There isn’t a very nice way to discuss it, but the bottom line is that feces are important. what comes out is a clue to what’s going on inside, and knowledge is a terrible thing to waste. consider this your school on stool.
1. it’s a bunch of crap
In a typical bowel movement, about three-fourths of the stool volume is water. the remaining 25 percent is a mixture of bacteria (live and dead), undigested foods (such as seeds, nuts, corn, and beans), and substances brought in by the intestines and liver, such as mucus and bile, that help in digestion of fats. .
2. shape of (things in) water
In truth, no two stools are the same, but there is a real chart that classifies discharged waste by its shape. it’s called the bristol stool scale, developed at the bristol royal infirmary in england as a clinical assessment tool. The scale was devised after Stephen Lewis and Ken Heaton noted in a 1992 study that an unexpected prevalence of defecation disorders was related to the shape and type of stool. published their new scale in 1997 in the Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology. the bristol scale classifies feces into seven types:
- type 1: separate hard lumps, like nuts (severe constipation)
- Type 2: Sausage-shaped, but lumpy (mild constipation)
- type 3: like a sausage but with cracks on its surface (normal)
- type 4: like a sausage or snake, smooth and soft (normal)
- type 5: soft spots with well-defined borders (without fiber)
- type 6: spongy pieces with irregular edges, loose stools (mild diarrhea)
- type 7: watery, without solid pieces, totally liquid (severe diarrhea)
- green: May be caused by eating green leafy vegetables, green food dyes, iron supplements, or possibly foods that pass through the large intestine too quickly (diarrhea) for bile to no I don’t have enough time to fully decompose.
- light, white or clay-colored: lack of bile; may indicate duct obstruction. certain medications, such as antidiarrheals that contain large doses of bismuth subsalicylate such as peptobismol, may also be the cause.
- grey: may indicate a liver or gallbladder problem or be a symptom of viral hepatitis, gallstones or alcoholic hepatitis.
- yellow, greasy, smelly: excess fat in the stool, possibly due to a malabsorption disorder such as celiac disease.
- orange: May be due to beta-carotene, a compound found in many vegetables, such as carrots and winter squashes. some antibiotics and antacids contain aluminum hydroxide, which can also turn stools orange.
- Blue: Probably due to eating a lot of blue foods (blueberries) or drinks with blue dye.
- black or tarry: iron supplements and black licorice. Bleeding in the upper GI tract, such as the stomach, can turn stools black, as can diseases such as colorectal cancer or cirrhosis.
- bright red: red food coloring, red fruits and vegetables (beets, blueberries, etc.), and red drinks. bleeding in the lower intestinal tract, such as the large intestine or rectum, often from hemorrhoids.
- Note: Occasional color changes in stool are usually not a cause for concern. however, red or black stools, or other color changes that persist for more than two weeks, should prompt you to see your doctor.
- gastroenterology and digestive diseases
In their initial studies, Lewis and Heaton found that types 1 and 2 were more common in women, while types 5 and 6 were more common in men.
3. color my swirl
Stool color is most influenced by what you eat and the amount of bile present. As the yellowish-green bile pigments travel through your gastrointestinal tract, enzymes chemically alter their color, changing them from green to brown. the brown is also due to the presence of bilirubin, a product resulting from the breakdown of dead red blood cells in the intestine. all shades of brown and even green are considered normal. rarely the color of the stool suggests a serious health problem.
4. essential facts
Normal stools normally have an unpleasant odor, the result of bacteria in the colon breaking down digested food. stool may have a different odor due to changes in diet. Spicier foods and meat tend to produce stronger odors than vegetables. very foul-smelling stools may be a sign of a serious medical condition, such as celiac disease, crohn’s disease, pancreatitis, ulcerative colitis, infection, or malabsorption.
5. go to the pot
Stool frequency is regulated by the amount of fiber and fluid you consume, and exercise and staying active play a role. there is a lot of natural and healthy variation, from three bowel movements a day to three a week. going more than three days between moves is cause for concern. after three days, the stool becomes harder and more difficult to pass, leading to more serious problems. the important thing to know is what is normal for you and pay attention to noticeable or persistent changes.