We all do it, we all think about it, but rarely talk about it… Poop. Although the butt of many jokes (see what I did there), funny emojis and children’s humor, it’s important to know that poop is an important indicator of our digestive health. Let’s not be afraid to approach the subject of our poop, otherwise known as bowel movement (BM). Changes in our BMs indicate changes in digestion, diet, bacteria – good or bad, and even emotions.
If you struggle with digestion, you are not alone; 20% of the population struggles with constipation, about 180 million people each year suffer from acute diarrhea and 60-70 million people are diagnosed each year with a digestive disorder. An irregular BM schedule can be uncomfortable, frustrating and even affect daily activities such as sleep, work, exercise and social events. Not only is irregularity uncomfortable and inconvenient, it affects our overall health because 70% of the immune system is in our gut. Over 2,000 years ago, Hippocrates notably declared that ‘all disease begins in the gut’. As an integrative and functional certified practitioner, I believe this to be true. Digestion provides us the energy and raw material for daily development and function, which keeps us alive. Without proper digestion we cannot break down and absorb essential nutrients. Without a healthy digestive tract, our body loses its first defense against the outside world that is entering our bodies.
An easy first step in assessing digestion is by assessing our poop. Using the Bristol Stool Chart is the standard bowel movement assessment. Frequency should also be addressed. Ideally you are having one BM each day, up to 3 normal BMs. Fewer than 3 BMs per week may indicate constipation and more than 3 BMs per day may be too quick of a transit time.
The first approach for normalizing digestion and therefore BMs is to improve diet and lifestyle.
Maintaining a healthy digestive system is crucial for overall well being. By implementing the tips provided in this article, you can improve your gut health and establish a strong foundation for optimal health. If you require further guidance on nutrition, supplementation, or identifying food sensitivities, I would love to help you navigate your digestive patterns and lead you towards better gut health. Schedule a 15 minute complimentary session with me today.
Katie Di Lauro, RDN, IFNCP
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