Written By: Kira Greasley, BA, CHNC
Let’s be honest, talking about our bowel movements can be uncomfortable, but how often you poop and what your poop looks like can be a strong indicator of your health. Changes in colour, shape and texture can reveal signs of infection, digestive issues and more.
In Holistic circles, your ideal bowel frequency is 1-3 bowel movements per day. Yes, that is per day folks, it is not Ok, to not poop! The optimum food transit time is 18-24 hours, but it can be a lot less (as long as 72 hours), depending on one's nutrition and other factors. Your stool should be a healthy brownish colour with consistency being described as “foot-long floaters”. This is where stool is passed as a formed mass which floats about midway into the bowl. Visit https:// www.continence.org.au/bristol- stool-chart for a complete visual.
Constipation refers to bowel movements which are infrequent or difficult to pass. The stool is often hard and dry. Some contributing factors include insufficient good fibre in the diet, poor quality fat, refined foods, insufficient levels of HCL and digestive enzymes (which leads to lacking the proper nutrients to help the motility of your digestive tract), lack of exercise and dehydration. Other symptoms may include abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, loss of appetite, headache, lower back pain, rectal discomfort and general malaise. As the stool becomes hardened, increased toxins formed by microbes have more time to be absorbed into the blood contributing to dysbiosis (an overgrowth of bad bacteria) and inflammation.
Diarrhea is the frequent passage of watery stools. With an increase in gut motility, there is insufficient time for water in the intestinal tract to be reabsorbed into the body, resulting in the liquified stool. Often diarrhea is an isolated incident caused by a temporary problem. Chronic diarrhea is a more complex situation and should be evaluated by your doctor. Some contributing factors include the use of antibiotics and NSAIDs, food allergies, overuse of sugar and sweeteners, deficiency of HCL, overuse of antacids, contaminated water and stress. Your Gastrointestinal (GI) system is sensitive to hormones including adrenalin, the hormone released when one is excited, fearful, or anxious. Separate from the central nervous system, the gut’s nervous system regulates the processes of digesting foods and eliminating solid waste.
The health of your GI tract impacts the health of the rest of your body. If any part of the GI system is compromised, through inadequate diet or from a digestive disorder, vital nutrient deficiencies occur, and toxins are easily absorbed.
As you will learn in next month's blog, 70% of your immune system resides in your gut, so remember, what YOU put on your fork ultimately decides whether YOU are on a path to dis-ease or health.
Book in with Kira Greasley to learn how healthy dietary choices can change your life.
Kira Greasley works at AST Willow Park and is currently taking new patients.