10 Health Dangers to Watch for in Your Feces
The truth is, your stool can reveal a lot about your health.
The color and shape are particularly important to take note of. Did you know, for instance, that a healthy stool should be shaped like a brown torpedo and be soft and easy to pass?
If this doesn’t sound familiar, read on, as your poop could be trying to tell you something …
10 Dangers to Watch for in Your Stool
10. Pellet-Like Stools
This can mean you need to eat more fiber in your diet or can be a sign of constipation. But if you have pellet-shaped stool on a regular basis, it can also indicate diverticulosis, which leads to pockets forming in your colon (where the stool can get stuck and formed into pellets). This condition often progresses to diverticulitis, which is an inflammation of the colon “pockets.”
9. Pencil Thin Stool
If a tumor or polyp in your digestive tract grows large enough, it can reduce the diameter of your colon, leading to pencil thin stools. This can be a sign of colon cancer and should be checked out by your doctor immediately.
8. Watery Stools
Loose, watery stools, or diarrhea, affect nearly everyone from time to time and typically go away within a day or two. Most often, the cause is bacteria, parasites or viral infection (from contaminated food or water, for instance), and the watery stools is your body’s way of trying to rid your body of the toxins faster.
If your stool is watery for a longer period, such as a month or more, it could be a sign of irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn’s disease, and should be checked out by your doctor. Any persistent diarrhea deserves medical attention as it can quickly lead to serious dehydration, especially in children.
7. Greasy, Floating Stools
In most cases, floating stools are the result of dietary changes leading to excess gas, which allows the stool to float. But if the stool is also greasy, it can mean your body is not absorbing fat properly from your diet. This can be a sign of pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer, celiac disease or other conditions and warrants a trip to see your doctor.
6. Green Stool
A green-colored stool may occur if you eat a lot of spinach or consume certain medications (antibiotics) or iron supplements. It can also occur when bile is not digested properly and can be a sign of Crohn’s disease.
5. Black, Tarry Stool
Iron supplements can turn your stool a dark, black color, but if you’re not taking iron, it could be the result of a bleed in your stomach or upper gastrointestinal tract. See your doctor if your stool is black.
4. Clay-Colored Stool
If your stool is very pale in color, like light-colored clay, it can be a sign of blocked bile flow or liver disease, as it is bile from the liver that gives stools much of its brown color. This can also be the result of antacid use (particularly those that contain aluminum hydroxide).
3. Red Stool
If your stool is red, it’s often a sign of blood — the question is, from where? Most often, bright red blood in your stool is the result of hemorrhoids, straining, or small tears in anal tissue. But, it can also be the sign of something more serious, such as a lower GI bleed, diverticulosis, ulcers, ulcerative colitis, or rectal cancer, and should be evaluated.
2. Very Foul-Smelling Stool
All poop has an unpleasant odor, which is generally caused by the bacteria that ferments food in your intestines. But if your stool has a particularly bad odor, it can be a sign of parasitic infection (such as the giardia lamblia parasite, which also causes yellow, loose stools).
1. Yellow Stool
As mentioned, yellow diarrhea is often a sign of infection with the giardia lamblia parasite. It can also be a sign of improper bile digestion caused by gallbladder dysfunction.
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