The Movement of Color: What to Look Out For
- Posted on: Sep 29 2015
Even though many don’t talk about it, bowel movements are a normal part of everyday life and an important health topic that should not be ignored. Bowel movements are the natural way your body excretes waste, so that mean’s what comes out of you will serve as a reflection to what is going on inside of your body. Even though looking into the toilet isn’t something most people like to do, you should monitor your stools for any notable changes. Being knowledgeable about your digestive system and aware of your bowel movements will help you realize when something is not right. Your stools can be a big indicator of your overall health, so take advantage of it, as it’s one of the few reminders you get pretty regularly.
All in all, you should take note of the color, shape, size, and frequency of your stools whenever possible to make sure that nothing is wrong. The quality of your bowel movements is a direct indication on how well your digestive system is running and how well you are digesting your food. Having poop that isn’t healthy can lead to an increased risk of developing chronic health conditions, so it is important to take note of any changes that you see and experience.
While these conditions don’t warrant you to panic, it is important to not procrastinate and see your gastroenterologist as soon as you can if you notice any drastic changes in your bowel movements. If you find that your stools fall into any of the categories below, it is time to talk to your doctor:
Pushing too hard
Making a bowel movement shouldn’t be difficult and should only take a few minutes. Many do like to bring a newspaper or magazine to read while they are on the toilet, which is fine if you like to use that time to relax, but your bowel movements should not be a battle that you have to fight with for 30 minutes. Passing stools should be fairly easy, so if you find yourself sitting on the bowl for over 10 minutes and find yourself having to strain, you could be constipated. Having chronic constipation could be an indicator of IBS, diabetes, hemorrhoids, diverticulitis, hypothyroidism, multiple sclerosis, lupus, or intestinal obstruction.
It smells really, really bad
Bowel movements never smell pleasant, but when you smell a stool that goes well above and beyond your normal smell, this is a symptom that should not be ignored. Smelly stools can indicate a few things, but could also be from a change in diet and what you eat. However, it could also be an indicator of an overabundance of bacteria in the gut, malabsorption issues, Celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, an intestinal infection, short bowel syndrome, chronic pancreatitis, as well as cystic fibrosis.
While having diarrhea from time to time happens, constant run-ins can point to underlying issues. While your diet, having a lack of physical activity, being stressed out often, and taking certain medications can cause diarrhea to often occur, there are conditions and diseases that could also be the culprit. If you are experiencing diarrhea often, you could potentially be suffering from a GI tract infection, hyperthyroidism, Celiac disease, IBS, Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis.
A change in color
While a change in color can be alarming to see, especially when it’s a color you don’t see often, it could be a result from what you have eaten. Your stools can turn green from ingesting green food coloring, and from eating a lot of green leafy vegetables. While beets, tomato juice, tomato soup, cranberries, red food coloring, as well as red gelatin can make the stools appear red. Having black stools can occur from consuming black licorice, as well as certain medications and supplements. If you find yourself passing white stools, this can occur from ingesting antacids and anti-diarrheal drugs, while having yellow stools can happen from eating the protein gluten. If you haven’t been ingesting anything that could make your stool change color, or if you notice the presence of blood, you should be seen by a doctor for evaluation.
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