Keeping an eye out for your poop!

Clara Akemi

Clusters of small balls, banana, mushy… Have you ever wondered what your stool looks like after you use the bathroom? By the way, do you usually check the toilet bowl after defecating? You might be wondering why I'm asking this question. Let me tell you that our poo gives an overview of the body's metabolic function and therefore about our health.

Since 1997, many nutritionists, gastroenterologists, colorectal surgeons and proctologists have been using the Bristol scale to verify the bowel health of their patients based on the consistency and shape of their feces. The scale ranges from grade 1, represented by loose ball-shaped, indicating little water intake, resulting in extremely dry and hard ones; it passes through grade 4 identified by banana-shaped, considered the healthiest because it comes out with ease in a perfect form and consistency that doesn't even dirty the toilet paper; and it ends with the worst and most severe of all, grade 7 characterised by explosive diarrhea when the person has trouble holding onto his fecal matter as if he were expelling something that the body can't tolerate, maybe because of food intolerance like lactose.

And if not even can you stand the foul smell of your poop, it can be a sign of overeating animal protein, or your stomach has trouble digesting egg and in particular red meat due to the low production of digestive enzymes; consequently, undigested pieces are discarded in the gut causing decay.

By the way, the intestine is considered our second brain (that’s probably the reason why so many people talk a load of crap😅). Be that as it may, besides absorbing nutrients and excreting toxins, it also plays a very important part in producing neurotransmitters responsible for good cognition and reasoning. It is estimated that over 95% of the serotonin in our body is produced in this organ and brought to our brain, providing emotional stability, well-being, good mood, pleasure and happiness.

Thus, maintaining proper intestinal function requires ingesting probiotics, which will help increase the colony of good bacteria, on top of drinking plenty of water and consuming soluble and insoluble fiber. Remember that certain foods and drinks, like alcohol, sugary foods, trans fats, and heavily processed foods with artificial preservatives and dyes, can cause constipation or diarrhea.

So, watching your stool is one way to understand how your bowel is overall health and thus prevent many diseases.

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