A healthy stool is like an iceberg. An iceberg partially floats, but most of it will be underwater. That’s what a healthy stool looks like, too. A stool that partially floats means that it contains the right amount of fiber and water.
If stool is floating entirely on top of the water, it’s not a good sign. A buoyant stool is often a sign of a problem with fat absorption. Fat malabsorption can be the result of a gallbladder or liver problem. Stool that floats and is light-colored is characteristic of certain liver diseases.
If stool sinks to the bottom of the toilet bowl, it’s likely very compressed or lacking in water. Hard, compacted stool without enough fiber will sink. Stools that sink generally mean you’ve got something wrong with the colon, but also, potentially, the small bowel.
Now look at the shape of the stools, are the stools skinny, or are they fat? Do they come in long pieces? Do you have to make multiple trips to the bathroom to empty your bowels fully? These are just some of the questions I ask clients when investigating their bowel function.
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I also ask clients about their stress levels, their sleep, their diet, and whether they are experiencing any other digestive symptoms like gas and bloating. Lifestyle is another important factor. If you are sitting in front of a screen all day, your digestive system may be suffering.
A stool test can help sort out why your stool isn’t healthy. The result of a comprehensive stool analysis will let you know if problems with Candida, bacteria, or parasites are contributing to your stool problems. Once you know what the problem is, you can choose the right treatment.
Certain habits will help keep your stool healthy. Make sure that you chew food properly and that you’re relaxed when you eat your food. Don’t eat under stress or while watching the screen. Make sure you are staying hydrated, eating enough fiber, and avoiding junk food.
The digestive system is superbly affected by stress. Every tiny little thing that goes through your mind will affect your autonomic nervous system, either the sympathetic branch (the gas pedal) or the parasympathetic branch (the brake). Your thoughts either accelerate or put the brakes on stress responses in the body. The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for the “rest and digest” response, which is essential for your gastrointestinal tract work correctly.