The Goldilocks poo - yes there is a gold standard for poo!
We have spent the last month in ‘The Healthy Women’s Hub”, my facebook group for women, discussing the ins and outs of bowel movements. We Naturopaths are a little obsessed with your waste disposal unit and for good reason - it tells us a lot about what your digestion is doing. So I though my blog this month should be all about punishing the porcelain with the perfect poo.
Firstly, when you make a deposit it is really important to turn around and have a look at what you have just dropped off before you wipe. Not the nicest part of the quest for the perfect poo but a necessity.
Daily defecating is the best option as a minimum. Some people are once a day, other people are after every meal, but just don't let your waste sit there too long because then it can cause problems. The longer it sits there the harder it becomes and the harder it becomes the more difficult it is to evacuate which can create painful haemorrhoids and small tears in the anus wall. Ouch!
More importantly, when you cannot “unloose the caboose” and the waste products sit there too long, they can be absorbed back into the body putting you at risk of leaky gut and autointoxication (a common trigger of widespread inflammation).
And when you do go, you really shouldn’t be sitting there for hours. A minute or so and there should be full release - complete evacuation leaving no man behind. And no resistance - like toothpaste leaving it’s tube. Note, if you then like to sit on the toilet and pursue other habits such as social media or reading the news, that is fine, as long as the evacuation is efficient and relatively quick.
So now to the actual movement…
Colour is really important and here the poo emoji gets it right 💩 …a nice milk chocolate colour, although any shade of brown is acceptable. Other colours can indicate issues but be sure it isn’t food based (beetroot, lots of peas or licorice) before racing off to the doctor for a colonoscopy.
We are looking also for a long, cylindrical log shape. We want at least 5cm but ideally 10-20cm is better. Note you do not need to dive in with a ruler here, an estimation is adequate. Tiny is not good nor is shooting out pellets unless you are a sheep or a rabbit.
The odour should be slightly unpleasant. I am not talking roses and rainbows here but if you eyes are watering and you are gagging then things are not good. You might have a stomach bug, an intolerance (lactose or gluten) or it could be medications like antibiotics.
A word on sinking and floating - most poo sinks. But if yours floats, don’t panic yet. It could be due to excessive gas from beans or artificially sweetened foods. But if it floats and stinks then it could be a digestive problem such as an infection, food intolerance or a digestive disorder.
And now to the consistency and the gold standard of poo…
The “perfect poo” comes about from the Bristol Stool chart, the poo bible. It was developed by researchers at the Bristol Royal Infirmary Hospital as a visual guide for stools. You simply compare your poo to the chart.
And this is what you are looking for.
Type 1 is separate hard lumps like chocolate coated peanuts. This is a form of constipation and is usually indicative of low fibre and poor bacteria balance. There can be a lot of farting with this one too.
Type 2 is also constipation although a more common form. It is sausage like but a little lumpy, or, to continue with the chocolate bar analogy, “The Picnic”. There is a lot of straining because this one is just too big to get out easily. Of course it also irritates the bowel walls so you can see quite a bit of bleeding or haemorrhoids.
Type 3 is the sausage with cracks in the surface or The Polywaffle (R.I.P). It is a bit quicker to pass than type 2 so it is getting close to normal but not quite there.
And then there is ‘The Gold Standard of Poo”, that one that wins all the medals in shows, the one that is the perfect poo.
Type 4 is the smooth soft sausage and is a common find for the daily defecator. It is the goldilocks of poo because it is not too hard and not too soft. Adequate fibre and water and happy bacteria means it transitions well - not too quickly and not too slowly with the result of the perfect sausage.
Type 5 is a very close runner up to the Goldilocks. It is soft blobs with clear-cut edges and is quite a good one to have. Again it is typically found in a daily defecator but more the “two to three times a day often after I eat” person. It doesn’t quite make the perfect log shape because it passes a little bit too quickly through. But still a good option to strive for.
Type 6 is the one that can put you on the edge. It is fluffy pieces with ragged edges and a mushy. It can be difficult to control the urge so you want to be near a toilet to remain confident. It also can be messy with the toilet paper too. This one is the hyperactive bowel where things are happening a little too quickly. Sometimes this is due to stress, spices, laxative or a spike in blood pressure.
And just when you think it cannot get any worse, there is type 7, the watery with nothing solid. This one really needs to come with a warning to stay close to the toilet for what it lacks in confidence it makes up with mess.
So to recap…
Type 1 and 2 are constipation, that is hard, difficult to pass and can be impacted.
Type 3 is acceptable and heading toward normal.
Type 4 is the perfect poo.
Type 5 is the runner up in the perfect poo prize - close and acceptable.
Type 6 and 7 are diarrhoea and you should not gamble on a fart.
Daily bowel movements are your rubbish removal service. If your service is delayed, unreliable and frankly painful, then do something about it. If your butt nuggets are less than perfect then book in now for your personalised treatment plan After all, achieving the Goldilocks poo is sure to leave you living happily ever after and we all need a goal to strive toward.
After thought… I do hope I haven’t ruined your favourite chocolate bar…