Poop cannot be used as a conversation starter. unless you’re a doctor, and that’s still iffy. If you’ve got a dog, you hope it’s solid for easy pick-up. Old-timers say they’re “pooped” when they’re had a long day. Ayuvedic docs routinely want to know about it.
Last week we touched the verboten topic of feces or poop. Why? Because it’s never talked about, even among friends. So, we’ll explore it together. Let’s continue where we left off.
Straining and incomplete elimination is no way to spend your time on the john. Many folks treat constipation with laxatives. But before hobbling to your local Rite-Aid and scanning the multiple shelves for the Philips Capsules or MiraLax make sure you’ve thoroughly exhausted other ways of increasing the “transit time”. Excessive use of laxatives can cause damage the muscular function of the bowel, drain the body of water, vitamins and minerals, cause kidney stones or kidney failure and you may need more and more of the laxative to get results, until eventually the laxatives do not work.
Dealing with constipation is cheap and easy, but you’ve got to make some changes. I try. Drink more water. Move. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Get more fiber. There are two types of fiber, one is soluble, which is absorbed, slows down the transit and allows more nutrients to be absorbed; and two, insoluble that is undigested by you but becomes food for gut bacteria (good) and bulks poop up like glue.
Fortunately, I like prunes. I pop a couple a day, unless I forget, which is most days. I also like Calm. It’s a magnesium drink that can be used as a mild laxative. The literature says it “normalizes tension on colon walls allowing for a normal peristaltic action”.
There is a visual guide to evaluate the “quality” and “form” of poop. Developed by researchers at the Bristol Royal Infirmary, it’s called the Bristol Stool Form Scale, or BSF scale for short. It helps docs talk to patients without overly grossing them out. There are pictures and descriptions of various kinds/types/shapes of feces. You can see the chart here.
Here we go:
Type 1: Deer poops, like nuts, hard to pass, lumps are hard and scratchy.
Type 2: Sausage-like but lumpy. Most destructive by far because its size is near or exceeds the maximum opening of the anal canal and can cause extreme straining, anal canal laceration, hemorrhoidal prolapse, or diverticulosis.
Type 3: Sausage with cracks. Irritable bowel syndrome is likely. Flatulence is minor.
Type 4: Smooth, soft, consistent surface, like snake, 1-2 inches in diameter and up to 18 inches long.
Type 5: Soft blobs, breaks apart on impact. Although considered borderline normal, it can be difficult to make it to the bathroom on time and may require a whole lot of toilet paper.
Type 6: Fluffy pieces with rough edges, a mushy stool. Suggests a hyper-active colon, too much potassium or spike in stress.
Type 7: Watery, entirely liquid, no solids. Diarrhea.
It’s worth reminding ourselves that everyone has their own normal, but Type 4 and 5 are considered optimal.
Is that enough elimination talk? I think yes, so we’ll call it quits (for now). There’s a lot more we could cover, but we’ll save it for another day. Thanks for hanging in there with me.