What You Can Tell about Digestive Health from Stool

Looking at your own stool after using the toilet sounds disgusting, but digestive health can be seen from the stool shape and color, and problems in your digestion also alter your stool shapes and colors. Basically, ideal stool must be soft but not liquid (a little bit like toothpaste), have medium brown color, and does not make you strain too much or experience discomfort when you sit on the closet. Therefore, stool that does not look like that may indicate problem in your digestion system.


Digestive Health Condition from Stool Shapes

Your stool may not look as ideal as the abovementioned description every day, and slight changes may not indicate something serious. However, some unusual stool shapes and colors do indicate something wrong. Here are some stool shapes and forms that may indicate health problems, especially related to digestion:
  • Stool with pale color. Pale colors such as white, grey or clay-like shade indicates lack of bile. This can mean that you have one or some of these conditions: pancreatitis, hepatitis, gallstones, cholecystitis, giardia, or certain parasitic infection. However, it can also be caused by certain medications, such as antacids or Pepto Bismol.
  • Floating soft stool. This type of stool is usually hard to flush, or sticks to the side of the closet bowl. This stool usually has really bad smell. This usually means that there is much gas or fat in the stool.
  • Stool with green or greenish color. While this is definitely alarming and not like healthy stool at all, sometimes green stool can be caused by non-serious things, such as laxative or medication side effects. However, there are also serious cases, such as diarrhea, food poisoning, irritable bowel syndrome, and celiac disease (gluten allergy).
  • Heavy stool. This type of stool is heavy, hard, and sinks quickly once it falls into the water. This means that you do not eat enough fiber. Hard stool can cause discomfort and pain, and it can cause other health problems such as hemorrhoid if left untreated.
  • Thin, pencil-like stool. This kind of stool signifies digestive health problem such as constipation, because the shape is usually caused by extra straining during defecation. However, there are also other bowel-related conditions that cause thin stool, such as prostate enlargement and rectal polyps. Certain types of cancer such as rectal cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer.
  • Yellow, foul-smelling stool. Thos stool usually signifies problems such as acid reflux, liver, and gallbladder problems. Celiac disease (gluten allergy) and bacterial infections can also cause your stool to be yellow and foul-smelling, often with fat in the stool.
  • Small, pellet-like stools. These shapes usually signify the lack of fiber, especially if the stool pellets come out like bullets and hit the closet water hard.
  • Blood/bright red stool. This can happen after you eat or drink something red, like Kool Aid, red licorice, gelatin, or beet juice/soup. However, this can also signify serious conditions such as anal fissures or hemorrhoids.

Taking a peek at your stool every time you go to the toilet can help you checking on your digestive health, and even save you from late diagnosis just in case you have serious condition.

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