As a nation we spend a lot of time on the toilet. It's the favourite place of busy parents, not only for peace but for secretly eating KitKats when you can't cope with your toddler.
I bet we spend more time than necessary in there though, not only because of the peace but because we have pooing problems. Let's delve into some bottoms!
Get to grips with your pooing habits now, so you can spot anything unusual. A one-time blip is not an issue, but long-term changes are worth reporting to your GP. There is no standard 'normal' poo, but it should be soft, come out easily, and be mid-brown with no blood or mucus.
Poo-gazing is a good habit to develop. Look out for:
Rabbit poop - hard lumps of poo are a sign that you're constipated. Lack of fibre and water is usually the culprit.
Runniness - eating too much fat, spicy food, or a virus maybe to blame. If it's not diarrhoea but is loose, then it may be celiac disease - an allergy to gluten found in wheat, barley and rye.
Floaters - a poo that won't flush. If your poo floats, it means there is excess gas in your digestive system. Eating lots of greens or a large meal may cause it. If it happens long term ask your GP for a test because it could be a pancreas issue.
Bleeding - you should always pay attention to blood in the water or on the loo roll. Unless your period has started and some blood has transferred it might mean:
Let's not get into the realms of people that poo-sniff, but in general your poo should not make your eyes water or cause your cat to vacate the house. Some bad smell is normal, but if it's worse than an egg sandwich on a coach trip you ought to take a look at what you're eating and whether you have other symptoms.
If you are straining and it sounds like someone is standing on your windpipe with a finger up your bum that is not good. Poo should exit the building smoothly and without fuss. If it comes out too quickly that's another problem which could indicate an infection.
How often do you go? You should go at least once a day, although it's not always possible with a busy life.
IBS can wreak havoc with a bowel, causing symptoms that vary so widely on a day-to-day basis that you have no idea what to expect next. If you have IBS, or suspect it, sort out a treatment plan with your health provider.
Improving your diet will improve your poo. Cut out sugar, fat, and processed meals. Eat more fibre, fruit, veggies and drink more water. It's not rocket science so is there any reason why you aren't doing it?
Your poop is a good indicator of what's going on inside your bowel, so pay attention - it could save your life.