Dr Bret Wilson

What To Know About Your Poop

What To Know About Your Poop

All human beings excrete waste via bowel movements.  What can this excrement tell you about your health?  Here are some factors to consider.


Dr Bret Wilson

Average person will have one to two bowel movements per day, but this is only average.  The range can be from more per day or only two to three times per week.  The key is what is normal for you and how do you feel.  If you feel bloated, pressure in the bowel or other gastro intestinal discomfort, then the frequency may be abnormal for you, and investigation is warranted.  Otherwise if you are not uncomfortable, and the frequency ( or infrequency ) is your normal, then you are okay.


Stool color is normally the result of bile, part of digestion, produced by the liver, commonly a shade of brown.  The color can be effected by food intake, supplements and medications.  A dark colored stool that sinks quickly can be an indication insufficient fiber in the diet.  Colors that can be flags for significant health problems include black ( tarry stool possible blood from upper GI tract), pale or white ( gall bladder or liver condition ), red ( frank blood from bleeding lower bowel or hemorrhoids).  The key is any change from your normal shade of brown, may be worth a trip to the doctor.


Research has indicated that size and shape are not relevant by itself.  As long as the stool leaves the body easily and without strain or discomfort, and the shape is consistent for you, then there is nothing to be concerned about.  Changes that may be indicative of problems:  Pellets may be due to stress; pencil thin may be due to partial obstruction and soft smelly stool that floats may be due to excess fat intake.

Slow and Fast

Constipation is a slowing of bowel activity resulting in a decrease in frequency and volume of bowel movements.  The condition can be associated with bloating, pressure of the lower bowel and rectum, gassiness and general discomfort.  The urge to go and relieve the pressure may cause undo strain trying to push the stool out.  This strain can lead to low back pain, hemorrhoids and greater discomfort.  Possible relief of constipation can be increase water intake, increase fiber intake and more physical activity or exercise.

If the fecal material moves too quickly through the bowel, diarrhea is the result.  The bowel movements change with a significant increase in frequency, loose and watery stool and moderate to severe abdominal cramping.  Causes can include food poisoning, harmful bacteria or virus, or other disease.  Proper hydration, increased fluid intake helps offset concerns of dehydration from fluid loss and impaired absorption.

Consult Your Doctor

If you are concerned about a change in your bowel movements, or if the change persists longer that several days, a consultation with your physician may be in order.  Screenings for colon cancer is recommended for adults over 50 years of age or earlier if there is a direct family history of colon cancer.  Baseline tests would include a fecal occult blood test and colonoscopy.  Other serious conditions may include colitis, irritable bowel, and Crohn’s disease.  Early detection and treatment of these conditions improve the prognosis and outcomes.  The tests are now included as part of the wellness provisions of most health insurance policies.

Chiropractic evaluation and care can reduce postural stress, improve mobility and return normal neural control to the bowel and abdominal structures and restore normal function.

Healthy Poop

Diet is the biggest factor in gastro intestinal health.  Emphasis of increased vegetables, fruit and other sources of dietary fiber are important.  Limits of fats, sugars and processed foods can improve bowel health.  Proper hydration with clean water, avoid or limit caffeinated beverages, soft drinks regular and diet and limit alcohol.  Fermented and cultures foods such as yogurt, kefir or fermented vegetables (sauerkraut) as a source of probiotics, inoculate the bowel with the beneficial organisms that should inhabit the healthy gut, aid in proper absorption and immune response.

Exercise to help with general health and improve gastro intestinal motility.  Stress management, emotional well-being and healthy social interaction to minimize distress.

Maintain a consistent schedule of meals, sleep, hydration, elimination and activity to optimize body function, restoration, and maximize health.

Yours In Health,

Bret Wilson, DC


Get more information:

Healthy and Unhealthy Stool –  http://altmedicine.about.com/od/gettingdiagnosed/a/stools.htm

The Scoop on Poop – http://women.webmd.com/pharmacist-11/digestive-problems

Stool Color Chart –  http://www.buzzle.com/articles/stool-color-chart.html

Colon Cancer – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001308/

Guide to Fermented Foods – http://www.marksdailyapple.com/fermented-foods-health/#axzz2I1EyZsgr