Poop and Gut Health: What Your Toilet is Trying to tell You

Talking about poop and gut health is a dirty job…but somebody’s gotta do it. Since we analyze poop for gut health through our microbiome testing program, we guess we should break the ice. Poop and gut health go together like a flusher on a toilet. The flusher communicates to the toilet to get rid of the waste. Meanwhile, your poop is a way for your gut biome to talk to you about the bad intestinal flora that may be brewing in the system.

When you use the bathroom, you might not like to look in the toilet. Please get over that awkward feeling and start taking a peek. Your poop and gut health are closely intertwined. By looking in the toilet, you can figure out what your gut biome is trying to tell you.

Poop and Gut Health: What’s the Connection?

There may be no clearer indicator of what’s going on in our gut biome than our poop.

poop and gut health
Everybody poops

Feces are semi-solid materials that the small intestine couldn’t digest.

They move over to the large intestine so the body can reabsorb any water or last-minute potential nutrients.

What’s left in this waste are solid particles that our body considers useless or potentially harmful.

These particles serve no beneficial purpose and are to be removed from the system.

What to Look for When Examining Poop in Toilet?

Since this waste is leaving the system, it’s a good habit to take a look at it before flushing. These particles were in your body. Therefore, others like them may still be present in the system.

No need to go too wild in there!

Furthermore, your waste is covered in a mucus-like substance. Your body does this to help with gastrointestinal distress when using the restroom. However, this sticky coating will also bind other organisms and microbes from your colon.

Since everyone’s gut biome is different, a lot of people will have a different looking stool.

When you examine your feces, look for:

  • Shape
  • Color

Both of these characteristics are very telling of what’s going on in your gut biome. In some instances, alterations to how your poop looks can be fleeting. Other times, it may be a result of a gastrointestinal disease. Let’s explore the differences.

What Influences How Your Feces Looks?

Our feces is as ever-changing as the microbes in our gut and the relationship status of Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth. Therefore, you should always keep a close on what’s going on inside. To do this, simply look in the toilet after you go.

red wine gut health
Warning: May dye insides!

When you notice a change, take note of the shape and color.

Then, think of what you ate and drank in the last couple of days.

For instance, too much red wine or beets can turn your stool into a redder hue.

Don’t let this alarm you. However, if these symptoms last more than a few days, you should contact a doctor who specializes in GI issues.

What Color Should Your Stool Be?

The perfect poop and gut health ratio sees brown stool with a reddish hue.

poop and gut health
Not feelin’ great?

Feces is comprised of two main components:

  • Bile
  • Bilirubin

These two have two distinct influences on how our poop looks. When they come together, they create the familiar brown hue that we associate with good gut health.

Bile

Bile is secreted by the liver to aid with digestion. It also helps ease gastrointestinal distress when going number two. When you change a newborn’s diaper, you may notice the yellowish-green hue of the feces. That’s because their gut biome is mostly liquids and bile. Bile is what gives their runny waste its off-putting color.

Bilirubin

Bilirubin is a yellow compound that is excreted by bile. The purpose of the yellow compound is to help remove dead red blood cells from the system. By collecting the red cells, yellow bilirubin, and olivish bile, healthy feces will appear predominantly brown.

Poop and Gut Health: What Do Different Colors Mean?

We already told you that a healthy gut biome would produce brown waste. However, your feces can end up several different colors in your lifetime. If you see these changes in hues, please contact your physician.

What Does Green Poop Mean?

Green might be an unsightly color in the toilet, but don’t get too alarmed. Usually, green-tinted poop means you ate too quickly. Your intestines didn’t have enough time to break down the food, and the bile didn’t get to add much bilirubin to the mix.

Furthermore, green poop might just mean you ate a lot of greens. Greens get their distinct color from chlorophyll. Our body has a difficult time digesting this plant-based molecule. Therefore, undigested chlorophyll will give our poop a Grinch-like makeover. Oh, too much green beer on St. Patty’s Day might do it to you, too!

What Does Yellow Poop Mean?

Yellow poop tends to indicate too much fat in your diet. We’re not talking healthy fats like monounsaturated fats and omega-3s. Instead, we’re talking high levels of animal muscle and dairy.

If you have yellow poop, try laying off of some of these foods:

Ultimate Guide to Weight Gut Axis
Learn More: Ultimate Guide to Gut-Weight-Axis

Another common side effect of yellow poop is a foul smell. This stench is an indicator of malabsorption [1].

As a result, you may be suffering from any of the following:

  • Acid Reflux and GERD
  • Celiac Disease
  • Gallbladder Disorder
  • Liver Disorder
  • Steatorrhea
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

As you can see, pooping isn’t just about relieving gastrointestinal distress. It’s your organs, cells, and tissues’ way of eliminating toxins from the system. Otherwise, it can be a recipe for disaster.

Celiac Disease and Steatorrhea

We want to touch base on steatorrhea real quick. This is a condition caused by elevated levels of fats in the system. Some research shows that steatorrhea may be caused by celiac disease.

According to Celiac.org,

“In classical celiac disease, patients have signs and symptoms of malabsorption, including diarrhea, steatorrhea (pale, foul-smelling, fatty stools), and weight loss or growth failure in children [2].

Celiac.org

If you have yellow stool, start an elimination diet immediately. Then, contact your physician.

What Does Black Poop Mean?

Black poop and gut health can be a significant cause of concern. Typically, it means you are suffering from internal bleeding.

Therefore, black poop may be an indicator of:

In some cases, medications may cause black tar-like stool. Other times, black poop may be a result of too much dark red wine. If you are concerned, please don’t hesitate to contact your doctor for a checkup.

What Does Blood-Red Poop Mean?

While normal poop may have a reddish tint, be alarmed if you see blood-red feces. Black poop means the bleeding happened a while ago and has oxidized a little. Red poop means the blood is fresher.

For one, red blood may be from diarrhea. Going too often can cause you to wipe too hard, creating an irritation in the anus. Constipation can also cause this because chronic gastrointestinal distress may lead to hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are prone to bleeding.

Slow down! Enjoy your food!

Even less worrisome, the red blood may be a result of eating too fast. Since the food particles were too big and pushed through the large intestine quickly, it may have caused some temporary damage. Luckily, our system heals quickly and bounces back.

However, a worst-case scenario is that red poop means cancer. If you see red poop in the toilet and didn’t eat too fast or have too much wine, please contact a physician. Otherwise, wait a day or two. If the color remains the same, please seek treatment.

What Does White Poop Mean?

White poop is a red flag. Seeing white feces in the toilet means the body is lacking bile. Bile is essential for breaking down food and absorbing nutrients. Therefore, you may have an underlying problem going on.

If you see white stool, it might mean your liver or gallbladder is failing. You may also be suffering from a clog in the bile duct [3].

As explained by the Mayo Clinic,

“This tube can be squeezed shut or blocked — for example, by a tumor or a gallstone — which prevents the bile from entering the small intestine.”

Mayo Clinic

White poop and gut health don’t exactly mix.

Health issues and GI problems associated with white poop include:

  • Abdominal Pain
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Itching
  • Jaundice

In best-case scenarios, white stool may be a side effect of some medications. However, it’s best to err on the side of caution. When you see white poop, please contact a physician.

Poop and Gut Health: Shape of Stool

Color of poop isn’t the only gut health indicator in the toilet. You can also tell what’s going on by looking at its shape and texture. Here are a couple of structural factors to look out for in the toilet.

Poop Shape for a Healthy Gut

Those who follow a healthy gut diet plan rich in lean protein, complex carbs, and leafy greens should have a typical shape to their feces.

Either they’re:

  • A Solid Lump with Cracks
  • Couple of Smooth Rod-Shape Pieces
  • Multiple Soft-Edged Blobs

All of these textures appear soft and are easy to pass through the digestive tract. You aim to have brown colored stool that resembles these shapes for optimal gut health.

Poop Shape for Constipation

If you are feeling constipated, the feces you do pass tend to be small pellets. They are usually dark and look very solid. In addition, removing them from the system doesn’t manage to relieve your gastrointestinal distress.

bathroom sick
No the best feeling

As constipation goes away, the shape may start to look more like the solid lump with cracks description mentioned in the poop shape for a healthy gut section above.

The most notable difference is that those who still suffer from some symptoms of constipation will have more rigorously outlined clumps in their large stool formation.

If you are feeling constipated, eat plenty of soluble fiber. However, insoluble fiber will ease symptoms of constipation even more. Insoluble fiber draws in water. These gut health foods will add more liquid to your stool, making it easier to pass.

Poop Shape for Diarrhea

If you have diarrhea, your poop has a lot of liquid in it. Therefore, you probably have either fluffy and mushy droppings or complete brown liquid. In these cases, add soluble fiber to the menu to bring some bulk to our waste.

Poop and Gut Health: Microbiome Testing

Poop is so crucial to gut health that we use it to conduct a gut health test. We use those results to formulate personalized probiotics unique to your gut biome. That way, you can fight off the harmful bacteria that may be triggering episodes of constipation and diarrhea.

How Gut Health Tests Work

The way it works is simple. We send you an at-home gut test kit. Just use one of the sterile swabs we send to collect a small sample from your toilet paper. That’s right, no toilet diving!

Gut Test
Everything You Need to Take a Gut Test At Home

Swirl the swab in the vial of preservative liquid we also provide. Place that in the mailer we give you. For national residents, the postage is covered. International customers, some rates may apply.

Once we receive your sample, we use mRNA sequencing to determine which gut bacteria are in your microbiome. From there, we formulate a personalized probiotics supplement tailored to your digestive system. We then work with you to craft a healthy gut diet plan to feed the beneficial bacteria…and keep our stool looking good, too!

Thryve Probiotics Gut Health

Resources

[1] Shiftko, Robert. “What Are the Causes of Yellow Stools?” LIVESTRONG.COM, Leaf Group, www.livestrong.com/article/128411-causes-yellow-stools/.

[2] “Symptoms of Celiac Disease.” Celiac Disease Foundation, celiac.org/about-celiac-disease/symptoms-of-celiac-disease/.

[3] “White Stool: Should I Be Concerned?” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 18 Nov. 2017, www.mayoclinic.org/white-stool/expert-answers/faq-20058216.