Ailments & Conditions:

Bowel Movements

How often do you poop? And why do we give a crap?

Having just received a box of our favourite recycled toilet paper from Who Gives A Crap, we’re on a bit of a roll (pun intended) to write a blog about shit.

First, let’s share a crappy (but relevant) joke with you. It goes like this:
Why did the toilet paper roll ALL the way down the hill?
Well, to get to the bottom!

So let’s get to the bottom of why we give a crap about YOUR crap, and why paying attention to your toilet visits is advisable.

Talking about sh*t

Believe it or not, but the crap, shit, poo, faeces, excrement, number twos, or whatever you prefer to call the waste products that come out of your bum, provide a lot of information about you and your insides.

As doctors of Chinese medicine working in a busy clinic we address clients’ digestive and bowel issues more regularly and frequently than most people go to the toilet!

When dealing with this sort of ‘shit’ we prefer to use more professional and medical terms like defecation, bowel movements and stools. So silly jokes and puns aside, let’s actually get serious about your crap!

Most people feel a bit squirmish and embarrassed talking about their bowel movements. There really is no need to feel this way, especially not when talking to a health professional. Keep in mind, digestion and going to the toilet is natural and something we ALL have to do, preferably on a regular basis.

So, what is normal? How often should you be going to the toilet? And what should your stools be like?

A healthy and normal frequency of bowel movements varies greatly from person to person. Anything from passing stools once a week to several times a day would be considered within the norm, as long as it is regular. Your stools should be firm, moist and easy to pass, and the colour should be brown. It is normal for stools to have a characteristic (and somewhat unpleasant) odour. This is due to the chemical reaction that occurs when good bacteria in your body breaks down your waste products. All normal.

If your toilet visits and stools do not follow the norm described above, what should you be looking out for before flushing what may be worthy information about your health down the drain?

The key is to take note of ANY changes to the regularity, shape, colour, and smell of your stools, as well as any discomfort or pain associated with going to the toilet, or not being able to go to the toilet.

Some of the most common complaints or changes related to bowel movements include:

  • Irregular bowel movements
  • Stools that are dry and strained, maybe pellet-like
  • Stools that are sloppy, loose or watery (diarrhea), possibly with undigested foods
  • A sense of uncontrollable urgency to go to the toilet
  • Explosive and foul smelling stools
  • Abdominal pain and cramping before or after going to the toilet
  • The feeling of incomplete movements and lingering discomfort
  • Changes to the colour of the stools, such as black, red, yellow or pale
  • Blood or mucus in the stools

Changes to your bowel movements could indicate a medical condition, some of which can be quite serious like bowel cancer and colitis. Changes could be a sign you have food intolerances or your diet is unbalanced, maybe lacking vital vitamins, minerals or fibre. Changes could also imply you’re dehydrated or your system is reacting to excessive or unresolved emotions or stress.

If you experience one or more of the above-mentioned symptoms for more than a couple of days, on a frequent basis or long term we highly recommend you do something about it.

In other words, don’t ignore changes but take your shit seriously!

Chinese medicine treatments, including acupuncture, herbs and dietary advice can be effective in helping relieve many complaints related to digestion and bowel movements.

For more information, please refer to the links below or give us a call on 9530 6566.

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Christina Tolstrup
Chinese Medicine Practitioner

Published on March 31, 2017