Let’s face it: When it comes to pooping, your strategy is likely to get in and get out as quickly as you can. But before you squirm, understand that it is likely a good idea to look down the ‘rabbit bowl’ every now and again, farmer and general practitioner Dr Vusi Khoza advises.
Believe it or not but the size, texture and colour of your excrement can give a lot of insight into what is going on in your body, says Khoza.
“You can keep track of your bowel movements by observing how they look and how often they occur,” he explains.
A normal bowel movement tends to be brown, soft, or firm in texture and is easy to pass. Any changes in the stool could indicate that your body needs extra help.
‘Good in, good out’
A healthy diet plays an essential role in all bodily functions. You cannot eat a low-quality diet and expect a high-performing gut – garbage in, garbage out.
Poop is usually brown, but you may see other colours depending on your diet, and the cleaner you eat, the less your poo smells, Khoza adds.
“It’s best to eat a lot of fibre, vegetables, and fruit. Healthy digestion relies on roughage and water. Each of these factors affects the type of stool that is excreted by an individual.”
How to keep track of your excrement
If you don’t want to take too long inspecting what is in your toilet bowl, doctors make use of the Bristol stool chart. It is a tool used by patients to communicate what type of stool they had passed.
The Bristol stool chart illustrates seven types of bowel movements, from constipation to diarrhoea.
Type 1: Separate, large lumps may suggest constipation.
Type 2: Lumpy sausage-like stool indicates slight constipation.
Type 3: A sausage shape with cracks on the surface is normal.
Type 4: Long and smooth is normal.
Type 5: Soft blobs with clear edges mean you lack fibre.
Type 6: A mushy consistency with ragged edges indicates inflammation.
Type 7: A liquid consistency with no solid pieces suggests diarrhoea.
A person normally takes an average of 10 to 15 minutes to pass stool. They must excrete on no less than three days a week but pooping too often (generally more than three times a day) is also a cause for concern.
Khosa notes that anyone passing red or black stool should seek medical advice from their GP.