Everything You Need to Know about Healthy Poop

08 Oct, 2020

 A woman's hand reaching for toilet paper off of the roll

So you want to learn about poop? You’re obviously here because you’ve been peeping on your poop, and honestly we’d be lying if we said we didn’t either. Everyone poops, in fact, we’d be really concerned if you didn’t. Let’s be real, poop isn’t necessarily pleasant, but neither is taking out the trash, and yet, we do it on the reg (or should be)! 

Passing poop is natural, and is our body's way to rid itself of undigested waste. So basically doing the doo is your body’s way of taking out the trash. Believe it or not, there are lots of variations of stool color, texture, amount, and odor. After all, stool literally means “piece of feces.” So, sit back, and get these facts! We’re here to teach you a few things about what healthy stool looks like. 

Sit vs Squat: What is the Best Position for Pooping?

Healthy poop starts with a healthy pooping posture. If you find that too often, you find yourself straining on the toilet, it’s time to make a serious upgrade that your butt will thank you for. Squatting may sound primitive, but trust, it’s not what you’re probably envisioning in your head right now. The sit vs. squat has long been a controversy but let's help settle it.

Studies show squatting to poop is best

For all you sitter-shitters out there, our apologies to be the bearer of bad news, but it looks to be that squatting is actually better than sitting when it comes successfully dropping a deuce.

“The literature on posture for defecation has long recommended that if the hip joints are flexed (as in a squat position) this will increase the anorectal angle, straightening the anal canal, and thereby increasing the ease of defecation,” according to a study from 2017.

We told you so.

The study above used 33 participants who were asked to take bowel movements both in a sitting position using a normal pedestal toilet, and a sitting position using a stool to raise their feet by 20 cm. The amount of time it took the participants to have a bowel movement with their feet raised was half of what it took them in a seated position! 

Not only that, but the participants graded the effort it took to pass their poop in both positions, and guess what? Seated, their effort was a 2.5, or moderate level straining. When using the footstool to mimic a squat position, the effort was a mere 1.4, or easy level straining.

So what is with this poop-stool? The science behind using a stool when pooping, is that it relaxes your puborectalis muscle and straightens your colon. Basically, it creates a laundry chute for your dirty deeds to ease right through. Let’s get into it!

How to achieve the squatting position

Now, climb onto your toilet and put your feet on the seat. Just kidding! Queen Bey is calling you to get in formation and it’s going to feel glamorous. 

To achieve the “squatting” position, all you need is a TUSHY Ottoman. Don’t have one? You can also use a stepping stool or get creative! Try resting your feet on either side of your bathroom trash can if you really need to improvise. Your feet should be off the ground with your knees considerably raised.

Literally, that’s it! Getting in the right position to have a bowel movement is so simple, and makes such a difference when trying to achieve healthy poop.

What Does Normal Poop Look Like?

Normal poop. Is that even a thing? Turns out, yes! There are many fecal factors like color and consistency, that indicate your current gut health.

Color

Your stool color is rarely a cause for immediate concern, and it often is a great representation of what you’ve been eating. Brown and green stool colors are considered normal.

For example, green poop is an indication of someone who has been eating lots of green veggies or foods high in iron. 

It’s important to note what is “normal” for your body and diet. Having different colored poops does not mean you're bleeding internally, have cancer or gallstones. Anytime you notice something out of the ordinary, first ask yourself, “what did I eat?” or “did I take any medication recently?”

Shape

Normal poop should be sausage or snake-like, that has little cracks, bumps, or is smooth. Anything that is too lumpy and hard, or too wet and fluffy is bordering on the line of constipation and diarrhea.

Size

Normal, healthy poop should not come out in little rabbit pellets or marbles, nor should it come out in a splat of liquids. It should be a few inches in length and comfortable and easy to pass.

Consistency

This is a time when slightly soft is the most pleasurable! Your poop should be firm enough that it stays together, but soft enough that it passes without strain.

Length of time

A good rule of thumb to follow is that any poop that takes you longer than 15 minutes to pass, probably means you’re constipated. A healthy stool should take no more than a few minutes to pass, without much effort.

Frequency (how often)

The frequency of how often you poop is really based on what is normal for you? Do you find yourself going once a day on average? Or maybe you’re someone who only has the urge to go once every two days. What’s most important to know about poop frequency is to pay attention if you’re not going at your normal rate. 

If you’re pooping too much, and especially if it’s too liquid, then you’ve probably upset your stomach and gave yourself a case of diarrhea. Do you know how long you can go without a bowel movement? If you're teetering on the edge of your constipation comfort zone, then you’ll need to help soften up your stool.

About The Bristol Stool Chart

Type 1

How’s it lookin’?: Marbles, rabbit pellets, or nuts. They are hard, separate little lumps that don’t pass easily.

What’s it mean?: These little guys are a clear indication of constipation.

Type 2

How’s it lookin’?: Lumpy little caterpillar, or log. Hard to pass.

What’s it mean?: This caterpillar is probably constipated too!

Type 3

How’s it lookin’?: Log-shaped or hot dog-shaped with some cracks on its surface. Easy to pass.

What’s it mean?: One healthy log! This should be easy to pass and is a sign of healthy poop.

Type 4

How’s it lookin’?: Snake-like and smooth. Easy to pass.

What’s it mean?: A poop to be proud of! This poop is considered healthy and should happen every one to three days.

Type 5

How’s it lookin’?: Amoebas or fluffy blobs with clear-cut edges. They are easy to pass.

What’s it mean?: This poop is missing it’s best friend, fiber. Try including more veggies or soluble fiber to your diet.

Type 6

How’s it lookin’?: Fluffy and mushy, like soft-serve ice cream. Easy to pass.

What’s it mean?: The consistency of this poop is bordering mild diarrhea. Try drinking water or fruit juice.

Type 7

How’s it lookin’?: Butt-barf, all liquid with no solids.

What’s it mean?:  Literally, poop with all gas, no brakes. You’ve got a case of the runs, or diarrhea. Try some serious fiber foods like oatmeal, bananas or beans and legumes to harden it up.

What does the color of your poop mean?

Black

Black stool is normally due to medications that have Bismuth Subsalicylate (like Pepto-Bismol), or certain food types of black licorice or blueberries. More serious reasons may be from bleeding in your digestive tract, like stomach ulcers, or cancerous and non-cancerous tumors.

White, Pale or Clay-colored

White or pale poop usually indicates that bile has not made it to the stool, which would naturally turn it brown. This could be because you’ve been taking certain anti-diarrhea medications like good ol’ Pepto-Bismol, in which case, it might be time to lay off the Pepto and switch to some natural remedies for making your poop more solid

Green

A little green is considered healthy stool, however, really green usually means diarrhea. This means your food probably went through your gut too quickly, and your fat-digesting, bile buddies didn’t have time to reach it.

Red

Red or Reddish stool can also be from your diet! Do you eat beets? Did you have some tomato soup for lunch or maybe some red jello as a snack? Oftentimes, it’s because of something you ate, but could also mean hemorrhoids or bleeding in the lower intestine.

Yellow

Yellow poop means a number of things. It can indicate too much fat in the diet, therefore in the stool, malabsorption or celiac disease.

What Does it Mean if You’re Pooping Too Often or Not Enough?

We know all too well what pooping too much, or not enough really means. If it’s outside of your normal frequency then you’re probably constipated or have diarrhea. 

Diarrhea

Diarrhea is the result of an inflamed gut. Maybe you ate something that didn’t sit well, or your dose of antibiotics is irritating your digestive system. Either way, it's coming, and it’s coming in hot. To help make your poop more solid, you can take over-the-counter medication or try to enhance your diet with foods like oatmeal, psyllium husks, beans, lentils, fruits, and veggies.

Constipation

Constipation is another unpleasant symptom, but again, it can be a relatively easy fix! If you find yourself straining on the toilet, stop it, now! Try using a toilet stool, like the TUSHY ottoman to ease the kinks in your colon and find some relief. If you’re beyond that point, you might want to try drinking more liquids and upping your fiber. Like, a lot. 

How to Ensure Healthy Poop

Healthy poop means a healthy gut, and who doesn’t love a healthy gut and a healthy butt?! There are lots of ways you can maintain both.

Eat More Fiber

Fiber can be found in foods like oatmeal, beans, and bananas. When your diet is rich in fiber, you will have more formed, brown stools, like Bristol Stool Types 3 and 4. Not getting enough fiber will cause your poops to become either too hard, like Types 1 through 3.

Drink Enough Water

Water does amazing things for our bodies, so if you’re not on board, it’s time to get on it! The quality of your stool will also tell you if you’re drinking enough water or not. Hard poop means you're dehydrated, and your large intestine and colon have actually pulled the water from your stools.

Poop n’ Probiotics

If you’re someone who finds it hard to maintain a balanced diet, due to medical, health or allergy issues, you can always try incorporating probiotics into your daily diet. These come in forms of pills, capsules, beverages, powders, yogurts and other foods. Probiotics are a form of beneficial bacteria that help maintain healthy intestines, which are not only great for your gut health, but also your immune system!

Try Magnesium

If you find yourself still struggling with constipation, magnesium can help increase the amount of water in your intestines, which will help soften up your stool. It has a natural laxative effect and is a great option if you’re not excited about reaching for that enema.

Get More Exercise

Get your body moving and that gut grooving! Healthy poop is a full-body experience and lack of exercise plays a huge role. Sometimes, constipation can be cured simply by taking a walk and helping your body naturally get things going. Obviously, if you have diarrhea it’s probably not a great idea to go for a walk until you’re feeling better, but you get the idea.

Final Thoughts

A healthy bum starts with some fecal fun! It is important to know that there is such a thing as healthy poop, and luckily, the indicators are staring at you from the toilet bowl. If you’re feeling uneasy about the color, consistency, or shape of your poop, ask yourself a few questions first. What have you eaten? What have you not eaten? Did you drink enough water today? Are you taking any medications? Do you have any health issues that might relate? Chances are, anything on the outside of the healthy stool range, is most likely the result of one of the questions above. 

If it’s more than that, there are plenty of things you can try at home before seeking medical attention. Oftentimes, your poop will always vary, and as long as you’re not straining to go, or can’t stop the flow, consider yourself

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