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Normal Stool

Normal stool can be broken down into two main areas of description. “Normal” can refer to the consistency and appearance of your bowel movements but also to how often you have a bowel movement.

Normal stool can be described simply as stool that’s easy to pass. Normal stool, according to the Bristol Stool Scale is soft and sausage like or similar to a banana in shape, with an overall smooth texture. Normal stool characteristics include not only the ease of having a bowel movement but a consistent appearance and odor that doesn’t vary a great deal. Stool differing in odor, consistency, or appearance can be attributed to many different causes. Drastic changes in stool appearance can be a sign of a problem within your digestive system.

Are Bowel Movements Really So Important?

Normal stool varies somewhat for most people—some individuals have bowel movements multiple times a day while others experience a movement only every few days. Nevertheless, if your bowel habits suddenly change, it’s a good idea to look for an underlying reason.

If you suddenly stop having bowel movements altogether, look first at your diet. Have you eaten any unusual foods? Are you taking medications (such as painkillers, antidepressants, or sleep aids) that can cause constipation? Are you well hydrated? Increasing your fiber intake, engaging in regular exercise, and staying properly hydrated can all help prevent constipation while promoting normal stool. Hydration is critical to all bodily functions because, when you become dehydrated, the liquid in your feces can be absorbed back into your body out of necessity.

If you suffer from repeated bouts of constipation or diarrhea, you need to change what you’ve been doing. If you believe your abnormal bowel movements relate to your lifestyle habits, a positive change in those habits can make a drastic improvement.

Variations in Stool Appearance

If your previously normal stool starts looking unusual, can you usually attribute it to something you’ve eaten. Rapid transit time (from eating something your system doesn’t like) can result in unusual stool color. Excess amounts of some foods or vitamins (such as iron) can also affect stool appearance and consistency. Stool color changes are important to note because a color change can also be indicative of a digestive disease or other impairment.

Red Stool

Bright red blood in stool can point to a fissure or possibly something more serious. If the stool has bright red blood in it, it’s usually caused by something in the rectum such as a tear or fissure. However, if the blood is dark in hue, something in your colon or upper GI tract may be the cause for concern.

Black Stool

Black or tarry stool can contain Melena (digested blood) and is a sign of something seriously wrong in the upper GI as well. Black stools can also be caused by an iron supplement, but eating extra fiber and drinking plenty of liquids can provide some benefit in this instance. Increasing your iron intake can take several weeks before it affects your digestive health, so you may still produce normal stool until the iron gets into your system.

Oily Stool

Greasy looking stools are indicative of a high fat content. You could have a pancreatic problem or you might be maintaining an extremely high fat diet with which your body is having digestive difficulty.

Gray or Pale Stool

Grayish or yellow stools are far from being considered normal stool. These colors could indicate severe liver damage and should be reported promptly to a qualified healthcare&ngsp;provider.

Green Stool

The majority of green stools usually result from eating green foods or from extremely rapid transit time. Through the breakdown of your foods into the substance chyme, the waste matter goes through several changes, eventually evolving into the final shade of brown. If food is digested too quickly, it often appears green. Babies produce normal stool that may be green because their digestive systems are still maturing. As we age, we develop slower transit time but our food still can turn up green when we eat excessive amounts of green leafy vegetables for example.

Other Stool Characteristics

If you notice something unusual in your stools, such as stringy objects, you could have an infestation of unwanted intruders and you should seek professional help. A harmful organism invading the digestive tract isn’t a concern exclusive to impoverished countries. Eating undercooked meat or contaminated vegetables can result in an invasion of nutrient-robbing organisms, and many people have them without knowing it. Getting rid of harmful intruders can have a very positive effect on your health. A quick glance in the toilet bowl after you have a bowel movement is a good habit now and then.

Maintaining Normal Stool

The color, smell and consistency of your bowel movements can be a big indicator of your overall health. A healthy colon produces regular, easy bowel movements of a fairly consistent shape, odor, and color. If you’re having problems with constipation symptoms, consider using an oxygen based intestinal cleanser such as Oxy-Powder® to clean out compacted waste. After you begin producing softer bowel movements, your system can feel refreshed, and the elimination of toxin-filled waste may help you avoid side effects of a clogged bowel such as backaches, bloating, excess gas, skin disruptions, and other discomforts.

Having healthy, normal stool is an important aspect of your health. Plus, maintaining good bowel tone may prevent incontinence later in life. It’s never too late to take charge of your health. Paying attention to your bowel movements is a step in the right direction of achieving renewed vitality!

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