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What are the signs of a healthy gastrointestinal system?

A healthy gastrointestinal system (GI) will process food and eliminate waste material from the body efficiently. Efficient GI functioning is evident in the amount of time it takes to digest food and in the appearance of the stool. The consistently healthy appearance of stool and regular frequency of bowel movements suggests a healthy GI system.

A healthy individual typically digests food in 24 to 45 hours. Healthy stool is soft and plump, and sinks to the bottom of the toilet. The stool should be easy to pass, with a consistency that is not too dry or too watery. Color varies depending upon diet, but should not be black and tarlike, pale gray, or yellowish. The consistency, color, and frequency of stool reflect many aspects of health, including diet, hydration, use of medications, and presence of medical conditions.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.