6 things you need to know about poop

Florasophy blog post,

Poop is not just a stinky routine without cause, our poop tells us a ton about what is happening in our bodies and provides an opportunity to improve our health if we know what to look for. Today we are giving you the gift of poop literacy. Here’s what you really need to know about poop.

Poop balances your hormones

This fun fact is probably one of the least talked about and most important points for every woman to know; poop is how estrogen leaves the body. It’s true.

The waste products of estrogen (after it’s done all of its womanly magic for you) is sent to the intestinal tract by the liver and there it has two fates. One, it can reabsorbed across the gut wall into the bloodstream where it increases estrogen levels and can eventually lead to estrogen excess. Two, it can be bound to soluble fiber, rendering it indigestible, leaving it to travel with soluble fiber to the colon and into your toilet. This simple but incredibly important process is how our estrogen metabolizes healthily and balances with progesterone to keep us feeling great.

Poop tells you if you’re digesting your food

We’ve all seen a corn kernel in our poop before, but if you look a little closer, you can learn a little more about digestion. For instance, if you see an oily layer around your poop or on the toilet water, this means you are not absorbing the fats in your food. This can be a sign of gall bladder issues or the like and ironically, can lead to weight gain due to an over reliance on sugars. Hard stools that have breaks and “creases” may mean you’re not digesting protein well. If you see bits of food in your poop, this means you’re not chewing enough and that is the first critical step in digestion.

Poop carries environmental toxins out of your body

With the same method that your body moves estrogen out, your body shuttles fat soluble environmental toxins into the gut for excretion. This is natural daily detox and the most effective way to boost your natural detox of these chemicals is with soluble fiber. Your poop is just a vehicle to remove these horrible chemicals, but without a diet high in soluble fiber, the chemicals are reabsorbed into your blood.

Poop reduces cholesterol

There is a reason that doctors have long told people with high cholesterol to eat oatmeal and that’s because the soluble fiber in oats can bind to bile in the gut. But what most people don’t know is that bile, made in the liver, stored in the gallbladder and eventually sent to the small intestine to help you absorb fat, is actually made from cholesterol. So, instead of letting that bile get absorbed, you can trap it with soluble fiber, so it moves into the colon and is carried out of your body by poop! That’s right, healthy poop means a healthier heart.

Poop can signal infection

Chronically loose stool is often a sign of infection. It’s hard to believe, but bacterial and parasitic infections are ubiquitous today and so often the condition we call IBS-diarrhea is actually a sign that there is a little bug wreaking havoc in the gut. If the logical interventions like eating a clean diet and boosting soluble fiber don’t firm things up, consider that you may have a visitor in your colon.

Poop can be a sign of microbiome health

The more we learn about the microbiome, the more we realize how connected it is to just about every aspect of health. If you are not experiencing a healthy banana-shaped poop every day, you may have a microbiome imbalance. Eating plants and incorporating fermented foods and plenty of soluble fiber is the most effective way to bolster up your healthy microbes and make a meaningful impact on your microbiome.

Show yourself some love and look at your poop each and every day. After all, it’s working hard to keep you healthy and share important insights about your health.

About Megan Barnett, MS, CNS

Megan Barnett, MSMegan Barnett is a functional medicine practitioner in Portland, Oregon. In her clinical practice, she helps patients identify the root cause of their health problems, then designs individualized and evidence-based approaches to alleviate symptoms and help their bodies heal. She has a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from Kansas State University and a Master of Science in Nutrition and Functional Medicine from University of Western States.