The Scoop on Poop

You probably don’t think about your poop too much (at least we hope you don’t), but it can be a  useful tool for health analysis. Your stool consists of 75% water. The rest of it is a combination of fiber, cells, mucus and bacteria (both dead and alive). You stool is an indicator of the state of your digestive system. Though the color, texture, volume and frequency will vary from person to person, there are definite signs of “unwellness” that you should be aware of.

Stool Color

Stools range in color from medium brown to dark brown, depending on diet.  A very pale stool – white or clay-colored, is not a good sign.  Pale stools may indicate a lack of bile and possible problems with your liver, gallbladder or pancreas.  Unless you have been eating black licorice, you do not want black stools either. Chronic black stools may indicate blood in the stool and possibly a serious health condition.


The perfect bowel movement should consist of a long, smooth stool, not several pieces. It should sink slowly into the toilet and not cause a loud splashing noise. Watery or small pieces that blast out and float are not optimum.

More Poo Info

How often should you have a bowel movement?  This seems to be quite a debatable point between medical professionals.  The general consensus ranges between 3 per week and 3 per day.

Elimination should be smooth, with no effort.  If you are finding yourself straining to have a bowel movement, add more fiber (fruits and vegetables) to your diet and increase your water intake.

If you find yourself with frequent, watery bowel movements, you may actually be eating too much fiber.  Try changing your diet to see if this corrects the situation. If not, see a health practitioner. Chronic diarrhea, especially if accompanied with pain, may be a cause for concern.

And let’s not forget odor.  A foul smelling bowel movement, especially if it is diarrhea, can indicate many things.  Short-term diarrhea may just be a sign of a detoxification (i.e.  your body telling you it didn’t appreciate the pizza and beer binge last night). Chronic smelly watery stools may indicate a malabsorption of food, an intestinal infection, or even a serious disease.

Don’t ignore your poop.  It can tell you a lot about your physical condition.


To your Health!

Peter Gillham

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