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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

let's check your toilet bowl :-)

Ok. Don't be shy. Because it's very important.
let's discuss your stool.
firstly what is an ideal bowel movement?
It should leave the body easily with no straining or discomfort. It should have the consistency of toothpaste, and be approximately 4 to 8 inches long. Stool should enter the water smoothly and slowly fall once it reaches the water. There should be little gas or odour.

What are different types? Is yours one of the listed? hope yours is one of the above, but if not check these out.

Rapidly sinking stool
It may be indicating that you are not eating enough fiber rich foods or drinking enough water. Fibre rich foods include vegetables, fruits (pectin) , wholegrains and legumes.
This stool is often dark because they have been sitting in the intestines for a prolonged time.

Pale Stool
It may be caused by insufficient bile output. Conditions such as cholecystitis, gallstones, giardia parasitic infection, hepatitis, chronic pancreatitis, or cirrhosis can affect the amount of bile released from the liver
Pale stool may also be shiny or greasy, float, and be foul smelling, due to undigested fat in the stool.

Soft, Smelly Stool
If your stool is soft, foul-smelling stool that floats, sticks to the side of the bowl, or is difficult to flush away it may mean there is increased fat in the stools, called steatorrhea. Stool is sometimes also pale.
If reducing your fat intake does not improve the appearance there may be an underlying disorder.

Lipase, a digestive enzyme produced by the pancreas, and bile salts from the liver are needed to break down and absorb fat. Any condition that results in decreased lipase or bile salts can cause steatorrhea, such as:

Pancreatic insufficiency
Chronic pancreatitis - may be due to alcoholism or gallstones. Symptoms may include bouts of abdominal or back pain, and later, abdominal bloating, changes in stools, weight loss, diabetes.
Pancreatic cancer - Symptoms may include abdominal pain, weight loss, loss of appetite, metallic taste in the mouth, diarrhea.
Sclerosing cholangitis - symptoms may include fatigue, itchy skin, right sided pain, fever/chills, jaundice, dark urine, pale stools. Often associated with ulcerative colitis.
Choledocholithiasis (obstruction of the bile duct by gallstones)
Bacterial overgrowth - unwanted bacteria in the small intestine deconjugate bile acids interfering with fat absorption. Causes include hypochlorhydria, chronic stress, diabetes, immune deficiency, inadequate fiber, and use of oral contraceptives and other medications.
Steatorrhea can also be caused by infections, medications, or conditions that disrupt the absorptive lining of the intestines, such as Crohn's disease and celiac disease.

Fat soluble vitamin, vitamin A, D, E and K, deficiencies may develop over time. Signs include: night blindness, acne, and lowered immune function (vitamin A deficiency) and excessive bruising or bleeding (vitamin K deficiency).

Mucus in Stool
it may indicate there is inflammation in the intestines. Mucus in stool can occur with either constipation or diarrhea.
Common causes of mucus in stool includes bacterial overgrowth and food allergies and sensitivities. They are often easily corrected with dietary changes and supplements. With bacterial overgrowth, bloating and gas usually worsen after eating any sugar, whether it's white sugar, bread, pasta, rye, rice, or milk (which contains the sugar lactose). People with food allergies and sensitivities react to specific foods.

If there is no underlying disorder present, mucus in stool, abdominal bloating, and constipation are often helped by increasing water intake and taking herbal or food demulcents, substances that form a soothing film which soothes the intestinal lining.

Demulcent herbs include slippery elm and marshmallow. A demulcent tea can also be made by adding one cup of hot water to one teaspoon ground flaxseeds and soaking overnight.

Greasy foods, dairy products and wheat can contribute to the mucus in stools. Avoid these products to see if the condition improves.

Bacterial or parasitic infections can also cause mucus in stool. They are often accompanied by a sudden onset of diarrhea, lower abdominal cramping, urgency and possibly blood in the stools

Green stools

Usually brown stools are considered health. That is because efficient amount of bile, which is to absorb fats and fat soluble vitamins and also help to soften stools, give brown colour.
As bile makes its way through the intestines, it progressively changes color from green to yellow to brown, due to the action of bacteria in the large intestine on the bile salts.
Green stool often indicates that food has passed through the intestines faster than normal (called decreased bowel transit time), before it could be changed from green to brown.

causes of green stool include:

Laxative use
Antibiotic use
Medication side effects
Food poisoning
Celiac disease
Ulcerative colitis
Crohn's disease
Irritable bowel syndrome
Bacterial overgrowth
Infectious diarrhea - especially salmonella and giardia
Traveler's diarrhea

Foods and supplements that can cause green stool include:

Iron supplements

loose stools

Loose stools, abdominal bloating, lack of energy, and poor appetite can be signs of a condition known as spleen qi deficiency. It doesn't necessarily involve your actual spleen, but it is a condition of general tiredness and weak digestion brought on by stress and poor diet.

Other symptoms of spleen qi deficiency are:

easy bruising
mentally foggy
bloating, gas, loose stools
poor appetite
loose stools with little odor
symptoms are worse with stress
undigested food in the stools
difficulty ending the bowel movement
Spleen qi deficiency is thought to be brought on by stress and overwork.

These foods may contribute to spleen qi deficiency as they are often considered to increase cold and damp conditions.
fried or greasy foods
raw fruits and vegetables
cold drinks

Dietary treatment involves eating warm foods. Ginger tea and cinnamon tea are thought to be warming.
make sure to replace lost electrolytes and fluid.

Besides spleen qi deficiency, other conditions that cause loose stools or chronic diarrhoea include:

Gluten intolerance
Lactose intolerance
Pancreatic insufficiency
Bile salt deficiency
Celiac disease
Whipple's disease
Ulcerative colitis
Crohn's disease
If food sensitivities are involved, treatment includes identifying possible food sensitivties using the elimination and challenge diet and then avoiding or rotating these foods. Although symptoms may improve, it's also necessary to identify the cause of the food sensitivities.

it also may indicate imbalance in gut bacteria. Eat whole grains, Avoid having too much fruit, raw vegetables and juices for a while. Supplement with probiotic capsules or powder to repopulate the gut with good bacteria.

Pencil Thin Stool

Like loose stools, stool that is pencil thin can be caused by spleen qi deficiency.

Other symptoms of spleen qi deficiency are: easy bruising, mental fogginess, bloating, gas, loose stools, fatigue, poor appetite, loose stools with little odor, symptoms that worsen with stress, undigested food in the stools, and difficulty ending the bowel movement. See loose stools for more information
Pencil thin stool can also be caused by a bowel obstruction. Benign rectal polyps, prostate enlargement, colon or prostate cancer are some of the conditions that can cause obstruction.

infrequent stools
With constipation, there is the passage of infrequent or hard stools with straining. Conventional medicine considers having a bowel movement every second day normal, for optimal health and digestion there should be at least one bowel movement a day.
If you are concerned about your bowl regularity get an advise from a professional. Self- prescribe laxatives and strong herbal "dieters" tea can injure the intestines, result in vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

pellet stools

Pellet stool is stool that comes out in small, round balls. It's associated with constipation.

Pellet stool can be caused by liver qi stagnation. It's often brought on by stress. Lack of exercise worsens the problem.

Signs of liver qi stagnation include:

symptoms are worse with stress
symptoms improve with exercise
feeling bloated all the time
copious amounts of gas, which is often odorless
symptoms are worse before or during menstrual periods
Excessive intake of red meat, wheat, sugar, and alcohol are believed to cause congestion and heat in the body and worsen the liver qi stagnation. Reducing intake of these foods can help. Some alternative practitioners recommend a detox diet plan.

Herbs that reduce stress and help digestion by easing intestinal bloating and cramping are chamomile and lemon balm. Both can be found as teas or taken as capsules or liquid extracts.
Stress reduction techniques, such as yoga, breathing, massage therapy, shiatsu, and aromatherapy, are necessary.

Other tips:

drink enough water 5 tips
don't suppress the urge to have a bowel movement

Most commonly constipation is caused by a lack of fibre, insufficient fluid intake and a slow transit time. Increase your intake of water, herbal teas, raw fruit and vegetables, cooked grains such as brown rice, quinoa and millet, sprouted pulses, flax seeds. Avoid meat, dairy, wheat, eggs, refined carbohydrates and sugar.
An ayurvedic herbal remedy called triphala is considered a gentle laxative that can be used on a longer term basis, unlike some of the more harsh, habit-forming alternatives. Triphala is a combination of three fruit, one of which is amla, a fruit naturally high in vitamin C. Triphala improves bowel tone strengthening digestion, and enhances liver and gallbladder function. It is used for constipation, detox, and a broad range of conditions. Triphala is contraindicated in people with chronic liver or kidney disease, pregnant or nursing women, and people taking blood-thinning medication. It is found in capsule form at the health food store.

If increasing fiber and water intake worsens constipation, the problem may be insuffient bile output. This is because bile makes stools soft by allowing water to bind to stools. Nutritional supplements choline, methionine, and artichoke all increase bile output, but it's important to see a doctor before trying any treatments to identify the cause of the decreased bile output.

Constipation can also be caused by the following underlying conditions:
magnesium deficiency
Parkinson's disease
multiple sclerosis
colon cancer
side effects of medications - most common are antidepressants and codeine
If comstipation occurs suddenly, see a doctor immediately as it can be a sign of bowel obstruction, nerve paralysis, drug toxicity, infection, or other serious disorder.

Yellow Stool

Yellow stool can indicate that food is passing through the digestive tract relatively quickly. Yellow stool can be found in people with GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). Symptoms of GERD include heartburn, chest pain, sore throat, chronic cough, and wheezing. Symptoms are usually worse when lying down or bending. Foods that can worsen GERD symptoms include peppermint, fatty foods, alcohol, coffee, and chocolate.

Yellow stool can also result from insuffient bile output. Bile salts from the liver gives stool its brownish color. When bile output is diminished, it often first appears as yellow stool. If there is a greater reduction in bile output, stool lose almost all of its color, becoming pale or grey.

If the onset is sudden, yellow stool can also be a sign of a bacterial infection in the intestines.

Dark Stool

Stool that is almost black with a thick consistency may be caused by bleeding in the upper digestive tract. Medical conditions such as duodenal or gastric ulcer, esophageal varices, Mallory Weiss tear (which can be linked with alcoholism), and gastritis can cause tar-like stool.

Certain foods, supplements, and medications can temporarily turn stool black. These include:

Bismuth (e.g. Pepto bismol)
Activated charcoal
Aspirin and NSAIDS (which can cause bleeding in the stomach)
Dark foods such as black licorice and blueberries
Dark stool can also occur with constipation.

If you experience this type of stool, you should see your doctor as soon as possible.

Bright Red Stool

When there is blood in stool, the color depends on where it is in the digestive tract. Blood from the upper part of the digestive tract, such as the stomach, will look dark by the time it reaches exits the body as a bowel movement. Blood that is bright or dark red, on the other hand, is more likely to come from the large intestine or rectum.

Conditions that can cause blood in the stool include hemorrhoids, anal fissures, diverticulitis, colon cancer, and ulcerative colitis, among others.

Eating beets can also temporarily turn stools and urine red.

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