What exactly is poop?
Well, we all do it! Going for a "number two" might not be the prettiest topic to discuss, but it is an important one and can tell us a lot about our diet and gut health.
Poop is mostly undigested food, proteins, bacteria, salts and other substances that are produced and released by the intestines.
Whilst our poop is unique to us individually, there are a few things that indicate a healthy or unhealthy poop.
What is normal poop?
Healthy poop can be as varied and unique as to us individually making it.
There are a few things to look out for if you want to assess your poo for optimum health.
- Colour 💩 - The colour can tell us a lot - normal poo is brown in colour, which is due, down to a pigment compound formed from the breakdown of red blood cells in the body.
- Shape - A log -like shape is how most poo should come out, due to it's formation in the intestines. However, there are variations on shape that our poop can have.
- Size - Poops should not come out in small pellets, but instead should be a couple of inches in length, please don't rush to get your rulers out, I hasten to add! It should be comfortable and easy to pass.
- Consistency - Anywhere between a firm and soft consistency is pretty normal. If it sways one way or another (if you're looking at it that is!) it could suggest some digestion or fibre issues.
- Length of time (how long it takes) - A healthy poo as I've mentioned should be easy to pass and take only a minute to release. Some people I'm sure like to spend a bit more time but it should not take more than 10-15 minutes
- Frequency (how often) - on average someone with healthy digestion will poop between every other day to possibly three times a day. Any less than this could suggest possible constipation. This may mean you need some water to get it moving.
What's your poop telling you?
A useful guide to take a look at, just in case your interested, is the Bristol Stool Scale.
Here's however a brief overview for your perusal:
- Type 1 - Hard and separate little lumps that look like nuts and are hard to pass - indicates that you may be constipated. This should not happen frequently.
- Type 2 - Log-shaped but lumpy - indicates again that you may be constipated and should not happen frequently.
- Type 3 - Log-shaped with some cracks on the surface - this is the ultimate standard of poo! Especially if it's soft and easy to pass.
- Type 4 - Smooth and snake-like - this is considered a normal poo that should happen every one to three days.
- Type 5 - Small (like type 1) but soft and easy to pass - this indicates that you maybe lacking fibre - so get your fruit and veg in!
- Type 6 - Fluffy and mushy with ragged edges (sorry) - this too-soft consistency could be a sign of mild diarrhea. Drinking more water and fruit juice may help improve this.
- Type 7 - Completely water with no solid pieces - this is diarrhea (as I'm sure you're aware). This means that your stool moved quickly through the bowels and did not form a healthy poo.