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Monitoring your bowel habits is the best way to keep track of your overall health. First let’s review what normal stool should look like. Since stool is 75% water, it is no surprise that it should be smooth, soft, and semi-formed. It should also come out in one long piece, and be medium to light brown in color, with a natural smell that isn’t foul. For a visual, see the Bristol Stool Chart below. It is optimal to have 1-3 bowel movements per day. Stool is one of your body’s main ways to detoxify, so if you aren’t going at least once every day, you may not be eliminating toxins in the most efficient manner.

Wiping More Than Once

Called “Hyper wiping”, this is super important because we should actually be wiping once and wiped clean. The majority of people out there wipe 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 + times and it’s still sticky.

Hyper wiping is a sign of excess mucous in your stools. It could indicate irritation in your gut from a variety of sources. Food sensitivities, overgrowth of bad bacteria or yeasts (known as dysbiosis), or even parasites, as well as environmental toxicants irritating the gut.

The Size of Your Poop

Lift up your left arm and measure from wrist to your elbow. That’s actually the length of your lower descending colon. That’s where your food, fiber, and fluids over a 24 hour period have accumulated.

That 24 hour period is what should be coming out of your body every single day.

It can be in one denomination. You can have about one 12 incher or you can separate different denominations. You can have it in two big brown bananas, or you can have one really big brown banana, or you can have three of them. But as long as you’re getting that amount out of your body, you’re having an excellent transit time and a sufficient amount of stool coming out.

Sink NOT Float

When it sinks, it’s a good sign that you’re eating the right amounts of fats and the right amount of fibers, everything’s working well there. When it floats, you may have problems with digesting fats. There might also be a bit of an oil slick around the toilet water.

Women, especially white women in their 30s to 55, could have problems with their gallbladder. So if you see this happening in the toilet, it’s time to start taking some digestive enzymes that have lipase and bile. These will help to break down the fat a little bit better before you have to go down the route of removing your gallbladder.

Shape

Your stool should be fully formed and look like a sausage, with no undigested food particles sticking out. It also shouldn’t break apart on impact, or on flushing. 

If you’re constipated that’s a big key sign for hormonal problems, food sensitivities, nutrient deficiencies or for low thyroid functioning. It can also be a sign of estrogen dominance and low progesterone, because progesterone is required to have good bowel movements. The other thing could be that you just have bad gut tone and that you need to be retrained. You’re likely more in a stress state than in the relaxed state for having bowel movements.

On the flipside, if you are having more than 3 loose bowel movements per day, it is also a sign that gut health is not optimal. Diarrhea can be a sign of a serious condition like an inflammatory bowel disease, such as crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis or celiac disease for example. Irritable bowel syndrome, gut infections, or hyperthyroidism are also potential causes, as well as other conditions such as cystic fibrosis, and gallbladder disease. It can also be induced by food sensitivities, anxiety, extreme exercise, adding too much fiber to the diet too quickly, and of course by medications and supplements.

If it’s sticking onto the toilet bowl, if you’re having those skid marks, then you know that your inflammation in your gut is severe. It’s not just a minor thing. You have to go check out your food sensitivities, because you just have too much mucus and it’s really sticking onto the bowl.

Colour

As long as it is the color brown, like of the ground and of the soil, it can be a dark, dark brown to a lighter brown. Those are all fine.

Smell

It should smell bad — but not that bad. Poop smells because of the toxins and bacteria it’s helping remove from your body. But a genuinely noxious bowel movement could mean that your food isn’t being digested properly, and could be a sign of a medical problem like Crohn’s disease, Celiac, malabsorption issues, chronic pancreatitis or an infection like Giardiasis.