1. You should be going AT LEAST once per day. If you go twice even better. Just because you have only gone 2, 3, 4, or 5 times per week your entire life DOES NOT make it normal!
An important reason we have bowel movements is to rid out bodies of excess waste and toxins. If you don’t go every day, then your body can reabsorb those toxins and put extra burden on your body and liver. Included in those toxins that your body is trying to eliminate are excess hormones. Constipation can contribute to things like estrogen dominance because it causes extra hormones to be reactivated as they recirculate in your body.
2. On the flip side, you shouldn’t be running to the bathroom 4+ times per day either. Food still needs some time to move through your digestive system properly so that you can soak in all of the nutrients your body needs.
3. It should look like toothpaste coming out of a tube. Type 3 or 4 on this chart is best. Anything 1-2 is considered constipation. Anything 5-7 is considered diarrhea. So even if you are going to the bathroom 1-2 times a day it is still important to consider what it looks like.
4. It should feel like a full elimination. Even if your stool looks like 3 or 4, if it is only a couple inches long and you don’t feel relieved after going it could be a sign of poor motility (or slow moving).
5. You shouldn’t see your undigested food in your stool (corn may be the exception). This can be a sign you don’t have enough enzymes or stomach acid to breakdown your foods. Your body is designed to make sufficient enzymes and acid all on its own. Things like gut infections, pathogens, toxins, stress, and some medications can damage the microrvilli that line your digestive system. This damage can prevent your body from producing those beneficial enzymes that help you breakdown food.
6. It should be brown in color for the most part. Stool color can be influenced by what you eat, such as lots of leafy greens or beets.
7. It shouldn’t look greasy or float (could be a fat malabsorption issue). If you aren’t properly breaking down and absorbing your healthy fats, then you aren’t able to benefit from this amazing nutrient. Fat is important for hormone and brain health. More fat in your stool can be a sign of many things including gallbladder issues since this organ releases bile that helps emulsify fat.
9. If the only reason you go poop is because you drank coffee there may be something going on, especially if you have other symptoms. Coffee makes you go because the caffeine helps to relax the muscles in the digestive system. Don’t know for sure if you can go without that morning cup of coffee? Then I encourage you to cut it out for a few days and see if you still have a bowel movement on your own.
10. If you can’t go without high doses of magnesium that might not be a good sign. Magnesium helps relax the bowel (kind of like caffeine does) so you can go but doesn’t address why you can’t go. I do use magnesium citrate sometimes with my clients when we start working together to make sure they get rid of toxins. But I do this while we investigate the root cause of their constipation.
It is important to note that things like fiber (including fiber supplements) and staying hydrated by drinking enough water can be important to have a normal bowel movement. But I have had clients overly depend on these things. At the end of the day also comes down to other symptoms and properly testing to make sure your gut health is optimal and working at its best.
Keeping an eye on your digestive health is important because it is an indicator of your general health. When things start to go wrong, symptoms are the bodies way of letting you know something isn’t right. If you don’t listen and ignore those symptoms then you might be putting yourself at risk for more health problems later on down the road.
So there you go. Are you a good pooper? If not, then you need to investigate why. When I work with my clients I use good functional lab tests to help get to the root problem.
If you are serious about getting to the root problem of your symptoms and health concerns then click on the button below to take my Gut Health Quiz and then schedule your free 30 minute discovery call to see if we would be a good fit to work together!