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Holy Crap, Is my Poop Normal?

Everyone poops, and that should naturally make it an easy topic of conversation because hello, it’s common to all of us! But not everyone feels comfortable talking about it. We’re here to openly discuss poop because pooping is normal and it is also one of the most important indicators of health and disease! 

 

The Scoop on Poop

We’ve all been here before...had a strange pooping experience, and wondered… “That can’t be normal right?” If you’re anything like me, then you head straight to Dr. Google to get some hopeful verification that you’re still healthy and just ate too many blueberries, or something like that. Well look no further - we’ve compiled the ultimate guide to recognizing a “healthy” poop. 

Things like texture, color, frequency and density can serve as indicators of possible digestive issues or dietary needs. So the next time you sit down for a #2, pay attention and make your health priority #1!

1. Colour

Colour is a tricky one because while a change in the colour of your poop can be a cause for concern, it is usually changed by something you ate! 

Things with artificial colours, like those blue raspberry slushies you love, or that rainbow coloured cereal for breakfast, can definitely affect the colour of your poop. 

Foods that are naturally highly pigmented, like beets, can also affect your hue in the bowl. Or eating a bunch of one type of food, like a whole bag of baby carrots, can definitely affect the colour of your poop!

So usually, colour is not a cause for concern. But either way, here’s a colour chart highlighting the most common colours of poop, what it could mean, and when it is a cause for concern.

 

(Image adapted from information by the Canadian Digestive Health Foundationhttps://cdhf.ca/health-lifestyle/is-my-poop-healthy-normal/)

Blood is an indicator that something isn’t working as it should. Any persistent signs of blood in the stool should prompt an urgent visit to the doctor

Remember - if you are concerned about a change in the frequency, colour or texture of your poop, be sure to talk about it with your doctor. They are the true professionals and poop is important to talk about, because it is often a reflection of your health!

2. Texture 

The texture of your poop can actually tell you a lot about your overall health. You may need more of something in your diet, or you might need to cut something out. The texture of your poop can also be affected by your stress and anxiety levels. Have you ever been personally victimized by a stress poop🙋‍♀️? Because same. 

The Bristol Stool chart defines 7 types of poops, and is used by doctors to define different bowel movements. We’ve created an image to describe these 7 types of poop, and included some insight on why your poop may look like this!

 

(Image adapted from the Bristol Stool Chart, outlined by the Continence Foundation of Australiahttps://www.continence.org.au/bristol-stool-chart)

 

Monitoring the texture of your poop for any drastic change can be a good indication of how your digestive system is responding. - so it’s worth keeping an eye on!

3. Frequency

“How often should I be pooping?” I’m sure this is something you’ve asked yourself at least once in your life? Right? 

Well again, that’s something that depends on what is normal for you. Pooping anywhere from three times a day to once every three days is considered clinically normal - so as long as you’re within that range, and feeling comfortable - you’re good to go! 

However, if you’re used to pooping once a day, and all of the sudden find yourself going only once every three days, there could be a cause for concern! Or if you go from going once a day, to three times within an hour, it could indicate that somethings wrong. 

Again, if you’re ever concerned about how much (or how little) you poop, talk to your doctor, it’s nothing to be ashamed about! 

So...What is the Ideal Poop?

To be perfectly honest, the “perfect” poop may be completely different for people across different age groups and cultures. The reason for this difference is often related to what you eat, what your diet consists of, but can sometimes be attributed to health concerns, or differences caused by aging. 

All you need to focus on is knowing what is healthy and normal to you, identifying when things get weird, and having the courage to speak to your doctor! 

Tips for your Time on the Throne

    1. Fibre is your friend. Did you know that most adults in North America don’t get enough fiber each day? Eating fibre from fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and whole grains is a great way to make for an easier, more relaxing poop.
    2. Drink more water! We know it can be a chore to drink water, especially if you don’t like thetaste, yes some people think water tastes gross. But consciously drinking more water throughout your day can help make for a more relaxed time on the throne. 
    3. Get things movin’ and groovin’. Low-impact exercise and specific stretches can help you pass gas and mobilize your gastrointestinal tract. This may sound bizarre to you, but it actually works! Here’s our favouritewebsite. 
    4. Make it relaxing. Minimizing your stress and creating a relaxed routine around your toilet time can definitely make for a better poop. Reading a few pages of a book, or spending time reflecting on your day, while on the toilet, followed by using your favourite soap can help to reinforce more positive feelings around using the toilet, because pooping shouldn’t be a chore!