Are you overlooking one of the best clues to the quality of your digestive and gut health? The characteristics of your stool can provide valuable insights into your overall wellbeing.
While occasional variations are normal, consistent changes in stool colour, consistency, or frequency may be indicative of underlying health issues. Use this chart to self-assess the quality of your stool:
Our Top Tips for Healthier Poo:
- Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Proper hydration helps soften the stool, making it easier to pass.
- Fibre-Rich Diet: Include high-fibre foods in your diet, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Fibre adds bulk to the stool and promotes regular bowel movements.
- Regular Mealtime: Try to eat meals at regular times each day. This can help regulate your digestive system and promote consistent bowel habits.
- Exercise Regularly: Physical activity stimulates bowel movements and helps maintain a healthy digestive system. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week.
- Don't Ignore the Urge: When you feel the urge to have a bowel movement, don't delay. Ignoring the urge can lead to constipation.
- Probiotics: Consider incorporating probiotics into your diet. These can help maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria, which is important for digestion.
- Limit Processed Foods: Processed and refined foods may contribute to constipation. Opt for whole, nutrient-dense foods instead.
- Limit Caffeine and Alcohol: Both caffeine and alcohol can contribute to dehydration, which may lead to constipation. Consume them in moderation and ensure you're balancing their effects with adequate water intake.
- Establish a Routine: Try to have a regular daily routine, especially regarding meals and sleep. Your body often responds well to consistency.
- Mindful Eating: Take your time when eating, and chew your food thoroughly. This aids in digestion and nutrient absorption.
- Manage Stress: Chronic stress can affect your digestive system. Practice stress-reducing techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga.
While observing your stool can provide clues, it's important to note that other symptoms, such as abdominal pain, unintended weight loss, or persistent changes, should prompt a visit to a healthcare professional. They can conduct a thorough evaluation and, if necessary, order tests to determine the cause of any abnormalities. Always consult with a healthcare provider for personalised advice based on your specific situation.