Published: 01/03/2015 - Updated: 12/30/2017
Author: MSc. Miriam Reyes
Although we don’t like the topic that much, or it’s uncomfortable for you, defecating is something very natural, and an important part of health in everyone. If we don’t defecate, the toxins and toxic residue or leftovers are not eliminated, and within just a few hours we would die from poisoning. If we were to remove a bit of our prejudice against the subject, we could find out interesting health information by observing our feces.
The color, consistency and shape of your excrement can guide and inform you regarding how not only your intestines and stomach are functioning, but your entire body. It isn’t unhygienic to observe your feces after defecating. True, it’s not that pleasant to talk about, but you could save a lot of medications, illnesses, and more severe health problems if you were to apply these simple and natural remedies.
Healthy digestive system: to know if your digestive system is healthy, you need to defecate at least once or three times a day. If you go one day without defecating, you could consider this to be minor constipation, or a problematic digestive system.
Constipation: you must start by exercising to mobilize your intestines, and drink anti-constipation infusions like chamomile, oregano, cilantro or mint. If you cook beans, add a sprig of herbal tea. Avoid cow’s milk and its derivatives, like cheese, as well as red meats and refined flours or sugars. Drink two liters of water a day and reduce your stress.
If you frequently defecate and your feces are very soft of liquid, this could be considered as diarrhea, and you must take care not to become dehydrated. In this case, you should drink rice water 4 glasses a day, and stick to a steamed vegetable diet. This could be caused by a stomach infection, which means you should also rest as much as possible, and don’t force yourself to work.
The color of Feces
The color of your excrement can change depending on foods, but in general terms you should consider the following guidelines:
- Dark or light brown colored feces: health digestive system or intestines.
- Black or tarry feces: most likely you have an internal bleed in your digestive tract. Black feces generally indicate that blood is coming from the upper gastrointestinal tract, which moves from the esophogus through the stomach, and ends at the first part of the small intestine. Bloody feces will look tar colored because they have been exposed to the body’s gastric juices while passing through the intestines. These types of feces could be caused by: duodenal ulcers, gastritis, lack of blood flow to the intestines, varicose veins, strong vomiting that causes interior tears, traumas, etc. For this, you must follow a bland diet consisting of vegetable broth. Eliminate all irritating foods like peppers and vinegar, etc. Drink relaxing tea and, very important, reduce your stress and anxiety levels with some sort of comforting literature that helps you understand more pleasant views of live.
- Bright brown or feces: bright brown or red feces suggest that the blood contained in your excrement comes from the inferior part of the digestive tract, which starts at the large intestine and continues to the rectum, until arriving at the anus. Sometimes quick stomach bleeding can cause bright red feces. These types of feces are generally caused by: hemorrhoids, diverticulitis, anal fissures, polyps or colon cancer, intestinal infections or tumors. In children, this is generally caused by constipation or milk intollerance. In these cases it is absolutely necessary that they follow a healing diet for the intestines. For adults, they are recommended to follow a diet eating papaya, drinking two liters of water a day, and repeating the diet once a week until improving. The following days on the diet should consist of just steamed vegetables, vegetable soups, and avoid meat, refined sugar and flour for a few months, or until healthy again.
- Light, gray or yellow feces: this is a sign that indicates liver, gallbladder or pancreas problems. Frequent causes are liver infection, liver cysts or tumors, etc. The liver secretes biliary salts. If it is not healthy, these biliary salts accumulate in the body and it is reflected either in very yellow or clay-like skin or feces. In this case, we recommend a liver-healing diet which consists of eliminating red meat, saturated fats, cow’s milk, and refined flour and sugar from your diet. You should drink dandelion tea three times a day and eat vegetable soup and fresh vegetable juices, as well as plant-based milks and whole grains.
- Feces with red streaks (of blood): this could be from hemorrhoids, diverticulitis or an anorectal bleed, as well as a digestive tract disorder. In this case, you should follow a diet for two days, eating nothing more than papaya with two liters of water a day. To start this mini diet, you need to drink extra-virgin olive oil before breakfast for these two days, and perform a gentle exercise routine to help your intestines and digestive tract relax and reduce inflammation.
Size and shape of feces:
- Banana shaped, long and consistent: this is a good sign that indicates that you are very healthy and that your stomach and intestines are working happily.
- Very thin feces: this is primarily caused by an inflamed colon, which squeezes the feces inside, forcing them out very thin, like strips or bands. The more inflamed the colon, the thinner the feces.
- Small or medium feces that are brown, and that are easily released: you are healthy and eating the appropriate food. Healthy bowel movements also mean that you are not stressed nor anxious.
- Long feces that are painful when coming out: it could be that you are intolerant to some food, especially dairy or other milk derived products, like cheese and margarine, especially those that are pasteurized and very refined. For this, we suggest dropping cow’s milk, and opt for plant-based milk, which are easy to digest and are excellent nourishment.
- Hard and dark feces, that could be uncomfortable when leaving: you are having difficulties in digesting foods and having a bowel movement. This is a sign of constipation that means you should integrate more fresh vegetables or steamed vegetables that are lightly cooked. We recommend drinking the juice from one apple in the morning and drinking at least two liters of water a day, in addition to including more dietary fiber.
- Small, hard and ball-shaped feces: this could be a liver or gallbladder problem, or it could be due to a lack of enzymes in the digestive tract. For this, you need to include more fresh foods in your diet, like fruits and vegetables. Drink dandelion tea three times a day and vegetable broth. Do not forget to exercise, because if you are fairly sedentary your intestines will becomes lazy.
- Very large feces: so long as they are not painful and are soft (they don’t hurt you), they are not considered to be a health problem.
- Liquid and watery feces:this could be an infection in the digestive system, you should rest, drink rice water, eat cooked apples and concentrated vegetable juices.
- Very liquid, fatty feces with traces of food: this means that you are not properly absorbing the nutrients from your foods. It is also very possible that your pancreas is inflamed.
Although you don’t like it, the smell of your excrement could also point to interesting information about your body. If you are healthy, the smell of your feces won’t be a problem. It will be, to a certain extent, normal and soft. However, if the smell is very strong, this means that your diet is not appropriate nor the most nutritious, which means you need to pay attention to not eating too many refined sugars or flours. You may be mixing too many foods in one meal, or you may eat too much, which could create strong and foul-smelling toxins.
Consider this: ingesting certain foods or medications, like blueberries, iron pills, medications like Pepto-Bismal, beets, tomatoes, coloring in foods, etc., could cause black or red feces.
Revised by: Dra. Loredana Lunadei on 12/30/2017
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