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What is a "Normal" Bowel Movement?
I ask the same question in every new exam…
“How many bowel movements do you have each day? Do you notice mucus, blood, diarrhea, or constipation?”
Faeces, faeces, faeces, faeces, faeces, manure, BM, #2, dung, faeces and bowel contents are all the same. I use all of these terms because sometimes my clients don’t know what feces or feces are. If I can’t communicate with my customers, I can’t help them.
Feces contain water, undigested fiber, undigested food, intestinal cells, live and dead bacteria, bile, and worn-out red blood cells. A normal stool should be brown to light brown, formed but not hard or too soft, cylindrical but not flattened on either side, fairly bulky and full-bodied but not compact, easy to pass and not strongly foul-smelling. Each bowel movement should be in one piece, the size and shape of a banana at the end. Sometimes, if the faeces break in the toilet, it will not be noticed. Some people think that if the body absorbs all the minerals from the food, the stool will float. Others believe that the stool should sink. I think the important thing is that the stool doesn’t have air bubbles and doesn’t fall down the toilet like a brick. It should be somewhere in between.
Occasional deviations from this pattern are acceptable. Any chronic deviation from the above pattern is not healthy and should be acted upon.
It’s amazing how many people don’t look at their poop in the toilet. It is very important. Stools can reveal a lot about your health if you learn to read them. Digestion takes place. It’s a shame some of us can’t talk about them without embarrassment. For example:
o Air or bubbles in the stool may mean that there is an imbalance in your gut or flora and that gas-causing bacteria are overgrown and competing with healthy flora.
o Irritable bowel syndrome, food allergies, red meat, spices, sugar, alcohol, stress, lack of fiber, irregular bowel habits can cause alternating bouts of diarrhea and constipation.
o Color: Faeces are usually the color of food.
o Constipation may occur due to the effect of–presence of large amounts of stool in the rectum. Constipation is usually the result of poor bowel habits, a diet that is too low in liquid and starch, too much protein, and insufficient physical activity.
o Diarrhea, acute or chronic, can disrupt the normal bowel rhythm and cause irregularity. This could mean that your large intestine is not working properly. The function of the large intestine is to remove excess water from the stool. Irregularities can include food poisoning, lactose intolerance, anxiety, stress, too many antacids, antibiotics, parasites such as Giardia or Coccidia, Balantidia, Coccidoidiomycosis or other parasites, viruses, bacterial overgrowth, inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome. A healthy bowel will take about one-and-a-half quarters of the time, and it will thicken up to 1 cup of stool. That’s pretty amazing.
o Frank red blood (obvious bright red bleeding) can be a sign of hemorrhoids, colitis, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, colon cancer, or can be caused by impacted stool passing through the rectum, which means you need to drink more water.
o Horrible smelly stools–too much protein, flora imbalance.
o If the stool is black, tarry and sticky (called melena), it means bleeding from the small intestine. This type of stool usually has a specific odor. If you’ve ever smelled a dog with Parvo, Corona or Rotavirus, you know what I mean.
o Light green stools–too much sugar, fruit or vegetables and not enough grains or salt (or in the case of animals, too much grass) can indicate diverticulitis and intestinal inflammation due to mucosal allergies or parasites.
o Oily or greasy-looking stools that often float and can be large may mean that your pancreas or small intestine is not working well enough and not releasing enough digestive enzymes. Normal stool is about 1% fat. When this percentage increases to about 7%, the stool will appear oily and greasy. This is called steatorrhea. A high-fat meal can cause this, but it should be temporary.
o Pale or clay-colored stools may mean your gallbladder or liver is not working properly.
o Pencil-thin or ribbon-like stools may mean you have a polyp or growth on the inside of the colon or rectum.
o Presence of food: If the stool breaks up easily and you see bits and pieces of the food you ate, you may not be chewing your food well enough. This can cause GERD, acid reflux, bloating and diarrhea.
o Red or crimson colored stools– consumption of beets.
o Very dark stools: too much red wine, too much salt in diet, not enough vegetables. Blueberries, Pepto Bismol (bismuth in it) and iron tablets can also be responsible for dark stools.
Good bowel habits not only improve quality of life, but they also help prevent many common diseases–for example, diverticulitis and fecal impaction. Gallstones, appendicitis, colon cancer, hiatal hernia, diabetes and heart disease are also related to the quality of bowel movements and the foods that affect them.
Number of bowel movements: A healthy bowel movement is considered to be one or two medium-sized movements per day. Having a bowel movement every other day or even once or twice a week can harm you because the contents of the bowel release toxins back into the body through the mucous membrane. You want to keep that trash rolling!
Fecal incontinence (uncontrollable diarrhea) should be managed by a professional. Often with this particular symptom (and irritable bowel syndrome) I pick up an intestinal parasite. A bottle or two of pathogen nosode drops often do an excellent job of clearing up these cases.
Healthy Bowel Habits:
There is a time of day when a bowel movement is most likely. In anticipation of this time, the patient should participate in activities that stimulate normal bowel movements. It is also important for the patient to recognize the urge to defecate and respond promptly to that urge. The longer stool sits in the rectum, the more water the rectum absorbs from it, making it harder and harder to pass.
In the morning there is a strong urge to defecate: just getting up causes a large bowel movement. It also sends signals when the stomach expands after a meal. This gastrocolic reflex causes many people, especially children, to need to go to the bathroom immediately after eating. The reflex weakens with age, which is one of the causes of constipation, and good and consistent bowel habits are helpful.
Laxatives: Some patients are so sure they need laxatives every day that they are afraid to do without them. It takes time for a changed diet to affect the gut and for the gut to regain its normal rhythm. Be patient. An enema is a good solution.
Healthy bowel movements require plenty of fluids and plenty of food. The patient should drink two to three quarts of fluid daily. A large number of unprocessed foods are available. Some examples of high-residue, high-fiber foods are oat bran, wheat bran, brown rice, green vegetables, apples, and pears.
Some patients will benefit from adding a large preparation of psyllium, but others find that psyllium causes excessive gas production. For these people, adding whole flax seeds (eat them without chewing them) and bran will help. And a single 8-ounce cup of coffee in the morning helps people have regular bowel movements.
Natural laxatives include:
o Anti-constipation paste
o DSS (Dioctyl Sodium Sulfosuccinate)
o Glycerin suppositories
o Nature’s Sunlight LBS II (Excellent)
o Oil enema
o Prune juice
o Saline cleanses
Fleet enemas are only used for people and dogs. They are very poisonous to cats and can kill them. It’s fine to use occasionally, but the other enemas we’re talking about are better for healing purposes.
Soap suds enemas can be a bit harsh on the bowel. Use it only occasionally if necessary
A few tips on changing gut bacteria: A healthy lower intestine contains billions of beneficial gut bacteria, or microflora. These bacteria belong to the Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus bifidus strains and are transferred to our intestines through breast-feeding as newborns. The body uses L. acidophilus and L. bifidus in the final stages of digestion to reproduce as needed to maintain overall harmony with the body.
When good bacteria can’t survive, bad bacteria overpopulate the gut causing an imbalance of gut flora that leads to lower bowel disease, gas, diarrhea, IBS and Crohn’s. The devastating effects of harmful bacteria in the gut are rarely diagnosed near the onset of this imbalance. Headaches, skin infections, weakness and constipation can also be symptoms of gut bacteria.
What causes gut flora imbalance?
o Toxins, especially drugs such as antibiotics and narcotics.
o Severe diarrhea can damage or destroy these beneficial bacteria, causing the harmful bacteria to produce by-products such as ammonia, purines, and ethionine, which can ultimately lead to colon cancer.
o Fasting can also reduce beneficial bacteria because large amounts of toxins are released from the lymph glands into the colon during fasting. Also during fasting, with certain diets and eating disorders, there is a lack of foods that grow good bacteria.
o Using enemas also reduces beneficial bacteria, especially if chlorinated water is used.
To reestablish intestinal bacteria, perform two enemas with liquid acidophilus or live acidophilus. These products should be stored in the refrigerator. Off-the-shelf products are not as effective at changing gut flora. You can also mix two tablespoons of active plain yogurt and one tablespoon of liquid acidophilus into your enema mix. Add some warm water, but do not heat the mixture or use chlorinated water. After mixing the mixture, pour it into the enema bag. Use less water for this type of enema (only 1-2 cups) and try to retain the liquid in the colon for ten minutes to allow beneficial bacteria to pass through the intestines. This process will ensure the proliferation of a healthy culture in the intestines.
You can also start adding L. acidophilus and L. bifidus to your diet a day or two before you break the fast. Use repeat doses once a week for about 5 weeks according to bottle instructions.
FOS (Fructooligosaccharides) are also good for re-establishing gut flora. These are long-chain sugars that feed on favorable plants. You can buy this concentrate in pill form or eat lots of apples, Jerusalem artichokes or pears. These foods are high in FOS.
Well… that’s the scoop on poop. (Some people take things too seriously.)
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