Are your stools normal - what to look for in healthy bowel movements and how to identify a bad b.m.
by N J Howell
Related Colon Health Articles:
What Causes Gas And Bloating
What is Healthy Stool?
What is Celiac Sprue?
Colon health Articles
Montmorillonite Clay for Detoxing
What is an abnormal stool?
This first paragraph addresses the situation of a lady with what I considered severe constipation. She had described her bowel movements as small, rounded pellets like rabbit droppings and her doctor said that this was ok .... my response and introduction into what constitutes an abnormal stool .... or how to tell a bad b.m. from a good b.m.
I would definitely consider small, rounded pellets to be a bad b.m. although any kind of bowl movement is preferrable to none at all. Small, hard balls are abnormal stool unless you are, in fact, a rabbit. If I passed stool like that, I'd consider it a sign of dehydration, constipation, toxicity, or some other type of colon health challenge. Dehydration is actually a far more common problem than most people realize and an underlying, chronic contributor to constipation in many. If the bowel does not have sufficient fluid in it, stool becomes hard and can become impacted in the colon.
This is why some folks who start on fiber get more constipated instead of less, because they are dehydrated to begin with and then all this fiber comes into the picture. Added fiber without added water is not helpful at all. To avoid dehydration, make a habit of drinking water all thru the day. In fact, water should become your beverage of choice with other liquids only being consumed occasionally.
Detoxing and colon health:
Now, when you begin to detox, if your colon is toxic, you might temporarily see this kind of stool but it should be very temporary. I strive, personally, for a soft, unformed (by that I mean it isn't larger in places and very small in others but of uniform shape) two foot long stool. Yes, I said two foot long stool. Normal. I don't always get that but when I drink sufficient water, eat only vegetarian and/or raw foods, I invariably get a whole lot closer to the two foot mark. Learn more about how to detox safely and effectively.
Abnormal Stool Color and Consistency: While variations in stool color are normal and can reflect what you most recently ate, a consistent change from honey brown may signal some challenge in the eliminatory system that needs to be investigated. I would personally pay attention to any abnormal consistency or color that persists. Below are some of the variations in stool color that sometimes result and what the variation might mean in terms of your health.
If you pass dark-colored stool, it's been in the colon longer than it should have been unless you've eaten some type of food that is very dark and it's obvious that it's only a color thing, not a consistency thing.
If you pass whitish stool, it can be a sign that your gallbladder or liver is under too much stress or that you have a bilary blockage. If this condition continues, see a doctor because your pancreas, liver and gallbladder could be in trouble.
Greenish stool may have any number of reasons but one of the most common is gallbladder congestion or problem. Other reasons you may have green stool include undiagnosed IBS or Crohn's. If you eat something that has green dye in it, like green cupcake icing or candy, this may temporarily make stool appear green. The appearance of green stool doesn't necessarily mean anything is wrong but if it happens several times and/or there is cramping and abdominal discomfort then gallbladder issues, food poisoning and other possible causes should be ruled out.
Stool that floats is abnormal stool and could indicate that your body is not metabolising fats properly. Should this continue, see a doctor.
Mucus in stool: Stool containing more than just a small amount of mucus is abnormal stool unless you have just begun a detox and it is clearing colon toxicity. The excess mucus is still abnormal but the fact that you are detoxing it is good. Excess mucus in the bowel movement may is one symptom possible with conditions like Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis. It may also signal a bacterial infection.
Blood in the stool is abnormal and may or may not be serious. Fresh looking blood may just mean you have a hemmorrhoid while darker looking blood could signal other medical conditions including cancer.
If the blood is so dark you are not even sure it's blood, it could be something called melena. If it is melena, it will stink. This type of blood in stool indicates a problem further up, in the stomach or gastrointestinal tract. See a doctor if you think you see melena in your stool.
If your stool is narrow and stringy, this is abnormal stool. If your stool is pinched into little pellets, and has to be passed with effort, I would call that abnormal stool. I honestly can't see how anyone would consider small, rounded pellets a normal stool unless it was during a detox period and the beginning of a loosening of old waste.
What's the best detox for a toxic colon? The answer to that question depends a lot on the current state of your eliminatory health, any existing allergens or medical conditions such as IBS, Crohn's, diverticulitis, etc. What I attempt to do, in reviewing colon cleanses and detox formulas is to address some of the potential side effects and considerations. No simple article can effectively address everything, though, so I encourage you to be proactive in your own health regimen. One product I've found which contains at least a good ingredient list is the detox formula here.
Colon Health Care Disclaimer: Abnormal stool is often a temporary and non-life-threatening condition. However, if you have blood in stool or see excess mucus in stool, that's more than a bad b.m. so please see your doctor. Likewise, stool that floats is abnormal and so is whitish stool. See your doctor if either type of bowel movement persists.