The Inside Scoop on Your Own Poop

Wellness Wednesday: Fitness, lifestyle, and general health tips and news. Because we want you to be the best you.

By: Emily Cardinali

Poop. Everyone does it, but not many people are comfortable talking about it. Regardless, poop does a lot of talking for your body’s overall health.

Poop’s most direct method of communication is its smell. If your poop is super stinky, that’s actually a good thing — it means that your intestines are full of good bacteria that work to keep you healthy.

Color is your bowel movement’s way of telling you how your guts are doing. If it’s very dark you might have an iron-rich diet or, more seriously, you might have bleeding in your stomach or esophagus. If you haven’t upped your iron intake, a dark stool is a good indicator that it is time for a doctor’s appointment.

If your stool is green, that means that the food you ate digested and passed through your system quickly (your poop turns from green to brown during its trip through your intestines as bile is broken down). This is not a bad occurrence and can happen to perfectly healthy people.

If your stool is pale or has a gray hue to it, that’s not good. Grayish stool indicates that there could be a blockage in your liver that prevents bile from travelling through your digestive tract. Alternatively, you could have a pancreatic disorder that causes pale stool due to the lack of digestive enzymes caused by the disorder. Either way, pale stool is your body saying that something is wrong.

Two common problems with pooping, constipation and diarrhea, can happen to even the healthiest of poopers. Constipation can happen when something in your diet changes, like a decrease in fiber or a decrease in water, that causes dry, hard stool. Sometimes medications or vitamins can also lead to constipation. To fix this, just reverse the causes: Drink more water and eat more fiber. 

On the opposite end of the spectrum is diarrhea. Caused by many different things from bad food to a virus, diarrhea leads to loose stool and discomfort. This poop problem is one you wait out, but can cause another discomfort in the long run: dehydration. Just like with constipation, drinking water can help your health in the long run.

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