Dr. Oz Asks: Is Your Poop Normal or Not?

Dr. Oz Asks: Is Your Poop Normal or Not?

Is there such a thing as perfect poop? You bet.

Your stool can speak volumes about your health. If you’re not in the habit of sneaking a peek before you flush, Dr. Oz says it’s time to start.

So how can you tell if your poop is normal or not? How often should you have a bowel movement? Here’s the scoop on poop, straight from the Dr. Oz Show.

S is for super
If your stool looks like an S, congrats! This is the ideal shape for a healthy bowel movement. It’s the shape of your rectum near your anus. If your stool spells this letter, it’s a sign your intestines are working well and likely means you’re eating a well-balanced diet and getting enough fiber to keep things moving through your digestive system.

Brown is beautiful
Or at least, it’s the normal color for poop, thanks to bile, which turns it this hue. If your stool is some other color, you could be in trouble. Here’s a quick BM color decoder: 

  • Black: While it can look frightening, black poop may be a benign side effect of taking an upset stomach remedy like Pepto-Bismol. If you have black stool on a regular basis, it could signal a more serious issue, like bleeding from the upper part of the GI tract.
  • Green: Seeing green could mean the stool went too quickly through your intestines, a sign of nutrient malabsorption. This can happen in people with Crohn’s disease. It could also be a side effect of antibiotics or eating a lot of leafy greens.
  • Red: If you have red-tinted bowel movements, tell your doctor. It could mean you have a lower-GI bleed. It could also simply mean you ate a lot of beets.
  • Yellow (clay-colored): This could indicate an issue with the gallbladder. It could also be a sign of an infection in the GI tract.
  • White: This is often a sign of fat malabsorption, which could indicate pancreatitis or pancreatic cancer. It also could be a sign of inflammation if accompanied by mucus.

Related: Get the scoop on baby poop.

Silence is golden
If your stool hits the water with a forceful plop that leaves your buttocks drenched, or you strain like you’re in labor to pass what feels like small rocks or marbles, then you are constipated. Don’t feel too bad—it’s the most common digestive complaint in America, and a Western diet low in fiber is the main culprit.

If loosey-goosey is a better description of your poop, this means you are not absorbing nutrients properly. Loose, watery stools are a common symptom of many digestive conditions, including IBS and Crohn’s disease.

Whether you are constipated or have loose stools, try bulking up on fiber, which can help firm up your poop and keep it moving through your system at a healthy pace.

As for frequencyhow much you poop is not the real issue. It’s how your poop looks each time you have a bowel movement that is the key to health.

Medically reviewed in January 2020.

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