Imagine you are handed a note every day with a message about your health. It indicates how well your digestive system is working, if there are signs of growths or other abnormalities in your intestines, if you are drinking enough water and much, much more. Now imagine not even looking at that note and flushing it down the toilet instead.
You wouldn’t do that, would you? So then, don’t flush your poop without taking a peek! New Westminster Naturopathic Physician, Dr. Allana Polo is here to explain.
"Your stools tell you a lot about what’s happening inside based on their colour, size, shape, frequency, texture and smell. There are many factors that affect your ‘number two’: your diet, your hormones, medications you are taking, and how much sleep and exercise you’re getting," says Dr. Polo. "Learning what is ‘normal’ for you based on some of these factors is a vital part of living an optimally healthy lifestyle. For example, you don’t need to be alarmed if you have a red tint in your stool if you recently ate a lot of beets, or cranberries or had something that had a red food colouring in it. However, if you are not accustomed to eating those foods and are suddenly finding red in your stools, you should speak to your healthcare professional."
Take a peek at this poop chart:
If you’re on the constipated side, there are a number of things you can do to soften your stools. Drinking more water and being more active are common options to start with. I would recommend those two action items as overall beneficial for you anyway. As well, take a look at your fibre intake. Are you eating enough fruits, vegetables and legumes to keep your stool soft and easy to pass?
On the other side of the spectrum, you may have diarrhea more often than you realize. Diarrhea isn’t always just water passing through without any solids. It’s also the solid matter that falls apart when it hits the water and is really mushy. This is saying something as well and it’s important to know what could be going on. Some really common issues could be an overgrowth of yeast in the gut and large intestine, bacterial overgrowth, food sensitivities, difficulties with digesting certain nutrients, eating a diet high in fat or grease, or even a lifestyle that induces too much stress.
Did you know that the gut is where the immune system ‘resides’? It's true! So that's why it's extra important to take good care of yours.
A naturopathic physician can get to the bottom of your poop problems by running food sensitivity and IgG blood tests, creating an elimination diet, and suggesting probiotics, digestive enzymes and glutamine which are restorative and healing for this incredibly important system.
Our body relies on the strength of our digestive system to fuel the rest of it so this is never something we should take lightly. Even when it’s embarrassing to talk about poop, it is an insightful conversation to have with a naturopathic physician. When you’re in the habit of looking before you flush, you have a lot to bring to the table for your own health.