This morning on our way to school, our conversation went like this…
Me: What’s on at school today?
7 yr old: I hope we do art.
4 yr old: What are you doing today mummy? Are you going to miss us?
Me: I am. I’m going to see a couple of clients and then write a blog on poo.
7 yr old: Oh that stinks mummy! (laughing)
4 yr old: Are you going to write about wee-poo’s? Are you going to tell people to wipe their own bottoms?
7 yr old: You should write it in the toilet! You should call it ‘The poo in you!’
Me: Thanks darling. I might call it ‘The poo in you,” but I won’t write it in the toilet!
If you’re lucky enough to have young children, then you’re probably in the same boat as I am. Poo is one of our main topics of conversation! As a Naturopath, this doesn’t worry me at all, in fact, the kids thorough and very colorful descriptions of what they’ve just flushed, reassures me that their sweet little stinky insides are working perfectly.
It’s also a reminder that once, we really noticed our poo.
“Mummy, you should see this poo!” is a delighted cry you hear less often as kids get older. Then we become adults and we mostly disregard our poo.
And yet, poo is a great indicator of what is going on with your insides.
To make it nice and easy, there is a poo chart called the ‘Bristol Stool Scale,’ that grades poo into 7 different types. It’s worth a google and a giggle at some of the toilet humour that none of us are too old for. There are even kid friendly versions so you can describe the ‘ideal poo,’ to your kids.
The stool chart ranges from type 1 (which is separate hard lumps and indicates constipation), through to the ideal sausage shapes of types 3 and 4, and finally type 7 (which is a liquid with no solid pieces and indicates diarrhea).
So what do you want from your poo?
Ideally, you want your poo to look like the sausage-shaped poos in type 3 and 4 in the Bristol Stool Scale. You also want to go ‘regularly.’ Regular bowel motions vary from person to person, so if your poo looks good, if you can pass a bowel motion within about a minute of sitting down on the loo and without pain, if you can completly empty your bowel so that you don’t feel like you need to go again shortly after and if you can hang on for a bit after to first feel the urge to go (so that you can get to the loo, undress etc), then you’re probably going okay.
You also want your poo to be a brown shade in colour. Poo actually starts off as a greenish colour from bile salts, but as bilirubin (a pigment that occurs as a result of red blood cells breaking down) is added, poo becomes more brown. If you notice that your poo is green, either your poo is moving through your digestive tract too quickly or you’ve been to a ‘Frozen’ birthday party!
If you’re worried about your poo, it might be time to have a look at your diet and lifestyle. Ultimately, what you put into your body will be reflected in what comes out. If you’re not eating enough fibre, your poo will probably be loose. If you’re not drinking enough hydrating fluids such as water, your poo will probably be hard. Your diet plays a huge role in your poo quality.
Where it gets tricky is that you might be doing everything right and still find that your poo quality isn’t what it should be. If that’s the case, a food and ah, poo, journal is a big help to identifying what it is that is adversely affecting you. It may be that there are some dietary intolerances at play, or that your diet just needs to be altered a little.
You also need to look at your lifestyle. An extremely busy and stressful lifestyle will be as detrimental as a very sedentary lifestyle on your insides.
So don’t poo and run. Sneak a peek at your next few poos. Make a note of what seems to be normal for you and check with the Bristol Stool Scale to see if the medical community would consider that to be normal too. If your normal isn’t normal, get along to a health practitioner who likes to talk poo and will help change your diet and lifestyle if needed. There are a lot of great liquid herbs that are amazing for digestive issues and very healing when you’re looking to create the ideal poo.
As for me, I’m off to pick up my kids. The first thing I’m going to tell them is that I said ‘poo,’ 29 times in my blog. It may be the most impressed they’ve been with me in a long time!