Don’t Flush and Forget: What Your Bowels Say About Your Health

Yea, yea- let all of the immature giggles out 🙂 This may seem like a very personal conversation, and it is, but it is one you at least need to have with yourself. Since this is essentially an “exit strategy” that is directly related to what is going on in our bodies and serves as a direct indicator of our health. Appearance, color, and smell matter and can show you whether you are living your healthiest life, so look down before the flush people! If it is identified as any of the categories below, take note and chat with your doctor as-needed.

FREQUENCY is different for everyone, but one thing to look for is to pay attention to your normal routine for a week and then if you go too much or too little after that, you will have a better gauge on what is abnormal for you.

Pebble-like Poop or Very Thin, longer Poops

  • Dehydration and lack of fiber in the diet leads to these types. You may also not be expelling all that you need to at bathroom time.
    I know, the visual is rough, but this is a clear indicator you are not ingesting the recommended 25-35g of fiber per day. Also, drink half of your body weight in fluid ounces of water per day to stay hydrated.


  • This doesn’t always mean food poisoning or a stomach flu, it can also mean you have a food intolerance or a reaction to common artificial sweeteners and preservatives.
  • Eat an overall cleaner diet, make sure you have enough fiber in your day, and get checked for the common food intolerances if this happens several times/week. Having watery bathroom patterns can also dehydrate you overall and is not to be ignored.

Colored: black or red

  • Blood in the stool can indicate several different medical issues and is to be addressed with a doctor immediately.
    • Common causes for black, tar-like bowels include lack of iron or hemorrhoids. These issues can be unknown to you until symptoms appear.

It’s Painful to Poop

  • Commonly a symptom of constipation, but over-straining often can cause other problems. Magnesiuim can help loosen stools naturally as well as teas like dandelion, marshmallow, senna, and more.
    • If constipation with painful symptoms lasts more than 2 weeks, contact your doctor.
    • Note: constipation is also caused by a high fat, overly processed diet, as well as some prescribed medications.
  • FIX IT: Regular exercise, fiber, hydration can help constipation overall

Light Color

  • This can be an indicator of a blockage because your poop is collecting bile that lightens it in color. If it happens once, no worries. If it persists, there may be a need for a colon hydrotherapy treatment or medical assistance to identify any serious blockages.

Dang, That Smells!

  • An intense smelling bowel movement can be an indicator of your diet (onions, red wine, cruciferous veggies, asparagus, etc can make it smell more pungent.)
  • Typically, high fat also makes its way into the stool and causes a terrible aroma.
  • However, it can be a sign of digestive distress, trouble digesting fats overall, or celiac disease (gluten allergy)
  • Seek a doctor only if you cannot identify any dietary changes that coincide with the aroma change.

Mucous in your Bowels

Women with IBS or celiac tend to have a mucous-like consistency to their bowels. Unless already diagnosed, if it is common for you have this outcome, check in with your doctor.