.....ps I have spared you all...no **graphic** photos!
To start, lets talk about normal poo. First, everyone's poo is different. Some people go three times a day (yes, not kidding) and some every three days. Chances are, you know your "normal". As long as your are consistent, there is usually nothing to worry about. Now, if you typically go 2 times a day like clockwork, and haven't been in 3 days, that is probably abnormal for you. Normal consistency is soft (but still "formed") and should come out with relative ease. Color should be pale brown to dark brown.
Okay, now that we have the basics down..lets get dirty.
Hard, lumpy poo typically means that you may not be drinking enough fluids (dehydrated) or eating enough fiber, or both. Also, hard lumpy poo is usually harder to come out, making you strain (which can cause hemorrhoids). If you notice this, try increasing the fiber in your diet (whole grains, raisins, fruits) and drinking more water. Normally, you should be able to sit down, and have the poo come right out, without any problem.
As far as the "sinkers" and the "floaters" debate, more often than not, if your poo is floating, you are eating too much fat. Sometimes the floaters are causes by A LOT of fiber or gas. Usually, if its floating, you can trace back what you ate and find the reason. There is still a lot of debate on this ....very interesting topic. :)
Things that ALWAYS need to be checked by a doctor:
1. Blood in the stool. This comes in a few different forms. Bright red blood is obvious. Also, black, tarry stool is typically blood from higher up in the intestines that has been digested. This is just as important as bright red blood. (NOTE! Pepto Bismol, iron pills, and licorice causes black poo, so be on the lookout!)
|It was this flavor, in particular.|
3. VERY pale/ almost white poo. Unless you just drank barium for a CT scan, this is not normal and may be because of a lack of bile, possibly from an obstruction higher up in the intestines.
4. Pencil-thin stools. I'm talking REALLY skinny stools. This is *usually* not normal. Sometimes, this can signify a lesion in the colon that is not allowing a lot of poo to "pass through" at once.
So what can you do to keep your colon healthy? First, be aware of YOUR "normals". Two, if you have any concerns at all, talk to your doctor. Finally, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE get a screening colonoscopy at 50 (or sooner if need be because of family history).
Keep your poo happy and healthy!