Are You Having Normal Bowel Movements?
While the fact that as many as 27% of Americans experience chronic constipation may not be conversation for the dinner table, the truth is that your bowel movement can tell you quite a bit about your state of health.
Most people know that it’s normal to have a bowel movement about once a day to three times at most, but many are equally unaware that size, shape, consistency, and color are sending important signals of your overall health.
Getting well-versed in what constitutes a normal bowel movement is important for everyday health, but it becomes especially imperative when you’re embarking on a colon cleanse. Colon cleanses can alter all four of these aspects of your bowel movements, and knowing what is healthy and what is not will help you to determine whether or not to continue with your particular product.
Check out this compilation of some basic principles of bowel movements to see how you measure up.
Color of Bowel Movements
According to most healthcare professionals, the most healthy and normal bowel movement is a mid-range brown color.
“Bowel movements are generally brown in color because of bile, which is produced in the liver and important to the digestions process,” explains
Bernard Aserkoff of Massachusetts General Hospital.
When a bowel movement deviates in color, then, you know something has altered in the digestive process. Here’s a quick guide to what bowel movement color is telling you.
Black: You may be bleeding internally; evaluate the possibility of cancer or an ulcer
Gray: A block in the flow of bile; could be due to liver disease
Green: Waste has passed through the intestines faster than normal; could be due to laxative or antibiotic use, or even food poisoning
Consistency of Bowel Movements
The regular stool should be a normal consistency and easy to pass, somewhere between hard and soft. They should also have a texture similar to peanut butter. Changes in this consistency could signal constipation, intestinal blockage, or diarrhea.
Loose, Watery Stools: Could be a result of diarrhea if it occurs more than three times per day; this could be due to infection, medication, or food intolerance
Hard Stools: If a stool is hard a difficult to pass, you could be constipated; bloating and other discomfort may occur due to lack of fiber or dehydration
Size of Bowel Movements
Most bowel movements should be the size and shape of a sausage. Normally, small variations in this pattern are no cause for concern, but if the stool suddenly changes and persists in this change, you should investigate the cause.
Pencil-Thin Bowel Movements: If experienced for more than two weeks, you could be at risk for inflammatory bowel disease, spleen qi deficiency, or colon cancer
Hard, Thick Bowel Movements: Causing you to strain to pass the stool, thick stools could be indicative of too much fat in the diet
Shape of Bowel Movements
Most stools are thick, have a curve to them, and taper off at the edges. They are frequently compared to a banana. Infrequent variations are, again, no cause for concern, but sustained difference may indicate a problem.
Pellet Stools: Coming out in small round balls, pellet stools indicate a problem in the liver; could be brought about by stress and limited physical exercise
No Curve in Stools: Thick, lumpy stools without a curve can be the results of diverticulosis, or pothole-like caves in the lining of the colon
What to Do
If any of these conditions persist, the best thing to do is to see your doctor. Many problems associated with constipation can be absolved by taking a natural colon cleanser like Colovexus. If you are taking a colon cleanser, you should be aware that some changes are to be expected. Long, ropey bowel movements are a natural result of colon cleansers, as you are passing undigested waste that has been sitting along your digestive tract.
If your stool is too loose and watery, however, or if you are experiencing diarrhea, you should stop taking the colon cleanser and consult your doctor.