So today, we’re going there. We’re talking poop.
Go ahead and giggle like you’re in elementary school, but that doesn’t change the fact that everyone poops. Not only that, but paying attention to your poop is really important. It may be gross, but it tells you a lot about your digestive health and what’s going on inside your body.
Why do I poop?
If you eat, you poop. A bowel movement is your body’s way of eliminating the waste leftover after your digestive system has done it’s job extracting and absorbing as many nutrients as possible. Poop consists of variable amounts of undigested food, bacteria and water.
How often should I poop?
While a daily #2 is often touted as the gold standard, a healthy range can be anything from three times a day, to three times a week. As long as the consistency is healthy and it is not accompanied by any unpleasant symptoms, like pain or bloating, you’re likely fine. There are many factors that may cause you to go to the bathroom more or less frequently including diet, hydration, physical activity, time of the month, new medications/supplements and more.
What should my poop look like?
Well, wouldn’t you know? They make a chart for that! The Bristol Stool Chart was developed in the 1990s as a way to measure stool transit time and to identify problems with digestion. Types 1-2 indicate constipation. Types 3-4 are considered normal and indicate healthy digestion. Types 5-7 indicate varying levels of diarrhea and inflammation in the gut.
What if I have “poop problems”?
Diarrhea, constipation and other “potty problems” can be a sign of poor diet or of a more severe digestive disorder. If diet is to blame, little changes can often make a big difference. Consider adding more fiber from fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans, which promotes regularity and adds bulk to stool. Fiber is the favorite food of the healthy bacteria in your gut, so eating more fiber means happier and healthier gut flora! Fluid is also important for both diarrhea and constipation. It lubricates and makes stool soft enough to easily pass while rehydrating fluid losses from diarrhea. Fermented food, which contains healthy probiotic bacteria, also aids digestion. Try a scoop of spicy kimchi on your Luvo Vegetable Bibimbap or a dollop of plain Greek yogurt on Luvo Chicken Enchiladas.
If digestive issues persist, consult with your primary care provider or a gastroenterologist. There are many digestive disorders, including irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, and inflammatory bowel disease which can be diagnosed and treated with medication, stress management and more targeted and individualized dietary modifications.
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