Bowel movement is one of the most important clues about an individual’s health, as it gives a real idea of the gastrointestinal condition as well as overall health. One shall have to get familiar with the regular appearance of stool to spot the issues beforehand; however, the day to day alterations in the appearance does not mean that there is a problem with your health as one may notice short-term abnormalities based on what he or she is eating every day.
But in case an unexplained change lasts for over a week or so, it is a sign of some strange happening in the gastrointestinal tract.
- Hard pieces of faeces that are hard to pass: If the bowel movement is straining to pass, then the individual is constipated. Some people think that they are not suffering from constipation, but their stool is always hard and comes out in pieces rather than soft stool that passes out effortlessly. The most common reason behind such stool is a lack of fibre in the diet. According to general recommendations, an adult male must take at least 38 grams of fibre while an adult female must take about 25 grams of fibre. It is recommended to maintain a food journal to track the daily nutrients intake, and in case there is a lack of fibre in the diet, it can be stacked up with whole grains, fruits, beans and nuts.
- Black or bright red coloured poop: If the stool has a deep red appearance, it would indicate that a part of the bowel is bleeding. In most circumstances, the blood in the stool is caused by the benign haemorrhoids, but it could also be due to some ulcers in the colon or stomach or even cancer. That is why it is extremely crucial to bring it to the doctor’s notice. There are different types of over-the-counter medications which turn the stool into black colour. This sort of discolouration is entirely temporary and may stay along for a few days even after stopping the medicine.
- A loose stool which is not diarrhoea: Loose stool but not diarrhoea may mean that the individual is suffering from celiac disease. Although the illness is quite uncommon, most people who suffer from it are not aware of the condition. The appearance of the stool is the largest and most reliable signs of having celiac disease. Individuals affected with celiac disease are not able to tolerate gluten, and it destroys the villi in the lining of the small intestine. As a result, the nutrients are unabsorbed, and the stool becomes loose. Switching to a gluten-free diet for about 2 to 3 weeks can aid in alleviating the disease.
If the appearance of the stool remains abnormal for weeks together, it is important to talk to a doctor to find out if there is something serious underlying. Bowel movement is the truest sign of the intestinal health, and thus, should not be ignored.