What Your Poop Says About Your (Gut) Health

digestion digestive health Apr 25, 2024
what your poop says about your health

Let's talk about something we all do but rarely discuss openly: pooping! Our bowel movements can reveal a lot about our overall health, from digestive issues to mental well-being and weight management. 

Your poop is more than just waste – it's a window into your gut health. Irregular bowel movements can indicate underlying issues that need attention. Whether you're dealing with constipation, loose stools, or other variations, it's essential to understand what your poop says about your health.

In this blog, we'll explore the fascinating world of poop – its different types, what they signify, and how to support a healthy gut naturally!

Am I Constipated?

Have you ever experienced the frustration of not being able to go? That's constipation. It is defined as having fewer than three bowel movements a week. While occasional constipation is normal, chronic constipation can indicate underlying health issues. 

The factors contributing to constipation range from dietary choices and hydration levels to lifestyle habits and medical conditions. Nerve issues, hormonal imbalances, inadequate fiber intake, dehydration, stress, certain medications, and bowel blockages are a few of the common causes. 

Long-term constipation can worsen digestive symptoms and lead to complications if left untreated. These complications may include:

  • Straining during bowel movements due to chronic constipation can increase the risk of developing hemorrhoids, which are swollen veins in the rectum or anus.
  • Hard, dry stools associated with constipation can cause tears in the lining of the anus, leading to painful anal fissures.
  • Chronic straining and pressure from constipation can weaken the muscles and tissues in the rectum, causing it to protrude from the anus.
  • Severe constipation can result in a fecal impaction, where a large, hardened mass of stool becomes stuck in the rectum, causing discomfort, pain, and bowel obstruction.
  • Chronic constipation may contribute to diverticulosis, small pouches (diverticula) in the colon wall, which can become inflamed or infected.

Recognizing the root causes with a stool test is crucial for effective management and prevention of constipation.

What Do Loose Stools Mean?

On the other hand, loose stools are softer bowel movements, often taking on a watery or mushy consistency. They can be disruptive and uncomfortable, prompting urgent trips to the bathroom. 

Various factors can trigger loose stools, including medical conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), celiac disease, and infections, as well as dietary choices, stress, and medications. While temporary loose stools are usually benign, prolonged diarrhea lasting more than three days may indicate a more serious underlying issue requiring medical attention. 

Chronic loose stools can lead to several long-term health risks, including:

  • Persistent diarrhea can lead to dehydration, a condition where the body loses more fluids than it takes in, potentially leading to electrolyte imbalances and complications such as kidney damage.
  • Chronic loose stools can impair the absorption of essential nutrients from food, leading to malnutrition and deficiencies in vitamins and minerals.
  • Diarrhea can disrupt the balance of electrolytes in the body, such as sodium, potassium, and chloride, which are essential for nerve and muscle function. Imbalances in electrolytes can lead to weakness, fatigue, and cardiac abnormalities.
  • Prolonged diarrhea can increase the risk of intestinal infections, as the loss of beneficial gut bacteria and protective mucus can leave the digestive tract vulnerable to pathogens.
  • Chronic loose stools may contribute to developing or exacerbating Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), a functional gastrointestinal disorder characterized by abdominal pain, bloating, and changes in bowel habits.

Restoring normal bowel function is essential for maintaining digestive health and nutrient absorption.

Decoding a Healthy Poop

So, what does a healthy poop look like? Enter the Bristol Stool Chart, a handy tool that categorizes stools into seven types, offering insights into gut function. Ideally, your poop should resemble types 3 or 4 on the chart, indicating a smooth passage without straining. Pay attention to color too! While brown is standard, deviations like green or red could signal trouble brewing.



How to Improve Your Stools

Improving your bowel movements starts with addressing the basics of gut health. Here are some actionable tips:

  1. Hydration – Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your digestive system running smoothly. Aim for a minimum of 1L of water per day. 
  2. Movement – Regular physical activity can promote healthy bowel movements. Incorporate exercise into your daily routine, whether walking, yoga, or weight training.
  3. Sleep – Quality sleep is essential for overall health, including digestion. Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep each night to support optimal gut function.
  4. Food Intolerances – Pay attention to how your body reacts to certain foods. If you suspect you have food intolerances, consider keeping a food diary and eliminating potential triggers to see if your symptoms improve. Swapping your trigger foods with foods and vitamins that heal your gut is a great first step.

For best results, work with a certified health professional to improve your stools!

When to Seek Help

Changes in poop color, consistency, or frequency shouldn't be ignored, especially if accompanied by other symptoms like pain or bleeding. While occasional variations are typical, persistent issues warrant a conversation with a healthcare professional. Remember, your poop says a lot about your health, including your gut health, so don't hesitate to seek guidance or inquire about a stool test when needed.

Embrace the Poop Talk

Yes, talking about poop might feel awkward, but it's a crucial aspect of understanding our bodies. Emilie, our trusted health professional, is fearless in diving into the nitty-gritty of gut health. If irregular bowel movements are a chronic issue, it might be time to dig deeper.


Next time you visit the bathroom, take a moment to observe and reflect – it could be the key to a productive, healthy journey with lasting results.

Contact me for a FREE 15-Minute Discovery Call to start your journey to good health.

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