Everyone poops, but no one talks about it. But while shutting down all potty talk may keep the conversation civil, it also means we’re missing out on something valuable to protect our health.
Your stool can tell you whether you’re eating enough fiber, drinking enough water, or whether your digestive system is processing food too slowly or too quickly. Also, long-term changes in bowel habits or the appearance of stools can be signs of a medical condition that requires treatment.
Read on to find out what your poop can tell you, how to easily interpret it, and why it’s worth talking about. After dinner, pause to share the details of your latest bowel movement. After all, there must be some limits.
Stool Health 101: What’s Normal?
After going to the bathroom, look back. Based on what you see, are you wondering: Is my poop normal? Do I have healthy poop?
There’s a lot of variety in what’s normal. Just like everyone poops, poop is different. And your poop may not be exactly the same every day. However, there are some general characteristics of “normal poop”.
A normal stool size is at least a few inches, ideally 4 to 8 inches. Small poop is not good. Unless you’re a rabbit, deer, or other wild animal, don’t pellet poop.
People use a lot of different terms when talking about intestinal worms. But in terms of accuracy, comparing a stool to a log is probably the closest.
The healthiest stool shape is a long cylinder. If the stool takes a different shape, it indicates that something is happening in the digestive system.
Firmness or consistency of stool
Your stool should be between hard and soft. Fortunately, you can tell just by looking at it — no touch test required. If your poop is a well-shaped log and wasn’t too hard to squeeze, it’s probably the right consistency.
What is normal stool color? Normal poop is brown and can range in color from tan to espresso. Brown color is usually associated with bile and bilirubin.
Bile is a yellow-green fluid produced by the liver and stored in the gallbladder. Bilirubin is an orange-yellow substance produced by the body during the normal process of breaking down red blood cells. During digestion, these fluids mix with your food and turn your stool brown.