Last modified: November 27, 2018
Last modified: November 27, 2018
The gastrointestinal tract (mouth to anus) is on average 8 meters long. Each segment has its own important function to help you poo.
1. The Mouth – breaks down food into smaller bits and starts the digestive breakdown process with accompanying saliva.
2. The Stomach – Enhances the breakdown of food. Essentially this is like a washing machine -turning the stomach contents round and round in highly acidic fluid. (Well done for making it to here without laughing at ‘number 2…’)
3. The Small intestine – the longest part of your gut by far (6 meters long!). This is the major location of nutrient and vitamin absorption.
4. The Large bowel – the main location of water absorption and electrolyte (mineral) balance.
5. The Rectum – holds the poop before evacuation.
Have you ever wondered how much an average poop weighs?…200 grams! Someone, somewhere has actually calculated this…suddenly your job seems pretty great!
Most people have the same questions when it comes to poo: ‘What is normal?’ and ‘should I be going once a day?’. The technical and medically accepted answer to this is anything between 3 times a day to 3 times a week.
Having said this, medics try to avoid defining what is “normal” all together. The question they will ask you is; “what’s normal for you?” , because all humans are weird and wonderfully unique.
What’s key in this context is regularity and consistency. Here’s an example to help explain; if you poop 2 times a week, and you have always pooped 2 times a week since you can remember, then this regularity is nothing to be concerned about. The most important thing to notice is any change in bowel habit. For example, if you used to poop once a day and now you poop once every 4 days, or vice versa.
When there is a significant change that continues for more than a week or two it is always best to discuss with your GP. However, in extreme cases, if you’re going to the toilet 15 times a day and people have started rushing into the streets shouting “Run! It’s Godzilla!”– then maybe don’t wait a full week…
This is the Bristol Stool Chart. It is a visual aid designed to categorise the form of human faeces into seven classes. If you weren’t exited to talk about poo before, we know you are now! Type 4 is the ideal poop you want to have; Like A Smooth, Soft Sausage or Snake , now doesn’t that just sound dreamy?
Poo can sometimes come in different colours depending on what you are eating. In the medical world 3 colours/ shades are what we are interested in; black poop, red poop and pale poop.
Black poop: Formed as a result of digested red blood cells. This usually indicates bleeding into digestive tract above the level of the small intestine.
Red poop (if there is blood in your poop): Red blood is from lower down in the digestive tract (large intestine to rectum).
Pale poop: Suggests a problem with digestion of food and is usually accompanied by the poop being stick, floaty (hard to flush down) and more smelly.
If any of the above resemble your poop then this should be discussed with your doctor for further investigation.
Transit times are the time it takes between food entering your mouth and leaving you. In females, on average, this takes around 48 hours. This is usually a few hours faster in men.
Of course this is all highly dependent on what you eat. Some of you reading this may be thinking – HA! This guy has never had a vindaloo, that’s more like 48 seconds!
However, food normally takes between 2-4 hours just to leave your stomach, let alone the additional traveling of a further 7 meters down to your butt. Having said this, we have all been there when you eat something and all of a sudden you bolt towards the toilet as if you’re being chased by a pack of hungry lions. This happens because of the stimulant effect of the food that’s sitting in your stomach, certain nutrients in food will be absorbed quickly in the stomach, which in turn stimulates the rest of your bowel to become more active.
There are a few key tips which can help you drop the kids off at the pool.
1 – Hydration: Try to drink at least 1.5 litres of water (six to eight cups) per day.
2- Position on the toilet: yes it’s true, how you are sitting on the toilet will actually help you improve your pooping technique! If you can replicate the position highlighted in the chart above you’ll be an Olympic gold medalist in pooping any day now- it’s good to have goals. This almost squat like position straightens out the anal canal and allows for a clear path to the exit.
3 – Fibre intake: The essential thing with fibre is to achieve a fine balance. You should eat the recommended 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day. It is also crucial to eat whole grains e.g. wheat, corn, rice, oats, barley, quinoa, spelt and rye. However, whilst it is important to include all of these items in your daily diet it is just as important not to over indulge in them, as too much fibre can lead to an increase in bloating and discomfort.
4 – Exercise: Yes, doing exercise makes a difference too! If you want to shift the load then often you have to be the one to get things moving. Inactivity is a major contributing factor to constipation.
5 – Don’t rush: Keep calm and carry on. Straining can damage the delicate anal passage tissue leading to haemorrhoids, nobody wants that, so take it easy.
If you poop more, does it help you lose weight?
No- by the time your poop is formed, all the nutrients that were going to be absorbed, have been.
Are colonic cleanses good for you?
Human beings have pooped for hundreds of thousands of years by themselves. The notion that colonic cleansing is detoxifying, cleansing or good for your health is totally false and is NOT recommended.
Do women really poo?
Yes – and they love talking about it too apparently!
Now this is all over and dung with, we just wanted to say we hope you enjoyed reading this, most likely whilst you were sitting on the toilet.
You’re now the Grand Poo-Bah of this topic and hopefully we’ve made it less of a taPoo discussion!
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