What Your Poop Says About Your Health

If you experience constipation or diarrhea, it is important to pay attention. Both constipation and diarrhea are ways that your body communicates with you, telling you when something is wrong with your body. In some ways, what comes out of your body is as important as what goes into it.

If You Experience Constipation

Constipation is characterized by having fewer than three bowel movements a week and stool that is small, hard or difficult to pass. Other symptoms associated with constipation include bloating, gas, feeling discomfort and generally feelings of sluggishness.

Constipation is commonly caused by a lack of water in the waste system. As food moves through the colon, it absorbs water. Without enough water, the stool becomes hard and difficult to pass. Muscle contractions in the colon move the waste along until it is ready to pass through the rectum. Most often constipation is caused by a lack of exercise, improper diet and a lack of liquids. It is often an indication of food intolerance, and can also be an indication of another disease or health condition.

To combat constipation eating a diet that is high in fiber, commonly found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, is recommended. Eating a diet that is high in fats, such as cheese and meat, is linked to constipation. If you experience food intolerance, including sugar intolerance, eating a diet that eliminates your food intolerance can also eliminate experiencing constipation.

If You Experience Diarrhea

Loose watery stools that occur more than three times a day characterize diarrhea. Diarrhea can be a serious condition because it can easily lead to dehydration due to water loss occurring with frequent bowel movements. Diarrhea may also be accompanied by other symptoms, including cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, nausea and a sense of urgency to use the bathroom. There are two types of diarrhea: Acute and Chronic. Acute diarrhea is short term and typically lasts fewer than four weeks. Chronic diarrhea is long term and lasts for more than four weeks.

Diarrhea is often caused by a reaction to foods. If diarrhea is recurring, it likely means a reaction to a particular food or group of foods. It can also be an indication of disease, such as irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease, especially if it lasts for more than four weeks. Although it is recommended that you drink plenty of water and eat a high fiber diet to maintain a healthy balance, it is possible to eat too much fiber and drink too much water, which can cause diarrhea. Avoid high fiber fruits, vegetables and whole grains if you think that your diarrhea is caused by too much in your diet.

By finding what foods are causing a reaction, you can alleviate the diarrhea and feel better. Common food intolerances that can cause diarrhea include a dairy intolerance or sugar intolerance. Keeping a food diary and tracking the foods that you are eating can help to determine whether your diarrhea is caused by food intolerance or other digestive conditions.

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