How to Tell Whether Your Bowel Changes are Normal or Not

Talking about poo is certainly not the most glamorous topic to discuss but it’s definitely one that many of us should be aware of. The truth is that our bowel movements aren’t just an innocuous part of our day-to-day function – they actually reveal a lot about our overall health and what is going on inside our body.

While each person’s bowel movements will vary, it’s important to understand what is normal, what’s not and what you should be doing if something doesn’t seem quite right. Here’s how you can tell whether your bowel changes are healthy, or if your body is trying to tell you something…

What is a healthy-looking poo?

Healthy bowel movements don’t look exactly the same from person to person, but there are a few common characteristics between them. The perfect poo is;

  • Firm, moist and easily passed.
  • Brown in colour.
  • Frequent in action from few times a week to a few times a day.

If you’re unsure whether your stool is healthy or not, a great way to find out is by comparing it to the Bristol Stool Chart. Type 3-4 demonstrates healthy bowel movements, while 1-2 can indicate constipation and 5-7 may mean something is wrong.

How do you know if your poo is not normal?

If your bowel movements are continuously unusual, that doesn’t necessarily mean there is something urgently wrong. Unhealthy movements can indicate anything from an intolerance to certain foods in your diet, to a more concerning condition such as Crohns Disease.

Unhealthy poo may include the following characteristics:

  • Is hard or painful to pass.
  • Is hard and lumpy.
  • Is a colour other than brown.
  • A frequency of action that is greater than 3 times per day, or less than 3 times per week.
  • Sudden and unexplained changes in your poo

Stool that appears to be black, red and/or bloody, yellow or grey can be a sign of a more serious health issue, such as internal bleeding, an infection or a chronic illness. If you notice that your stool has any of these qualities, it’s important to see your doctor.

What to do if your bowel movements change over time

Changes in bowel movements can indicate health problems, which is why it’s important to be aware of any change and whether this is normal or not. While bowel movements can temporarily change based on what we’ve eaten, hydration and stress and on-going issues can mean something more.

If you notice unhealthy changes in your bowel movements for more than a few days, you should visit your doctor to rule out any urgent problems or conditions.

Worried about your bowel movements? Give us a call

Here at Sunshine Coast Dietetics, we can help you improve your bowel movements and live a healthy life. Our gut dietitians specialise in this area and will work with you to address any problems you might be having.

Give us a call today to find out more or to book an appointment with someone from our team.