Learn while you poop! From appearance, colour to what’s normal and not.
Doing the ‘number two’ isn’t always a pleasant topic to discuss. Some may say it’s a necessary inconvenience while others find it a relief to pass stools. Doesn’t matter if you like it or not, doing the ‘number two’ is necessary and there’s actually a lot to learn from it when it comes to your health.
So, in the hopes that you’ll understand your health better, we’ll bring you on a poop discovery where you’ll learn about the appearance, colour of your stools and even the smell of it!
What is it?
Poop or commonly known as stools or faeces are discharged from your bowel after food has been digested. Bacteria, metabolic waste and other undigested wastes like carbohydrates, fiber, protein and dead epithelial cells (cells that line the surface of your body) are then excreted from the body through your stools.
Every individual’s stool is unique in size, shape, and smell. Even the colour of your stools can be unique whereby it could appear in a range of colours from red, green and beyond. There are a few things that indicate if you’ve successfully excreted a round of healthy stools or the opposite.
What’s that smell?
The unpleasant odour from your poop is actually a good indication. Bacteria in your waste matter release gases that bring out the strong stench when you excrete your stools. Just in case you’re curious and we’re positively sure that you’re not going to do a comparison if you had a choice but just to confirm, your poop will most likely smell differently from others even if you ate the same food.
Nonetheless, although it’s a good indication, the smell and colour of the stools are reasons why people feel disgusted about it.
How should it look like?
Generally, when you head to the bathroom, it’s best to have a poop that’s lengthy and in a smooth “S” shape. This indicates that you’re eating enough fibre and have a good intake of water that lubricates your bowels. The long, sausage-like shape is due to the shape of your intestines. A healthy bowel movement requires minimal strain and should be pain-free when stools are passed.
Shades of brown and beyond!
Poop should have a medium to dark brown tone. This is because, poop contains bilirubin, a pigment that is formed when red blood cells are broken down. Though if you consume plenty of naturally coloured foods such as green vegetables for example, it is normal for your poop to have a green tinge.
How often should you pass stools?
At the very least, you should pass your stools once or twice daily though you may know of others who poop three times or more in a day. A healthy amount of time to pass motion varies among individuals. Every individual has their own unique poop history. Do take note of your poop pattern because the best way to identify a red flag is to identify changes in your stools. It is important to monitor the changes in the odour, firmness of stools and colour of stools as changes to these can indicate a problem.
Never hold it in!
One of the most common advice from parents or the elderly about poop and you may have heard it when you were younger was to never hold it in if you feel the urge to pass motion.
Holding in your poop for longer periods and frequently, could affect the muscles in your rectum to stretch and stop working effectively. This could then cause a loss of sensation that eventually makes it difficult for you to go to pass motion. This in turn contribute to issues such as hard stools and constipation.
Doing this occasionally, when you do not have access to the bathroom isn’t a big deal, but it isn’t ideal to make it a habit. So, be sure to know your poop and try your best not to hold it in for too long!
Sidebox: Fun poop facts!
- Human faeces consists of about 75 percent of water.
- If you accidentally swallow something that’s indigestible, it will (hopefully) show up in your poop sooner or later. However, it is important to consult a doctor if you’ve fortuitously consumed something.