It’s one of the most important bodily functions, but many people tend to shun the topic: bowel movements. Stool’s appearance indicates how many different bodily systems, such as the cardiovascular system, muscular system, and nervous system, and digestive system, function. Unfortunately, poor and infrequent stools can cause serious medical conditions to develop. However, understanding how stool provides insight into the body should be on the top of everyone’s list of priorities.
Habitual Bowel Habits Impact Overall Health
Stool, bowel movement, or the infamous “poop” all refer the excrement produced after eating. However, many other elements end up in the end result. For example, malfunctioning blood cells, excess water, bacteria, and indigestible pill capsules and materials exit the body by way of the rectum. The frequency of bowel movements varies from several times per day to three times per week. The important thing to remember is that bowel movements should be a regular, recurring event in life. Dramatic changes in bowel habits, especially those involving sudden slowing of regularity, allude to serious medical conditions.
Identifying Healthy Bowel Movements
Bowel movements have seven typical stages of solidarity, which range from separated, firm blobs to liquefied stool, as found within the Bristol Stool Chart. Optimal stool should be one of three types: thick, pseudo-firm, and with cracks on surface; soft, smooth, and snake-like; or soft blobs with easily defined edges. Furthermore, healthy stool should have a brownish color. When stool has a black, tarry appearance, it indicates possible bleeding within the small intestine. However, excessively narrow stool, bright red stool—from fresh bleeding—whitish, pale stools, and multiple types of stool within the same bowel movement allude to other problems within the colon.
Getting It to Go…
Sometimes, having a bowel movement on a regular basis can be difficult to maintain. However, these factors can help make things easier.
What Does Squatting Do?
When squatting, the anal sphincter relaxes, which allows stool to pass easier. Additionally, it can help stool in the descending colon enter the rectum. A simple stool in front of the toilet can help you get into the squat position without getting up close and personal with the floor.
Other Tips For Maintaining Healthy Bowel Habits
- Reduce intake of artificial sweeteners in your diet.
- Consume more fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Add a fiber supplement to your diet.
- Stay hydrated.
- Avoid pain killers.
- Take probiotics while on antibiotics.
- Reduce consumption of gluten during diarrhea, or constipated.
If your bowel habits have been drastically unpredictable, or if you have experience unusual, unhealthy stool symptoms, consult your physician. Unaddressed bowel problems can be painful and develop in severe medical conditions, surgeries, and discomfort.