Manzanillo Sun article

Fitness and Health

2012 Health Karen Trom May 2012

By Karen Trom from the May 2012 Edition

The topic this month might shock a few people but paying attention to what comes out of your body is possibly more important as what goes in. In fact, you can learn a lot about your health by taking a look in the toilet. You don’t have to study each and every BM, but take a glance once in a while. Think of it as an emissions test for your body. Stop reading now if you are easily offended.

The Scoop on Poop!

A healthy poop should be golden brown. You want to make sure the color is normal because it tells you a lot about what is going on in your body.

Your poop should be in one long torpedo. It should resemble the shape and consistency of an unripe banana (although not that color!) It should not be in pieces but should be 1-2 inches in diameter and 18 inches long!! (Really?? Wow!!) It should also be almost odorless. (More on this coming up).

What about color?

Black: Feces can be black if dried blood is present in it from internal bleeding in the upper digestive tract. See your doctor.

Very dark brown: Drinking red wine the night (or day!) before can do this. It could also be the result of too much salt or not enough vegetables.

Yellow: There are several infections that can cause yellow poop. See your doctor if it is consistently yellow.

Green: Babies have green poop when they are given a food for the first time. Adults have green poop if we eat large amounts of green leafy vegetables or lots of food with green food coloring. Light green poop might indicate excessive sugar in the diet. Green can also occur with diarrhea from bile passing through the system. Again, see a doctor if you are concerned.

White/pale: A white or pale stool can be an indication of problems in the gallbladder or liver.

Red: Bright red in the feces may be indicative of active bleeding, possibly the results of hemorrhoids. A magenta color may result from intense red food coloring or red foods such as beets or red wine.

How often should I poop?

It really depends on you. Some people poop three times per week, others three times per day. As long as you are on a regular schedule, you are ok. If this schedule changes and you become uncomfortable, see your doctor.

Floaters and Sinkers

Experts do not all agree, but the general consensus is a that a healthy poop will sink. When a digestive tract is operating properly and the diet is well-balanced, stools will sink in the bowl. That is because the body has eliminated the waste in your system properly and your stools do not contain any gases and the fats from your diet have been processed properly. Now, without raising any alarm bells, your diet will change from day to day and your stools may occasionally float and that is not a problem. It happens to everyone.

When your poop floats all of the time and never sinks, then there could in fact be a medical problem.

You might be thinking that you have no symptoms other than floating poop so there is no need for concern. WRONG! Many diseases in the early stages have little or no symptom association. The only way to be absolutely certain that nothing is wrong is to seek a medical consultation.

Few people associate floating stools with one of the worst cancers-cancer of the pancreas.

The pancreas is responsible for processing waste materials and fat in an efficient manner. When the pancreas cannot do its job properly, more and more fat is allowed into the waste causing the stool to be lighter and thereby causing it to float. When caught very early, for instance as soon as your stools have been floating for more than 10 or 14 days, the cancer treatment is much more effective and your cure probability is much higher.

Of course, if you ignore it due to embarrassment of having to tell a doctor that your poop is floating, then your survival rate begins to diminish until there is no chance of beating this horrible disease.

Hey Stinky!

It really is true that you are what you eat, much like you are what you poop!

If you eat junk food, then junk is what will come out the other end and your poop will be stinky! It takes about 15 hours for food to completely pass through system. So, if you think about that and the temperature at which our internal organs are kept (a toasty 98 F, 37 C for most people), then some foods will definitely start to stink after so long. If we eat foods that stink in a short time, then what comes out will surely stink as well!

How to Make It Smell Better…

Changing your diet to fresh foods, eliminating processed foods that are loaded with chemicals and reducing sugar intake will prevent those bathroom bombs. If you eat healthy, your poop will smell healthy- not rotten!

What about my dog/cat? Can I do something about that smell?

Much like humans, the quality of food you feed your pet will be reflected in the litter box or in the yard. If your pet has a serious stink problem, you might want to consider changing the brand of food. Check with your vet for recommendations.

This is not the most appetizing topic, but I know it will be a real conversation starter!

You can find more interesting stuff on my blog:

Download the full edition or view it online