Yes, I said it. Poop. Not only did I just say it, I make it a point to say it in every, single one of my Living Wellness University lectures- whether it is about the digestive system or it’s about your hormones- it applies and is critical to your health. This guarded act of defecation has somehow become such a secret affair for adults, as though all of your friends and acquaintances don’t know you are doing it. Of course, we all poop. But, the real question is how well do you do the deed!
Our new patient forms delve deep into this function of elimination because it is one of the key factors to good health. Ask these questions of yourself:
1. How often do you have a bowel movement (BM)?
a. You should have 1-2 BMs a day.
b. It does not matter if you have had a BM every 3-4 days since you were a child. You still should be pooping daily.
2. Do you ever see blood in your stools?
a. If it is bright red, on the toilet paper and you suffer from constipation, you likely have hemorrhoids.
b. If your stools are black and tarry or you have clotted blood mixed in your stools, you should see a doctor immediately to be sure you don’t have a source of bleeding deeper in your digestive system.
3. What is the consistency of your stools?
a. Toothpaste consistency stools are best. These are the poops that come out writing cursive into the water.
b. Torpedo or log roll poops are likely too hard. Plop, plop, splash, splash is not ideal.
c. Sprinkler poops are likely too loose.
d. If your BMs don’t settle down, but prefer to stay afloat, you may not be digesting your fats. (Olean chips, anyone?)
4. Do you have to strain or push your stools out?
a. This is another sign that there is something wrong- likely that your stools are too firm.
b. Straining during elimination can increase your risk of hemorrhoids.
5. Do you have bloating or abdominal pain?
a. If you have these symptoms coupled with constipation or diarrhea, you may have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
b. Functional and Integrative Medicine is known for its above average ability to help these symptoms through the use of probiotics, carminatives, botanicals and lifestyle therapy.
So, the next time you are ‘dropping the kids off at the pool,’ be sure to assess your performance. You might just expose some truths about your body’s ability to detoxify. The way that I see it, your body is constantly making garbage (just like your house), and if you continue to produce the ‘Garbage In’ and forget to prioritize the ‘Garbage Out’ part of the equation, your house is going to stink soon. And this stink will slowly permeate the rest of your house… until you make it a point to take the ‘garbage out.’ This is the basis of optimal detoxification- a distinct therapeutic target for many holistic practitioners.
Here’s the connection: If you don’t poop well, your thinking, your menopause, your appetite, your breathing, your ability to handle medications, your mood, your risk of colon cancer, your acid reflux, your migraines, your IBS (getting the point) will all be subject to worsen… further, you might be taking medicines unnecessarily for these conditions. An amazing integrative medicine patient story to come on my next post about this subject. Until then, happy, healthy visits to your small room!