Pooping. Do I have your attention?
No, this is not a click bait post. It is, however, a title 99% of articles out there don’t start with.
But I am A Gutsy Girl and this is my space…..we normalize pooping here, and today I really want to normalize it.
This post is dedicated to a jumbo pooping FAQ because I get them all the time.
17+ Pooping Questions and Answers
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What are other names for poop?
You will see poop stated in many different ways.
Here are 12 common ways to refer to poop without needing to actually say, “poop:”
- BM (more on this below)
- number two
- poopy (for all you mamas out there)
How many times a day should you poop?
Something you must know right away about poop is that there really isn’t a “normal.” What is normal for one might not be for the other.
So when I share different thoughts on what is normal, know always that you might deviate some and be perfectly “normal.”
One study confirms “normal” stool frequency is between three per week and three per day.
My personal opinion is that 1 – 3 times per day is optimal.
Undigested food in stool
If you have undigested food in your stool that means that when you look at your stool, you notice whole pieces of food in it.
You will most commonly see foods high in fiber, undigested. This is because they aren’t broken down and absorbed in the digestive tract. Some examples include:
- nuts and seeds
Almost always, it’s no cause for concern.
Like everything else with your bowel movements, it’s cause for concern if it’s out of the ordinary for you.
Snake poop is the best poop. And no, I’m not talking about the reptile. Ew.
On the Bristol Stool Chart, a number four is snake poop. Here is the graphic of the Bristol Stool Chart from the 90-day gut healing journal.
And you can see that the number 4 is plump, long, and smooth. In other words, it’s snake poop.
Poop consistency meaning
Poop consistency simply refers to the Bristol Stool Chart from above.
You poop consistency would correlate with the type.
The best consistency, where you want to be most of the time, is a ‘4.’
Somewhere between a 3 and 5 is where most people find themselves most often.
Not entirely sure I even need to lay this one out there because I’m certain you know exactly what it is.
Women refer to period poops around, you guessed it, the monthly cycle.
In fact, one study shows,
Of 156 respondents, 73% experienced at least one of the primary GI symptoms either pre- or during menses, with abdominal pain (58% pre; 55% during) and diarrhea (24% pre; 28% during) being the most common.
Period poops come down to prostaglandins. And this brings us to the next question….
How do hormones play a role in period poops?
Prostaglandins are a group of lipids which are produced at the site where they are needed. They are produced in nearly all cells and are part of the body’s way of dealing with injury and illness.
Additionally, prostaglandins are:
- involved in regulating the contraction and relaxation of the muscles in the gut and the airways
- known to regulate the female reproductive system
- involved in the control of ovulation, the menstrual cycle and the induction of labour
But why am I constipated during my period?
On the other spectrum of the wheel are those of you who ask, “Why am I constipated during my period?”
And again, prostaglandins are the answer usually. Healthline states,
Low levels of prostaglandins and high levels of progesterone can both slow digestion and make your poop go MIA.
What does BM mean?
BM stands for bowel movement. And bowel movement is the technical term for poop.
If you want to sound more sophisticated, then use bowel movement so someone is less likely to throw up a little in their mouths when discussing the topic.
Instead of keeping track of “poop” in my 90-day gut healing journal, you’ll find the symbol BM listed in your Journal Key so you can track your own.
Thin stool, also flat poop, narrow stool, and/or ribbon-like stool, usually just means you need to get more fiber in your diet to bulk the stool up.
When you go to Dr. Google and search any of these terms, “Colon Cancer” will pop up. This is because the narrowing of the stool, over time, could indicate Colon Cancer.
However, there is a difference between IBS and Colon Cancer. HERE you’ll find the differences. Make note that narrowing of the stool is only one consideration.
Why does it burn when I poop?
For most, the reason a one-off burn during a bowel movement is due to the food consumed prior. For example, hot and spicy foods can have this effect.
If you are certain it’s not from food and the burn is not going away, seek medical attention.
HERE are many different reasons it might be hurting when you poop.
Does magnesium make you poop?
It can, yes! It can also make you prone to a diarrhea episode.
The type of magnesium makes a difference.
Magnesium citrate, oxide, and sulfate have a laxative effect.
And, in fact, I have a whole guide on the types of magnesium to help you navigate this question.
Do probiotics make you poop?
They can, yes. But they can also constipate you.
Whether or not a probiotics “works” for you (i.e. helps achieve optimal poop) is completely individualized.
- What is your current state (constipated or inability to stop pooping)?
- Have you a diagnosis?
- Is there an illness, infection, overgrowth, etc?
This is going to come down to your current circumstances mixed with the probiotic strains and species and what they have the capability to help with.
See more on Probiotic Strains and Species HERE.
Why do I have foul smelling stool?
First, poop will never smell good. It’s never going to be pleasant, but it shouldn’t be foul.
There are several reasons your stool might smell rotten.
- Rotten eggs = sulfur
- new foods, new smells = simple changes in diet
- A barn?! = possibly Methane SIBO
If any of the above become chronic, see a doctor. These are less cause for concern, but foul-smelling stool, over time and with new symptoms can mean something more like IBD (inflammatory bowel disease), overgrowths, infections, and more.
How do I start training my body to poop on a regular basis (am vs pm)?
The body loves routine. So if you want to attempt training your body to poop on a regular basis, the best thing to do is set up a strict routine for it.
Let’s take morning, for example.
You can’t just wake up in the morning and decide that’s going to be your time and each day in the morning you poop.
No, it actually has be more planned and specific than that.
- wake up at 6am
- get a glass of water and a cup of coffee
- sit in your favorite chair, the same chair each day, with a book or journal
- begin sipping the water and coffee and reading or writing
- BM around 6:45 am
The next day, get up and do the exact same routine.
If you don’t have a BM, oh well. Don’t stress. Move on. But the next day, stick to the same routine until that routine and your BM’s “stick.” No pun intended.
This works, and it works so well that after awhile, any deviation from that schedule will see you not having a 6:45am BM.
All about poop color
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This is a very common topic, as it can be quite alarming when you look in the toilet to see poop color other than brown.
Let’s break down many different colors.
- food could be moving through your system too quickly
- bile not broken down completely
- eating a lot of green veggies
- green food coloring
- iron supplements
Light, White, or Clay-Colored Stool
- lack of bile
- possible bile duct obstruction
- might indicate liver or gallbladder problems
- some medications
- drinking barium, the chalky liquid you drink before you get X-rays of the upper part of your digestive tract
- other anti-diarrheal drugs
- might also be greasy and/or foul-smelling
- excess fat in the stool
- difficulty producing enzymes or bile
- possible undiagnosed Celiac
- bleeding in upper GI (gastrointestinal) tract; stomach, stomach ulcers, sores in the esophagus from acid reflux
- iron supplements
- black licorice
- seek medical attention if it’s ongoing (and not food-related)
- if black stool also has coffee ground consistency, seek medical attention
Bright Red Stool
- bleeding in the lower GI tract; large intestine or rectum
- red food coloring, including red JELLO
- tomato soup
- small amounts can indicate hemorrhoids
- seek medical attention if it’s ongoing (and not food-related)
- almost always from food
- sweet potatoes
- orange soda
- some antibiotics and antacids that contain aluminum hydroxide
Why don’t laxatives work for helping me poop?
There could be many reasons for this. Here are some:
- You’ve overused them. For example, if you have chronically been using the Senna leaf to help you go poop, your bowels might now be dependent on the Senna.
- You’re not using the right one. There are many different laxatives out there; different formulas for different people and situations.
Remember, laxatives are the mask. Using a laxative one time very infrequently is no big deal. Beyond that, consider there is something more going on.
In that case, get back to your gut healing journal and investigate.
The laxative band-aid is never going to permanently change your current circumstances.
Only you can do that.
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You will heal. I will help.