It’s a topic that most of us are afraid to ask questions about – what does your poop mean about your health? Indicators such as color and texture can signal concerns that you might want to talk to a doctor about, or they might tell you that your diet is just fine. In this article, we’ll tell you what’s normal and what’s not. A word to the squeamish: things are about to get graphic.
There are plenty of natural variations in the color of your stool that are totally fine – just about any shade of brown indicates that you have nothing to worry about. And there are some foods that can tint your toilet offerings questionable colors, like beets, berries, and an excess of leafy green vegetables.
However, if you’re seeing persistent non-brown colors, especially if you’re not eating those foods, it might be time to worry. Black or red stool can indicate internal bleeding; grey-ish and extremely pale colors can signal gallstones; and yellow means that you’re either eating too much fat, or aren’t digesting it properly.
In the case of texture and consistency, soft is generally a good thing (at least until you get into the zone of diarrhea). A soft stool indicates that your digestive system is in healthy working order, and everything is moving along at a good pace. Hard stools, on the other hand, can usually mean that you’re slightly dehydrated, or aren’t consuming enough fiber.
You may also want to listen for multiple plops – small, distinct pieces of poo can indicate the beginnings of constipation, and can be harder for your colon to process. One large one is better.
Frequency and Time
It turns out that there’s really no “normal” when it comes to frequency. WebMD reports that it’s more important to watch out for changes in frequency. If you normally go with the regularity of Mussolini’s trains, and suddenly go two days sans number two, you may be having some issues with constipation. But otherwise, as long as you’re comfortable, the frequency of your bathroom trips shouldn’t worry you.