What Your Poo Says About You
Many years ago I remember watching ‘Dr’ Gillian Mckeith poking her nose around peoples stools on the programme ‘You Are What You Eat’. Little did I know that whilst watching that programme I would go on to become quite fascinated by the function of the gut, and my real passion is trying to translate the language of the human body. It is my opinion that the better we become at interpreting the signs and signals our body is giving the more we can revolutionise health care.
Assessing your stool
So is there any substance to what our stools look like and smell like, and if so what should we be looking out for when we go to the toilet?
If your stool is pale this could be a sign of:
- Malabsorption of fats
- Low bile acids
- Pancreatic Insufficiencies
If your stool is green this could be a sign of:
- Guardia or salmonella infection
- Antibiotic use
If your stool is dark or black this could be a sign of:
- Intake of beets
- Liquorice supplementation
- Internal bleeding
- Iron supplementation
If you have blood in your stool this could be a sign of:
- Irritable Bowel Disease
Mucous in your stool could be a sign of:
- Inflammation of the intestines caused by parasites, food sensitivities, colitis, pancreatitis, bowel dysbiosis, celiac.
Particularly fowl smelling stool can be a sign of:
- Increased fats in the diet, pancreatic insufficiency, bowel dysbiosis, bile duct obstruction
Assessing your stool should be part of staying on top of your health. Abnormal coloured stools you should be looking to arrange appointments with your doctor to discuss your symptoms. Whilst it is my view that general gut health is poorly managed by conventional medicine we must stay on top of the symptoms that might be indicators of certain serious illnesses and what we see in the bowl can be one of the first signs in early detection of dysfunctions.
If you are at all concerned you should always discuss with a qualified health professional. Further lab testing may then determine the cause of your symptoms and whether it is something that can be addressed through nutrition, lifestyle and functional medicine.
Helpful tests for gut function are comprehensive blood chemistries, stool analysis, food sensitivity testing and urine organic acid profiles.