Bowel movement is a natural process in everyone’s life as it is the last stop of food in the digestive tract. It is something that people do regularly. More importantly, it can be an indication of a person’s health.
A rule of thumb is pooping anywhere between three times a day and three times a week is normal. Most people have a regular bowel movement pattern, and they will poop at roughly the same time of the day.
According to a survey that consisted of 2,000 participants, almost 50% said they poop once a day, and another 28% indicated they go twice a day. Another 5.6% reported they go once or twice a week.
No matter the pattern, it is important that there is no pain or too much strain involved when pooping. However, there are other signs that people need to be aware of to take care of their digestive system if it needs immediate attention.
Below is a discussion on the types and colors of poop and what they mean to a person’s health.
Types of Poop
There are different types of poop that a person may have. One way to determine the type is by referring to the Bristol Stool Chart.
This chart indicates seven poop types to which a healthcare professional may ask their patient to refer. It is essential that people are aware of the kind of stool they have as it can be an indicator of a person’s digestive health.
Identified as separate hard lumps and is hard to pass by, this can indicate severe constipation, which can be painful.
Lumpy with sausage-like shape stools, this can be a sign of mild constipation.
This is considered as the normal poop. It has a sausage shape with cracks on the surface.
This type is also considered normal. Instead of having cracks, it has a smooth appearance with a sausage shape.
The fifth type is a sign that a person lacks fiber. This kind of stool has soft blobs with clear-cut edges.
The sixth type of poop is a sign of mild diarrhea. It has a mushy consistency with ragged edges.
This last type happens when a person has severe diarrhea. There is no shape and instead has a pure liquid consistency.
The Color of Poop and Their Meanings
It is common knowledge that normal poop is brown in color. However, the things a person consumes may influence this, or it may be because of an underlying health condition.
Either way, people must know the indication of different poop colors since they reveal vital insights about your stool health and physical condition in general.
Having a black stool can mean several things. Some reasons may be due to a person consuming licorice, iron supplements, or bismuth medications (commonly used for diarrhea, heartburn, and nausea). Other possible types of food that may cause black stools include blueberries, squid ink dishes, and dark chocolate.
However, there are cases where food is not the cause of the black poop. If a person does not consume any dark-colored dishes, it may be a sign of bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract, which will need immediate treatment. You may want to seek a Gastroenterologist and possibly take a series of diagnostic tests to determine the cause.
White poop means that a person lacks bile. It is a digestive fluid that comes from the liver and gallbladder that helps in the digestion of fats. Having a white stool means that the bile duct is blocked. If it carries on, it is best to consult a doctor.
Additionally, white stool may be a side effect of specific medications like for anti-diarrhea. People should still monitor their poop to see if the color persists to determine if a consultation with a doctor is necessary.
Hints of green in poop is normal. However, if a person’s stool has become full green, there are two common causes:
The first cause could be if a person adapts a diet heavy on green food like spinach and kale.
The second one could be because the stool is passing through too quickly. It does not pick up the brown-tinting bilirubin, which is a byproduct during the normal breakdown of red blood cells.
It is not surprising that red poop suggests bleeding. It can be because of hemorrhoids or bleeding in the lower intestinal tract. However, if the stool has a few red spots, it is nothing to be worried about.
Another reason the poop may be red is because of the things a person eats. Fruits like beets, cranberries, and tomatoes can cause a change of color.
Blocked bile ducts or medications like antacids can also cause orange stools. The antibiotic rifampin (commonly used as treatment for tuberculosis) can also cause this color.
Like any other poop color, what a person eats can be the root of the color changes.
Orange-colored food has a pigment called beta-carotene, which can also be one of the causes. Other examples of food that have this pigment are sweet potatoes and carrots.
A yellow stool signifies that there is too much fat. It could also directly relate to a malabsorption disorder like celiac disease, which is where the body is not absorbing enough nutrients.
Another cause may be a parasitic infection called giardiasis which affects the intestine. People can get this through contaminated water or exposure from another person.
Be Aware But Do Not Panic
Knowing the possible colors and appearances of poop is essential because it can save a person from any severe health issues and improve the overall health of the digestive system.
However, it is important not to panic when there are irregularities in the stool. As mentioned earlier, types three and four are normal kinds of poop, and the color change may come from food.
Some ingredients have pigments that can change the color of the poop, so there is no need to worry right away. In short, awareness is key. As long as the poop has a normal appearance, it should be okay.
But for any digestive tract issues and other health concerns, do not hesitate to reach out to Makati Medical Center. The hospital is equipped with world-class facilities and run by highly skilled healthcare professionals for gastrointestinal treatment and the diagnosis, management, and medical care of other health conditions.