Digestive Care Expert Brenda Watson

Part I of the Poop Chronicles

by the Detox Diva Brenda Watson

It’s all about the poop.

We all poop–we’d be in real big trouble if we didn’t! Some of us analyze it on a daily basis, and others just want to know more about it. And then there are some who want the scoop, but don’t want anyone to know about it. Wherever you fall on the poop scale let’s be honest, the satisfaction of a good poop cannot be underestimated.

But what exactly constitutes a good poop?

I have been analyzing poop professionally for around 20 years, so I feel after looking at thousands of poops I am more than qualified to give my view on what healthy poop is and what it is not. I have seen plenty of both. And yes, by the way, I do look into the toilet every day. If something looks a little scary, I sometimes get a spoon and check it out. Now don’t raise your eyebrows at me, if poop were your business you’d be doing the same thing.

I am–amongst other things–a colon therapist. Never in my misspent youth, or wildest dreams did I ever ponder that poop would become my profession. But now that it is, I am going to pontificate on what poop should look like, smell like, and be shaped liked. I will describe how it should come out, hit the water, the consistency and the big question–“should it float or sink?” So, let’s start with how it should leave the body:

POSITIONING:

For a healthy bowel movement, you should sit your bum on the toilet, prop your feet up on your store-bought LifeSTEP, so you are in the squatting position like those people in third world countries who have no toilet (and who, by the way, have no colon cancer, hemorrhoids, diverticulosis, IBD, and IBS, just to name a few of our “civilized diseases”). The poop should slip out of you, just like a child sliding down a water slide, a slight push and out it goes.

SOUND:

Healthy poop is very quiet. In fact it barely makes a sound. Just the gentle “oosh” like a kayak being pushed off the shore of a pristine lake into the water. If you hear a distinctive plop or a loud splash like someone has fallen over the side of a boat–that’s not good! Worse still if you get off the toilet and need to take a shower because your bum is wet from your poop hitting the bowl, let me tell you that is not a healthy poop. Quiet and gentle is healthy.

Much has been written about the physical characteristics of poop. I’ll bet most celebrities would be thrilled if they had so much attention. So let’s put poop under the microscope and take a closer look:

SIZE:

In the world of poop size does matter. There are two ways to define healthy poop: size and volume. If it’s about 18 inches long, that is definitely in the category of healthy. Sometimes though, the 18 inches will not look like a big banana, it could be more like a cow patty. Imagine taking a tube of toothpaste and squeezing it all out - It sort of piles up on itself like, well, a cow patty! If that’s the way your poop comes out and you are hell bent on measuring it, the only way to do that would be to fish it out of the toilet, get a tape measure, and away you go. Personally I think that’s taking it way too far, but I will tell you people do it, and they send me pictures!

At any one time, you have about 5lbs. of poop in the form of bacteria (good and bad) in your whole colon, so squeezing out 16 to 18 inches every morning should be as effortless as passing gas when the urge hits you.

GOOD CONSISTENCY:

A little more descriptive content is needed here to get across the actual look and feel of poop. To get more specific, the actual content of poop should be 75% water and 25% waste (fiber) and dead bacteria. What happens is, as poop enters your colon on the right side, it should be mostly liquid. As the colon muscle contracts, it pushes the contents up, across and down the left side of colon. If your muscle is actually working and contracting, you will have healthy poop, if not–well that’s another story.

The colon muscle can become flaccid due to inactivity - you know like the skin that hangs down from your upper arms from not exercising. Once the poop has reached the left side of the colon it should be solid, just like when you bake a cake – mixture goes in runny, comes out soft and solid. If you don’t bake you’re on your own, just use your imagination! Now your poop is ready to come out of the oven.

BAD CONSISTENCY:

The reason that the consistency of poop should be soft is because it contains some dead bacteria, which is left from digesting your food and maintaining your immune system, as well as water and fiber. If you are poorly hydrated your poop can come out like golf balls! Not recommended-golf balls, or quite frankly any balls at all coming out of your rectum are a big no-no in the world of poop!

FIBER:

One of my favorite topics–fiber. Chances are if you haven’t heard about fiber your poop is in bad shape. Fiber is the Jack LaLanne of poop. It is the indigestible (cellulose) part of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and grains. By the way, despite popular myth, there is NO fiber in Twinkies, chips, soda, or any of those fast, junk foods that we Americans swallow by the truckload!

A little known “piece of the pie” so to speak, fiber is vitally important for healthy poop and a healthy body. You just cannot live without it. It’s what makes the poop big, soft, and fluffy, an exerciser for those massive colon muscles. When the colon has the right amount of fiber (35 grams a day) it automatically contracts and pushes the poop on down the colon and out the body. I guess you could say that fiber is the thigh master for the colon.

So, to the float or sink question. Just to recap, a healthy poop slides out in one easy, effortless motion (that is unless you clamp down on it with your rectum muscles, recommended only in extremely embarrassing circumstances), hits the water gently with an “oosh” sound, sits on the top a few seconds and then slowly sinks - just like one of those toy submarines from the cereal boxes you had as a kid. Poetry in motion! If it floats, splashes, or sinks like a rock, all bad signs!!!!!!!

COLOR:

The color of healthy poop should be fashionably golden brown. Actually I like brown as it goes well with my red hair. So most of the time my poop complements my hair color (not that anyone is likely to see this). This need to color-coordinate certainly makes me strive for healthy poop every day.

But there are reasons for poop to be different colors and certainly as the guru of poop I can give a lengthy dissertation of each and every color. But for now let’s just say if you eat something like beets or too much red meat you will have a more colorful elimination. However, certain stool colors should raise a red flag – yellow and green for instance can be a sign of more serious disorders and if these colors persist, get it checked out.

SMELL:

Boy does this bring to mind some uncomfortable situations for me and I’ll bet for you too. I remember the first time I stayed with a boyfriend overnight. The next morning I was horrified to think I was going to have to poop and he would smell it!!!!!!! If my poop had been healthy there would have been hardly any odor. But, back then my poop was not healthy and it sure did stink up the bathroom. Guess it was what I was eating, or maybe drinking or…….well, that’s a whole other story!

Read Part II: What's Sex Got To Do With It?

The goal of the ”Poop Chronicles” is to get you comfortable with looking at your poop. If it helps you get a handle on your overall health just by looking in the toilet every day, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? If all you have to do is look down before you flush - for sixty seconds - check out my POOP SCOOP tips and you’re all set.

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