Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Things We’re Embarrassed to Talk About – What’s a Healthy Bowel Movement?

Image Sometimes in life we have to deal with things that are less than pleasant – dirty laundry, patching up wounds, pet messes – let’s face it, moms cope with a lot of messy situations. Talking about bodily functions doesn’t generally make for polite conversation. Judging by the stunning array of constipation medications available at the drugstore, maybe we do need to talk about it. (I was looking for ipecac syrup, which they no longer carry, to keep in our emergency medical kit.)

So, what constitutes a “normal” bowel movement? Believe it or not, some scientists in England (Bristol, to be precise), came up with a chart to describe the range of typical bowel movements. The following is a summary of the chart based on information from http://www.gutsense.org. I encourage you to visit their site if you want more details or have specific concerns, or to speak with a qualified health care professional.

Type 1: Separate hard lumps, like nuts

These stools lack a normal amorphous quality, because bacteria are missing and there is nothing to retain water. The lumps are hard and abrasive, the typical diameter ranges from 1 to 2 cm (0.4–0.8”), and they’re painful to pass, because the lumps are hard and scratchy. Typical for post-antibiotic treatments and for people attempting fiber-free (low-carb) diets. Flatulence isn’t likely, because fermentation of fiber isn’t taking place.

Type 2: Sausage-like but lumpy

Represents a combination of Type 1 stools impacted into a single mass and lumped together by fiber components and some bacteria. Typical for organic constipation. The diameter is 3 to 4 cm (1.2–1.6”). This type is the most destructive by far because its size is near or exceeds the maximum opening of the anal canal’s aperture (3.5 cm). It’s bound to cause extreme straining during elimination, and most likely to cause anal canal laceration, hemorrhoidal prolapse, or diverticulosis. To attain this form, the stools must be in the colon for at least several weeks instead of the normal 72 hours. Adding supplemental fiber to expel these stools is dangerous, because the expanded fiber has no place to go, and may cause hernia, obstruction, or perforation of the small and large intestine alike.

For the rest of the story: http://www.commonsensehome.com/whats-a-healthy-bowel-movement/

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