As we bid the valiant little traveler of the digestive system a final adieu from the anus, we have to make sure he leaves in tiptop shape so it can be prepared for his future travels.
The appearance of our poop – its color, shape, size, and more – can be a good primary self-assessment tool for our digestive health. With that being said, here is a list of the stool types and what they could mean about your health.
When your poop is the shape of a tree branch due to its formation within the intestines, you can rest assured that your digestive system is doing just fine. However, as we’ll later investigate, there is a fine line between this wood-like appearance and more concerning shapes that actually indicate a health problem.
The Slow Poke
If your stool is taking a long time to get out the door, it is probably coming out in dry, hard lumps. You are likely constipated and need more fiber in your diet.
The Oompa Loompa
An orange trip to the loo can be a result of the consumption of orange-colored foods such as carrots, sweet potatoes, and squash that are rich in a pigment called beta-carotene.
Sometimes, medications such as the antacid antibiotic rifampin can also cause stool of this color.
If your poop is making more appearances than usual, it might be a result of recent changes in your diet and exercise routine. Perhaps you are eating more fiber-filled foods such as vegetables and fruit and/or you are going to the gym more frequently. Some other causes of more frequent bowel movements are drinking too much coffee, stress, menstruation, and certain medications.
Stingy or skinny poop can be a result of a poor diet, which can cause the stool to become less bulky. You can combat this by eating more fiber-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables. An intestinal infection as a result of bacteria or parasites might also cause this snake-like shape.
Pale or clay-colored poop can be a result of insufficient bile salt released into the stool when it passes through the intestines. This is usually an indication of bile duct blockages, liver problems, gallstones, or another more serious medical problem.
The Grim Reaper
Black stool can be a result of dried blood from irritation when moving bowels. If this color appears consistently, it can be a sign of a more serious health concern, and you should contact your doctor to assess you.