I'm a gut doctor – here's what the shape of your poo REALLY means and when it's a danger sign | The Sun
WE Brits hate to talk about our poop habits.
Although, looking at your poo can be a great way to monitor your health.
The shape and size of your number twos are dictated by your gut, which is another name for your digestive system.
Scientists have found that maintaining good gut heath can reduce your risk of illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s.
Dr Nigma Talib, a naturopathic doctor and gut expert, has revealed in an a viral TikTok video what the shape of your poops really say about your gut health.
Roundish poops tend to small and difficult to pass.
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And according to Dr Nigma, these can be a sign you're getting too much protein and not enough fibre in your diet.
Protein itself is one of three different kinds of macronutrients that are essential for building muscle mass.
The NHS suggests healthy adults need 0.8-1g of protein per kilogram of body weight.
For example, a 60kg adult would need 48-60g per day.
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Protein is found mostly in animal products although it can also be found in nuts and legumes.
Some of the most common sources protein are meat, poultry, seafood, beans, peas, eggs, processed soy products, nuts and seeds.
But there is such a thing as too much protein.
In recent years, protein has surged in popularity in the western world,as a weight-loss and muscle building aid. Therefore many people consume much more that the recommended daily amount in a bid to improve their physique.
Studies have shown people that eat very high protein diets have a higher risk of kidney stones.
Also a high protein diet that contains lots of red meat and higher amounts of saturated fat might lead to a higher risk of heart disease and bowel cancer.
Government guidelines say our dietary fibre intake should be 30g a day, as part of a healthy balanced diet.
According to the NHS, most adults are only eating an average of about 20g day.
Eating plenty of fibre is associated with a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and bowel cancer.
Some good sources of fibre include: wholegrain breakfast cereals, wholewheat pasta, wholegrain bread and oats, barley and rye.
A floating poop isn't always a sigh of something serious.
It could, for instance, just mean that your body has too much gas, Dr Nigma explained.
This can happen after eating certain foods high in fibre, like broccoli, beans, and lentils.
But a floater can also be a sign of a lack of bile, a fluid made by the body to help with digestion.
Bile acid deficiency can stop the body absorbing essential vitamins, including A, D, E and K.
A floating poop can also be a sign there is too much fat in it, the expert said. This can be a symptom of celiac disease, a condition where your immune system attacks your own tissues when you eat gluten.
According to Guts UK, around in 100 people have the disease.
‘Caterpillar’-shaped stools mean you are dehydrated and may be suffering from constipation.
These poops look like lots of small round poops stuck together – and are usually quite uncomfortable to pass.
Dehydration is a common cause of constipation.
When a person becomes dehydrated, their intestines cannot add enough water to stools, leaving them dry and hard.
The NHS recommend that we drink six to eight glasses of water per day.
Next up is the ‘porridge poop’, which Dr Nigma says is evidence of infection.
This is when the poop is runny but is not entirely liquid.
If it lasts no more than a few days, it is likely from a common virus or stomach bug.
If it lasts for just a day, the doctor said it can also be a sign of a food intolerance or anxiety.
Too much magnesium, either from diet or medications, could also lead to diarrhoea, as well as stomach cramps and vomiting, she said.
A particularly graphic one is the ‘mucous poop’, which tend to be coloured with white or yellow streaks.
These types of poops can be an indicator of Crohn’s disease,
Crohn's disease is a bowel condition that can cause inflammation anywhere in the digestive tract.
Asides from mucous-y poop, the condition can causes diarrhea, malnutrition, blood in the stool, and abdominal pain, according to the NHS.
Over 500,000 people in the UK have Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), the two main forms of which are Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis
A stool type she nicknames the ‘hot-dog sausage’, Dr Nigma said is the “perfect” poo.
These can look log shaped with some cracks on the service.
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They should also be somewhat soft and easy to pass.
You may notice slight changes on a day to day basis, but more drastic changes in your bowel movements are a red flag sign for bowel cancer so make sure you see a doctor.
Normal for you
When it comes to going for a number two, plenty of people aren’t really sure what’s normal.
Keeping an eye on what's 'normal' for you though is crucial, as is being aware of the signs and symptoms of bowel cancer.
The five red-flag symptoms of bowel cancer include:
- Bleeding from the back passage, or blood in your poo
- A change in your normal toilet habits – going more frequently for example
- Pain or a lump in your tummy
- Extreme tiredness
- Losing weight
If you notice any changes to your usual habits, don't be embarrassed, speak to your GP.
And if you are eligible for a bowel cancer testing kit, make sure to do on.
The Sun launched the No Time 2 Lose campaign in April 2018 – to call on the Government to lower the bowel cancer screening age to 50 and raise symptom awareness.
As a result, people in their 50s started to be invited for screening last year.
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