Updated: Mar 22, 2020
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Incase you missed the breakdown of what your answers mean, we decided to make a page for you to come back to and explore any of those symptoms you may have answered yes too, learn about the impacts of gut stressors like medication and or find out why on earth we asked if you have allergies!
Read it all or simply use the shortcut functions on your keyboard
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and use key words like bloating or inflammation to skim through!
To understand how our digestive system functions and if we are having optimal bowel motions it's essential to consider the many characteristics of our toilet habits, because what is "normal" for someone does not mean it's healthy or optimal.
Are you only doing a poo every second day?
It's best to have a daily bowel motion (at least). It is essential for clearing cellular waste the body is trying to rid itself of. If you are not going daily, this means there is the chance for waste reabsorption and poor clearance of toxins causing inflammation in the gut, recirculating through the liver and into the body. Your poo frequency may be related to dehydration, stress, low fibre intake, inflammation, inadequate bile production from the liver or other health conditions such as poor thyroid function.
Reflux and stomach fullness?
This may indicate a couple of issues. Eating on the go or too fast causes food to enter the stomach before it is prepared to digest. You could also have issues with maintaining stomach acidity, which too high or too low can both present with reflux. Most commonly, low hydrochloric acid (gastric acid) and other digestive enzymes that are responsible for breaking down fibrous protein such a steak results in prolong feelings of heaviness in the upper gastrointestinal tract. Other causes of reflux can be smoking, H. pylori infection, hernia or over eating.
You’re on acid blocking medication?
Acid blocking medication is a quick fix for reflux. It is commonly prescribed to individuals before identifying whether the reflux is due to low or high acid and before identifying the cause of the reflux. The issue is, when we block our stomach acid, we get the same dysfunction as having naturally low stomach acid. Poor digestion of protein and large food molecules specifically. This wreaks havoc on the lower digestive system resulting in partially undigested food making its way into the small intestines, colon, and toilet bowl. Nutrient depletion from these medications themselves occurs as well as from poor food breakdown inhibiting absorption.
Bloating, discomfort, flatulence?
Such uncomfortable symptoms to live with! This is usually a result of dysfunctional upper gastrointestinal activity not sending the right signals to the liver, gall bladder and pancreas causing poor digestion in the small intestine and colon. The walls of the small intestine are like a shaggy rug, with a tremendous surface area that produces chemicals, to digest carbohydrates and dairy, and to absorb all your nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals. Lower abdominal symptoms are caused by irritation and inflammation in the small intestine therefor reducing its function and causing food intolerances (commonly dairy & gluten), nutritional deficiencies (commonly iron) and leaky gut (what is leaky gut?). Bloating and gas occur in the colon due to fermentation of those undigested foods from the stomach reaching gut bacteria. Bacteria feed on these large particles and produce gas causing distention, discomfort and flatulence.
Have you read our blog on Enhancing Digestion?
For those who have had their gall baller removed, read up on our Life after a cholecystectomy
How is your poo formed?
Depending how long you are on the toilet, if you are straining, the shape and the feeling after you pass a poo tells us a lot. Poos that are dry and hard to pass show they are lacking lubrication whether it be from digestive juices or simply water. Very loose poos can identify hypersensitivities to foods which cause the bowels to physically move the food you have eaten through the tract fast, using digestive muscles or alternatively sending water from your body into your digestive tract to flush it through. Poor poo formation can also stem from too low or too high fibre intake or as a response to stress.
A chocolate coloured poo?
Healthy is a nice milk chocolate brown. Light poos generally indicate issues with bile, whilst dark may be a reflag for upper digestive bleeding and should be investigated further if in combination with other symptoms. Red poos show there may be lower digestive bleeding and should also be further investigated immediately. Keep in mind, some medications may also change the appearance of your poo so check those!
Undigested food in the toilet? You’re just feeding the fish.
This is clear evidence that there is 100% digestive insufficiencies somewhere along your gastrointestinal tract. With exception to fibrous fruit and veg like corn and some seeds, you should hardly be able to identify what you ate once it’s about to get flushed.
Antibiotics and Steroids?
Not the greatest friends of the gastrointestinal system. They cause inflammation, they wipe out our friendly gut bacteria, they alter our immune system (as the gut is a major contributor to immune function) and they cause inflammation in the liver who has to process and detox all medications. The proof is in the pretty quick reactions we get to these medications like diarrhoea, nausea and thrush to name a few.
3 nights a week with a drink to take the edge off?
It’s so common, but alcohol has a few effects on our digestive system. It irritates and inflames our stomach lining, it injures our liver (which we need to work to make bile) due to its detoxification process, it kills off our friendly gut bacteria and it is a risk factor for colon cancer.
You suffer allergies?
There’s a significant link between poor gut function and immune hypersensitivities like eczema, asthma, and hay fever. This is due to the concept of leaky gut and food particles that should never cross over into the body making their way in. This sets off the immune system alarm throughout the whole body causing those immune defence cells to become overwhelmed and less specific in their attacks. To strengthen their defences, they try protecting us by causing mucus production, sneezing, swelling, itching and all those typical signs of inflammation in response to the smallest threat.
If you have extra time you might find the following blogs useful: