What Your Bowels Say About Your Health

stool chartYes this is probably not a dinner topic, but it’s quite an important one. What your body releases may be saying a whole lot about your overall health. Dr Amy Foxx-Orenstein, president of the American College of Gastroenterology states, “what comes out your body is reflective of how well or how ill the body is.”

Hard and Dry

The amount of time it takes for your food to digest and exit the body impacts the consistency of the stool. On average “intestinal transit” takes anywhere from 40-45 hours. When any waste is left in your body longer than this, your body re-absorbs the fluids back into the body leaving the waste dry and hard. People on blood pressure, anti-depressant, or histamine drugs will commonly have a

Small Lumps

If your stool looks like little pellets, you are probably experiencing slow digestion. “An ideal stool looks like a torpedo—it should be large, soft, fluffy and easy to pass,” says Foxx-Orenstein. Introduce more fiber into your diet to assist with this.


It is natural for your body to secrete about eight liters of fluid each day. A healthy digestive system will absorb a majority of the fluids in your system along the “intestinal transit”. In a less ideal situation, your body may be processing your waste too quickly, not giving it a chance to absorb as much liquid as it needs to. This consequently leaves your stool runny and watery. This can often happen with a sudden increase of fiber into the diet, or if you have a bacterial/viral infection. When the body finds a virus present, it naturally releases toxins that increase the amount of liquid in your system. Your body is working rapidly to remove the infection and therefore making your digestive system work quickly.


Though being thin seems ideal in many situations, it’s NOT when it comes to your bowels. This could be a serious sign of colon cancer or polyps. Thin stool could be an indicator of a mass in your colon that your stool is being forced to pace through.

Pale or Gray 

The color of your bowels is often determined by your diet and medications you take. Unhealthy hues, such as pale gray, are not okay. The bile that the liver excretes not only assists to break down the fats in your food, it also gives your waste color. If your liver is unhealthy, your stool may have a pale appearance.


Now before you go rushing to dial 911 because you have red colored stool, think about…

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