What colour is your poo?

24 Nov

How many clicked this on Twitter just to see what the heck I was going to write…well, as disgusting as this post might seem to you. This is a serious topic. What colour is your poo? It’s an embarassing subject for many but the colour and texture of your poo determines alot about your health.

Normal adult bowel motions described
Characteristics of the normal, healthy bowel motion include:

  • Bowel motions should be firm, moist and easy to pass (guys if you spend 30minutes in the bathroom, you have a problem)
  • Regularity differs from one person to the next – the range of β€˜normal’ includes once per week to several times every day, depending on the individual.
  • Bowel motions are brown because they contain bile pigments (stercobilin).
  • Bacteria use chemical reactions to break down the faeces. These chemical reactions produce smelly compounds like hydrogen sulphide, which account for the characteristic odour.

Changes in colour
Healthy bowel motions are brown. If your faeces change colour, seek medical attention immediately, as some of the causes may include serious illnesses. Common colour changes and their range of possible causes include:

  • Red – blood smears on the toilet paper are usually caused by haemorrhoids or anal fissures. Bright red blood in the faeces (haemotochezia) usually means internal bleeding, and the causes could include bowel cancer or a bleeding stomach ulcer.
  • Black – one of the most common causes of black faeces is taking iron supplements. However, bleeding higher up in the digestive tract, such as from the oesophagus or stomach, can cause the faeces to appear black (melena). The cause could include bleeding from an ulcer.
  • Maroon – blood is the usual cause of maroon-coloured faeces. Some of the causes can include bleeding from the bowel – often from diverticulosis, angiodysplasia (abnormal and leaky blood vessels in the intestinal lining) or bowel cancer.
  • Cream or light coloured – light-coloured faeces usually means that bile salts are absent. This could be caused by a range of digestive diseases affecting the pancreas, gall bladder or liver. Hepatitis, for example, can make the faeces appear silver, white, grey or yellow.

Changes in texture
Healthy bowel motions are firm and moist. Common texture changes and their range of possible causes include:

  • Watery – short bouts of diarrhoea can be caused by a range of factors, including food poisoning, gastroenteritis and anxiety. Chronic diarrhoea can be a symptom of more serious illnesses such as coeliac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, diverticulosis or bowel cancer. It can also be caused by medication, diet (high fibre diets, coffee and diet soft drinks can cause diarrhoea) and, frequently, from irritable bowel syndrome. Lactose intolerance can also cause diarrhoea, often with cramping and wind.
  • Hard and dry – when you are constipated, bowel motions tend to be hard, dry and uncomfortable to pass. Common causes of constipation include a low fibre diet, and some medications. Constipation can cause haemorrhoids to produce symptoms because of the straining involved to pass a hard, dry motion.
  • Stringy – parasitic infections of the gut can cause bowel motions to become thin and stringy. For example, worms can affect the faeces in this way.
  • Greasy – a high fat meal can result in fatty, smelly faeces that tend to float in the toilet bowl. However, the constant passage of greasy stools could indicate a problem with fat digestion.

So, there you have it. Happy Toileting!

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5 Responses to “What colour is your poo?”

  1. dailymail1 November 24, 2010 at 9:16 pm #

    you have black, maroon, cream and red but no good old BROWN.

  2. Babble November 24, 2010 at 9:52 pm #

    You didn’t read the start of the paragraph then!!
    LOL
    ”Changes in colour
    Healthy bowel motions are brown.”

  3. Subway Mom November 24, 2010 at 11:45 pm #

    You’re NUTS!!! πŸ˜€ But this worked perfectly to grab my attention πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

    • Babble November 24, 2010 at 11:57 pm #

      LOOOOL… πŸ™‚

  4. dailymail1 November 25, 2010 at 3:46 pm #

    Aha, I was speed reading…..should be speed exercising.

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