Any young child will let you know with certainty that everybody poops. But not all poop is the same. Here are the top ten questions about digestion that people are too embarrassed to ask their doctors.
1. If I do not poop every day, is something wrong?
Not everybody’s digestive tract works the same way. We tend to be very focused on having a daily poop or two, but it is perfectly normal not to poop every day.
2. If I poop more than twice daily, is something wrong?
Pooping more than once or twice a day does not necessarily mean that something is wrong. You might just poop more often than other people. If your poop is liquid or difficult to pass, then you should talk with a doctor.
3. Why do I have constant gas?
You might think that you have constant gas, but most people pass gas up to 14 times a day. If you are passing gas more often or more than you usually do, head to a doctor to make sure that you do not have a food intolerance or other digestive disorder.
4. Why do I have to poop when I get nervous?
Having to poop when you get nervous or experiencing diarrhea is often a psychological symptom of IBS. Try calming exercises or thinking of things that do not stress you out.
5. I have not pooped in a week; do I have chronic constipation?
If you have not pooped in a week and you usually do, it is probably nothing to worry about. Chronic constipation usually means that you consistently poop less than three times a week.
6. Why does it hurt to poop?
Being well-hydrated and eating a high fiber diet are key components for pooping comfortably. If it hurts to poop, you may be struggling because you are not drinking enough water or eating enough fiber. Sometimes certain foods can irritate the anus and also contribute to pain or discomfort.
7. What shape should my poop be?
Although many people think that healthy poop is an s-shape, there are actually other factors. Poop should be smooth and can be sausage shaped or come in clearly delineated blobs. Other shapes can indicate dehydration, constipation, diarrhea and even too much oil in the diet if it sticks to the sides of the bowl.
8. What color should my poop be?
Usually healthy poop is brown, but depending on what you eat it can change color. Green usually means to many veggies, but can also indicate digestive disorders if it happens too frequently. Reddish or blackish stools can be scary, but can also occur after eating beets or taking certain vitamins. Before rushing to the doctor, make sure that your poop is consistently a funny color and not the result of a colorful meal. Multiple poops in an unusual color can be indications of digestive disorders, such as celiac or Crohn’s disease.
9. What are hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are blood vessels around the rectum and anus that can swell or tear when you poop. Usually they go away by themselves, but go to a doctor if they are a constant problem.
10. Sometimes there is blood when I poop, so should I be worried?
A little blood on the toilet paper is usually nothing to worry about. It usually just signifies some tearing around the anus from hemorrhoids or fissures. If there is blood in the toilet or you are bleeding a lot, then seek immediate medical attention because something is wrong.