What does your poo say about you?
Well, it says an awful lot actually.
TCM makes use of bowel movement as an important diagnostic tool, amongst many other tools they utilize.
Whilst it’s not the rosiest topic in the world, it is an important one; getting to know your body and what it’s saying is a giant advantage for your proactive health.
TCM Dr. Peter Haxell has written a mini dictionary, to better help us figure out what’s going on inside.
Let’s talk: Frequency.
What: 3-4 x per day diarrhoea or loose stools.
- Heat: can be due to heat affecting the gallbladder,
- Cold: or cold fluids damaging digestive function.
- If there is heat- essentially inflammation affecting the gallbladder it stimulates the release of bile into the digestive tract. In excessive amounts bile will draw excess fluid into the intestines and colon due to salts within bile itself that help the digestion of fats. Depending on the severity it can cause, watery hot and explosive bowel motions or warm and loose, particularly smelly bowel movements and is often caused by eating too many processed fats or fatty and rich foods such as fast food (burgers, pizza, deep fried food) and pork, lamb etc. Often associated with temple headaches, heartburn and reflux, skin breakouts (pimples etc).
- When there is an excessive intake of cold food and fluids- think icy drinks, cold water, raw foods such as salads and smoothies this can damage the function of the stomach and intestines, and they have to expend additional energy to warm food and fluids before the digestive process can begin. Food and fluids then reach the colon not properly digested or metabolised, causing loose and even watery or sticky bowel movements. Often associated with tiredness and bloating after food, sensation of heaviness and nausea
Let’s talk: Constipation.
What: 1 stool every 2-7 days:
- Heat: can be due to heat in the intestines causing dryness, phlegm.
- Damp: damp obstructing the flow of stool through the colon, or stress impeding with digestive function.
- Dryness: This can arise due to a lack of fluids- ie dehydration by not drinking enough water, or by there being excess heat or inflammation in the digestive tract causing stool to dry out and become hard to pass
- Dampness: Digestive function is weak so food and fluids aren’t being transformed and transported through the body. Food then passes through the gut more slowly, and the stool will be sticky once passed
Any of the above resonate with you?
If so, things may not be all that hunky dory inside your body.
Well then, how should your bowel movements be? What do healthy bowel movements look like?
TCM. Dr. Peter Haxell elaborates;
Let’s talk: Regularity.
Ideally your bowel pattern should be regular and occur at roughly the same time each day, without pain or discomfort. For example is there BM upon waking? If there is urgency and the stool is soft or watery this is indicative of a weakness with the small intestine.
Regularity and pain/discomfort free is a great sign.
Let’s talk: Consistency.
It’s time to turn around and take a peak. Because what your stool looks like is key to knowing again, what’s going on inside your gut.
If your stools appear firm or dry, this could indicate excess heat in the stomach and intestines. This causes the drying out the stool.
If your stools appear loose in nature, then this could indicate gallbladder heat or digestive weakness.
If your stools are in small pieces, like sheep droppings to get a visual, this indicates signs of dysfunction with the Liver, usually due to stress.
At the end of the day, we would blow up if we didn’t go to the bathroom. Obviously not blow up, but you know what we mean. We are human therefore we defecate.
So, turn around, get to know what’s happening inside your body. It may not be pretty, but it’s incredibly important!
Yours in real talk,