What your stool tells about your gut health
Your stool, or bowel movement, can tell you a lot about your gut health. The appearance, consistency, and frequency of your stool provide valuable information about how well your digestive system is functioning. It is necessary to know your stool as it can interpret the different diseases or concerns in your body. So, if you notice any problems or changes in your bowel, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention.
A few indicators include:
Colour and Consistency
The colour and consistency of your stool can provide important clues about your digestive health. A healthy stool is typically brown, soft, and well-formed, with a shape that resembles a sausage or banana. If your stool is consistently a different colour like black or tarry stool, it can be a sign of internal bleeding in the upper digestive tract. If you notice blood in stool, this could also indicate bleeding somewhere in the digestive system, such as in the colon or rectum.
Changes in the consistency of your stool can also indicate diarrhoea causing infection, inflammation, or malabsorption in the digestive system. Similarly, constipation can be a sign of poor gut motility, which can be caused by several factors, including dehydration, poor diet, or certain medications.
Frequency and Shape
While the exact number of bowel movements you should have each day can vary depending on your individual needs, most people have between one and three bowel movements per day. If you experience fewer bowel movements than this, or if you notice a change in the shape or size of your stool, this could indicate a problem.
For example, if you experience pain while passing stool, or if you notice that your stool is hard, lumpy, or difficult to pass, you may have a piles problem. It occurs when the veins around the anus become swollen or inflamed and can be caused by factors such as straining during bowel movements, pregnancy, or obesity.
In addition, if your stool is consistently thin or pencil-like, this could be a sign of a blockage in the colon or rectum. It could be caused by several factors, including tumours, polyps, or inflammation in the digestive system.
Odour and Gas
The odour and amount of gas in your stool are significant factors indicating your digestive health. While it is normal to pass gas several times per day, excessive gas or a strong odour are reasons for concern.
For example, a foul smell coming from your stool could be a sign of an infection or bacterial overgrowth in the digestive system. Similarly, if you experience excessive bloating, flatulence, or abdominal pain, this could be a sign of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or other digestive disorders.
However, by paying attention to the colour, consistency, frequency, shape, odour, and gas of your stool, you can gain vital information about how well your digestive system is functioning. With proper care and attention such as appropriate treatment, medication, surgery, or other procedures from an expert you can maintain good gut health essential for a healthy life.