Check the toilet bowl
The shape and consistency of your poop reveal issues with your digestion.
Digestion is not a topic of conversation. Perhaps it should be, as many people suffer from digestive problems. This may be issues such as feeling bloated, suffering stomach pains, and feeling constipated, or having malodorous farts or shifting toilet habits. Digestive issues also make up one of the most common reasons for contacting our doctor.
To identify any potential problems, your doctor will typically ask how often you experience bowel movements and about the shape and consistency of your fecal matter. For this reason, it is a good idea to check the toilet bowl before seeing your doctor.
Amongst other things, doctors and dieticians use the so-called Bristol Stool scale to assess whether you are suffering from digestiveAmongst other things, doctors and dieticians use the so-called Bristol Stool scale to assess whether you are suffering from digestive issues. This scale classifies the consistency and shape of human stools into seven different categories
What is the appearance of your poop?
- Category 1: Small, hard lumps which are hard to pass. This may indicate that you are suffering from severe constipation. You need to increase your intake of dietary fiber and fluids.
- Category 2: Lumpy with hard bumps which are hard to pass and which often cause a risk of fissures and hemorrhoids. You suffer severe constipation and need to increase your intake of both dietary fiber and fluids.
- Category 3: A sausage shape with cracks in the surface. You may need to increase your intake of fluids.
- Category 4: Like a sausage or a snake – soft and with a smooth surface. Normal for individuals who pass poop once daily.
- Category 5: Soft blobs which are easy to pass. Normal for individuals who poop several times a day.
- Category 6: Like a lumpy and thick soup or porridge. The shape and consistency borders normal and diarrhea.
- Category 7: Liquid and with no solids. You may be suffering from a stomach infection or food poisoning. Remember to take plenty of liquids to
Our rhythm of digestion is an individual matter
Not two people are alike and this applies to our rhythm of digestion. While it may be normal for one person to evacuate their bowls once or several times a day, normal to another may be for this to happen three to four times a week. For this reason, stating what is healthy and normal may be difficult.
In her book “The way to a healthy stomach! – enjoy better digestion and a stronger immune system” (Sund mave sådan! – få en god fordøjelse og et stærkt immunforsvar), Søs Wollesen, medical practitioner, has set out the following checklist to define a normal non-constipated pooping pattern:
- Do you poop at least three times a week?
- Are you normally able to poop without strain?
- Is your fecal matter usually relatively soft?
- Would you say you poop more than 30g at every toilet visit which is equivalent to a reasonable portion being deposited in the toilet bowl?
If you can answer “yes” to all these questions, your digestion works as it is supposed to.
Our lifestyle causes imbalances in our digestive system
The reason for imbalances arising in our digestive system may be numerous. Illness and stress may be a cause. However, sedentary work and the lack of exercise may also contribute to imbalances in our digestive system and to the constipation suffered by many. Another significant explanation for especially younger women suffering from constipation is that they suppress the urge to go to the toilet because others being able to hear or smell that they poop embarrass them. If you suppress the urge to go like this for a lengthy period, poop will accumulate within the intestinal system. In the longer term, this will weaken the peristalsis – that is, the contractions in the intestine, which push the poop forwards and this, may lead to constipation.
This is how to achieve healthy digestion
- Go to the rest room when you feel the urge
- Be physically active on a daily basis
- Drink at least 1.5 liter of fluids every day – a bit more when you exercise
- Eat, and not too much, at regular intervals throughout the day and eat foods that are high in fibers
By Christa Zenobie Dahl