Bowel Movements

Here’s a topic that isn’t very popular but yes I’m going there – how well do you go to the bathroom?  More specifically, how well do you poop?  Most people don’t talk about this due to embarrassment or disgust but as one of my daughter’s book title states, Everyone Poops.  It’s a natural and very important bodily function!

I want to shine light on this topic because it should not be ignored.  Your stool can give you a glimpse into your overall health.

If you remember when I spoke a little about digestion – it starts in the mouth.  Food is put into the mouth where we chew and expose it to enzymes to start breaking it down.  Food then travels to the stomach where it is broken down further and nutrients are absorbed in the small intestine.  Undigested food then travels from the small intestine to the large intestine where water is absorbed.  This undigested food continues to make its way through the sigmoid colon and rectum before being passed out as stool.  Here is a picture to give you an idea of what I just went over.

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Not all bowel movements are optimal – for instance I do not consider diarrhea or constipation normal.  Another thing, going a day or multiple days without having a bowel movement should NOT be considered okay.  The longer stool sits in your intestinal tract – the more your body is going to reabsorb those toxins/waste.  Let’s dive in deeper, shall we?

Diarrhea happens when stool passes through the large intestine too quickly whereas constipation occurs when stool passes through the large intestine too slowly.  When someone is experiencing one or both it’s important to figure out the why behind this.  There are so many people who experience this and don’t realize that their body is trying to tell them something is amiss!  For example, I recently had a client who had their foods tested for sensitivities and after elimination of these foods she had her FIRST solid stool since 1987!  It makes me sad to think that she went all those years having liquid/diarrhea stools.  We also tested her micronutrients and it wasn’t surprising that she had numerous deficiencies.  It’s hard for your digestive system to work properly when it’s highly inflamed.

Here is a diagram of the Bristol Stool chart to give you an idea of what a ‘normal’ bowel movement should look like. The optimal poop should be between type 3 and type 4 with a smooth, sausage shape to it.  When we get away from those then we need to figure out what is going on with our health.

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Have I made you uncomfortable yet?  Now that you have an idea of what a normal stool should look like let’s also talk about smell.  When you have a bowel movement it shouldn’t be foul smelling to the point of clearing out the room.  I’m not saying that poop should smell like roses as it’s not supposed to smell beautiful, but it’s NOT supposed to have an extremely foul odor.  If you or someone you know does experience this, it’s another sign to take notice.  Are you eating foods you are intolerant to?  Are you eating foods that are making your GI system inflamed leading to a range of issues?  Do you have enough good bacteria (probiotics) living in your gut?  This is a just a start to questions you may need to think about.

My goal is to make you conscious of what your bathroom habits are like and to notice if they fall into the ‘normal’ category.  If they are not, your body it trying to tell you something and it’s important to find out what that is.   As Hippocrates, the father of medicine, states “all disease begins in the gut” and it’s time we start loving our guts.

To discuss you or your family’s health, email me at drstephanievw@gmail.com or contact our office to make an appointment for a consultation at 920-243-7140.

In good health,

Dr. Stephanie

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