I ask people daily about their bowel movements. Yes, sounds a bit shitty, but it’s a very important subject. The characteristics of your bowel movements provide valuable information about your overall health. Having proper digestion can mean the difference of having lots of energy or no energy at all. If you are constipated, and not having at least one bowel movement per day, then something is not the way it should be.
The subject at hand is Constipation, and I believe you are most likely constipated right now, because most people are. Not everyone, but at some point in everyone’s life, they may become constipated. People actually believe that if they are going three times a week they are regular. I’ve had patients come into the clinic believing that their ‘once a week poop at 5am on Sunday morning’, was all they needed. Why you ask? “Because that’s how its been all my life,” is the most common answer. My response is that its been wrong the entire time, and its time to change that.
If you want to know how often you should be taking a number 2, it should be at least once a day, if not twice, and if you are lucky three times. Once per meal is the best it can be. And I’m not talking about eating 6 small meals a day, and you should be having 6 bowel movements, I don’t believe that is going to happen. What everyone should strive for is one good bowel movement per day.
What is the perfect one? I may have some people out there disagree with me on some of the characteristics, and that’s ok, but what I aim for in practice is the following;
- Easy to Pass
- Medium Brown – or close to this colour
- Not too thin – like a pencil or soft serve ice cream.
- No Pebbles
- No Blood
- No Food
- No Mucous
- No Pain
- Not very stinky, should smell good/pleasant
The following is for educational purposes only. If you have a serious bowel issue such as IBS, Crohn’s Colitis, Constipation, Diarrhea, please speak with me or seek medical advice from your family doctor.
Too Dry and Hard
If your stools are too hard, then you most likely have a lot of stress, and you have more heat in your large intestine. Heat dries things out
Diarrhea or Very Soft
There is too much water in your bowels, and we call this water ‘dampness’. Dampness is usually the result of an underactive digestion. This may also coincide with thyroid problems.
Can you clear a room? If they smell really bad, you are not digesting your food properly. You have too much of the wrong bacteria in your gut, and in terms of Chinese Medicine you have too much dampness. You most likely have soft bowel movements which require a lot of wiping.
Very dark usually goes with too hard, and its generally due to excess heat in your large Intestine. If they are soft and dark, it means you have excess water in your bowels along with heat.
Very light means weakness and cold. If your stools are too light you may be feeling cold all the time, and you need to eat warming food, or take warming herbs. You are lacking energy and need an immune boost.
Most common pain comes from stools, which are too hard and dry to pass, or from hemorrhoids, which can be from the result of pushing too hard which makes the muscles protrude.Pain could be from a number of different reasons, and a more thorough diagnosis and evaluation is recommended.
This is caused by excessive stress. Stress does not have to equate to anger, but it can also mean just having too much on your plate.
If fresh blood, most likely a hemorrhoid, it could be internal or external
If un-fresh dark blood, can be something more serious, I would call your family doctor immediately.