It can be quite a, uh, uh, uh, ah, ah, ah. Stools come in all shapes and sizes and can shift shapes depending on what you eat or what's going on in your life right now.
" The bowel movements change from person to person depending on his or her diet, physical activity, how much water they consume and what medicines they take," says M. Nuri Kalkai retired gastroenterologist and health blogger.
Everyone has their own barometer of how often their body is accustomed to walking and what their typical stool looks like to them. But what if things change and you see something out of the ordinary in the toilet? We spoke with some experts to determine what bowel habits are not so common and may require a trip to the doctor.
Black and / or tar feces
Jeffery M. Nelson Surgical Director at the Center for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases and Colorectal Diseases at Baltimore Medical Center in Mercy, said that if your navel is black, "not just dark brown," you should worry.
"This means that bleeding occurs from an upper source of GI such as the esophagus, stomach or small intestine," he explained.
There are some exceptions to this: If you take, for example, iron supplements, your stools may appear dark green to the extent that they appear almost black. If you have been taking bismuth medications like Pepto Bismol, this can also make your stools almost black. It is always best to consult a doctor if you are not sure.
Bright red blood in your stools
If you find blood in your stools or on toilet paper alone, in the water or streaked in your stools, this may indicate a source of bleeding from the anal canal or a source of low rectal.
"Things like internal hemorrhoids, anal fissures, rectal polyps, or rectal cancer, all of this can happen," Nelson says. All this is a reason to see a doctor.
Maroon color stools
If your stools are that color, they are probably also more fluid in texture and paired with an unpleasant, distinct odor. According to Nelson, this may indicate bleeding from the very end of the small intestine or colon.
"Diverticulosis and arteriovenous malformations are the classic causes of this presentation" and a reason to go to the emergency room, he said.
Pale, oily, and particularly unpleasant odors  "This finding is called steatorrhea and is due to excess fat in the stool," explained Chris Caruba, an internal medicine physician in Jacksonville, Florida.
Karuba said that steatorrhea is often observed with syndromes of malabsorption, pancreatic insufficiency and biliary disease. "The presence of steatorrhea indicates difficulty in digesting fat and these patients are at risk of developing a deficiency in fat-soluble vitamins," he says, Vitamins A, D, E and K.
Exercise other than typical for you bowel movement
Your body is a creature of habit in many ways. For example, if you constantly have smooth, long stools of sausage and they suddenly change to a completely different size, you should talk to your doctor.
"A pencil thin against a logarithmic routine may mean that it may have an inflammatory condition, such as a Crohn or an infection," says Karen Soika, a general surgeon in Greenwich, Connecticut.
If your stool consistency has changed to watery or diarrhea, it may indicate irritable bowel syndrome, an infectious cause, or inflammatory bowel disease, such as ulcerative colitis.
CHD or infections can also increase constipation.
Water diarrhea after a camping trip
This may be due to giardia, 'a protozoan organism that is found in fresh water and the reason that it should always boil and sanitize water from mountain streams or lakes "Said Karuba.
Ingestion of this organism can lead to giardiasis, leading to abdominal pain and persistent watery diarrhea. The problem can be treated with antimicrobial agents. In addition to drinking contaminated water, you can also be exposed to giardia by eating uncooked vegetables or fruits that are rinsed in contaminated water and incorrect washing of hands after contact with stools or infected humans or animals.
Usually, this is due to inflammation of the intestine, said Patton Berwokim a gastroenterologist in Los Angeles. He noted that the condition can be seen in inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn. It can also be due to inflammation caused by a bacterial infection or IBS.
"Mucus associated with pain in the blood or abdomen should not be ignored and require medical attention," he explained.
Hard or rarely stool
This means constipation and is usually caused by a lack of fiber in your diet as well as low water intake. However, this can also be caused by medications, bowel obstruction, or in rare cases colon cancer.
"Constipation can be treated in many ways, and I always start by increasing my intake of fiber and water. The recommended daily intake of fiber is at least 25 grams, and the amount of water required varies from person to person, "says Jack Brachy a gastroenterologist at Brooklyn Gastroenterology and endoscopic associates.
Laxatives are available without a prescription to help with this and work by either increasing the motility in your bowels or increasing the amount of water delivered to your colon, Braha said.
"But for symptoms that do not improve rapidly or begin after the age of 50, it is important to seek advice from a gastroenterologist to determine if further examination such as colonoscopy is needed to check for more serious ones. problems such as bowel obstruction or colon cancer, "he said.
Loose, watery or frequent stools
" Diarrhea is common after eating poor food or from infection and should not last more than a week in most cases, ”Brachy explained.
Loose stools can be cause for concern if diarrhea lasts longer than two weeks or when it is related to bleeding, weight loss or symptoms that keep you awake at night.
"When diarrhea is not from an infectious source, we look for other common causes such as lactose intolerance, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease or celiac disease," Bracha said. "Gastroenterologists can usually find the cause of diarrhea by checking certain blood tests, stool tests and colonoscopies."
It is generally a good idea to make an appointment with your doctor if you are at all concerned about your bowel movements. , Your pool may be trying to tell you something.