one to two inches in diameter and up to 18 inches long Narrow, pencil-like or ribbon-like stools: can indicate a bowel obstruction or tumor – or worst case, colon cancer; narrow stools on an infrequent basis are not so concerning, but if they persist, definitely warrant a call to your physician5 S-shaped, which comes from the shape of your lower intestine6 Black, tarry stools or bright red stoolsmay indicate bleeding in the GI tract; black stools can also come from certain medications, supplements or consuming black licorice; if you have black, tarry stools, it’s best to be evaluated by your healthcare provider Quiet and gentle dive into the water…it should fall into the bowl with the slightest little “whoosh” sound – not a loud, wet cannonball splash that leaves your toosh in need of a shower White, pale or gray stools may indicate a lack of bile, which may suggest a serious problem (hepatitis, cirrhosis, pancreatic disorders, or possibly a blocked bile duct), so this warrants a call to your physician; antacids may also produce white stool Natural smell, not repulsive (I’m not saying it will smell good) Yellow stools may indicate giardia infection, a gallbladder problem, or a condition known as Gilbert’s syndrome – if you see this, call your doctor Uniform texture Presence of undigested food (more of a concern if accompanied by diarrhea, weight loss, or other changes in bowel habits) Sinks slowly Floaters or splashers Increased mucus in stool: This can be associated with inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis, or even colon cancer, especially if accompanied by blood or abdominal pain