If you have a soft constitution (you find a lot of things “icky” and you like to say “eewww”) ,
if you are offended by any form of poop- humorous or otherwise,
if you are eating and would prefer not to think about what happens to that tasty, gooey, cheese quesadilla you have just wolfed down,
if you are particularly prone to suggestive influences and would need to use the bathroom right after seeing the words poop, poop, and more poop, but you are at work, at the MRT station, or still eating,
— then please save this reading for another time.
Poop. We all do it. Everyday, as a matter of fact, and some do it more than others. But we don’t like to think about it. We pretend Megan Fox or Angelina Jolie or any other drop dead gorgeous babe is incapable of this most primitive function. And yet, despite this function’s ill-deserved treatment, our bodies rely on this precious mechanism to tell us if our insides are working well.
I got to thinking about poop today. Weird. I don’t know what the universe was channeling but as soon as I woke up this morning, I got two e-email messages which were both about poop. For some strange reason, poop was calling out to me, seemingly insistent that I pay attention to this. Now, why should I pay attention to poop? I marked the little boxes beside these poop messages and without hesitation, sent them to the trash bin. Meanwhile, I moved on to other things.
A few hours after I threw out the e-mail messages, a third one came, and what do you know? It was still about poop! God, are you speaking to me? Is there something I should learn about poop? I hurriedly clicked on the trashed e-email messages and retrieved them.
So here I am, at lunchtime, writing about poop.
The first e-mail message was a picture of Hello Kitty pooping sent by a friend who thought I would enjoy seeing Ms. Kitty in her most private moment. Apparently, Ms. Kitty poops through her clothes. It’s easy to make fun of her (why don’t you try pooping in front of everyone?) but I beg you to have pity on this poor cat because she doesn’t seem to be enjoying the whole process. After all, how could anyone poop with all their clothes on? See her strain? Doesn’t that sight make your heart bleed even just a little?
The message was clear. I have to help Ms. Kitty poop well. If you have to poop and pass it through your clothes like a sieve, then you’ll definitely be traumatized for life. Helping Ms. Kitty out of her overalls was a must. Giving her a hanger to hang her clothes on (so they don’t get crumpled or wet on the floor) is another. And lastly, she needs some toilet paper for the clean-up. I thought to add a tabo or a water dipper, but perhaps not many of our foreign friends will understand what it is for, so let’s keep it in the family, shall we? Lo and behold, success! Good luck, Ms. Kitty! One good deed done for the day!
The second e-mail message was serious and came in the form of a quiz, which I invite you to answer.
Question #1: How long does it take you to poop?
[ ]Less than 60 seconds
[ ]More than two minutes
Question #2: What is the shape of your poop?
[ ]Long like a banana [ ]round, hard pellets [ ]thin, pencil-shaped
Question #3: Is your poop accompanied by foul odor?
[ ]Yes [ ]No
Question #4: What color is your poop?
[ ]Yellow [ ]Green [ ]Brown
[ ]Gray [ ]Black [ ]Bright red
Question #5: Do you pass gas while you’re pooping or have you noticed air or bubbles in your poop?
[ ]Yes [ ]No
Some of the answers are obvious. Most of them are sobering. For example, if it takes you a long time to poop, then you know that something is amiss in your system. Poop, which provides many with opportunities for hilarity, is also one of your body’s ways to indicate wellness or disease. It is a unique system of internal equilibrium that affects a lot of our other systems. (Bad breath and body odor may be possible signs of intestinal trouble.) So for those who need the information, here are the answers:
- Healthy bowel movements happen within 60 seconds of sitting on the toilet. The poop should easily come out without straining, grunting or any discomfort. It should have the consistency of toothpaste. If you have time to read a newspaper while sitting on the toilet—you probably have a problem with constipation or poor bowel health.
- Healthy poop averages about four to six inches long and are shaped like a banana or a torpedo. Very narrow, pencil-shaped poop is a sign your colon walls are impacted or you have polyps or growths on the inside of your colon or rectum. This causes the poop to squeeze to get through. Stress can also create narrow poop.
Hard, round or pellet-shaped poop is a possible sign of poor liver function, lack of exercise, dehydration or constipation.
- Gas or odor is a sign of a bacterial imbalance in your intestinal flora. The “bad” bacteria release foul-smelling gases and toxins that can cramp your colon and create embarrassing odors.You can eliminate this odor by removing debris and encrusted feces from the walls of your intestines and restoring the balance in your intestinal flora.
- All shades of brown and even green are considered normal poop colors. And the foods you eat can affect the color of your stool. For example, beets, tomato juice, blueberries, popsicles and green leafy vegetables can affect color. However, a distinct change in poop color can be a warning sign for health problems. Yellow-colored poop indicates your food is moving too quickly through your digestive tract—as in the case of diarrhea. If poop is greasy or foul-smelling, it may indicate excess fat caused by malabsorption of nutrients. Light green-colored poop means your food isn’t properly being processed through your intestines. As a result, bile isn’t broken down—and gives your stool that green color. Light green poop can also mean you’re eating too much sugar, fruits and vegetables and not enough grains or salt. Gray or ashy colored poop indicates undigested fats or heavy use of prescription or over-the-counter drugs that contain aluminum hydroxide. It can also indicate a lack of bile in the poop that may be caused by a bile duct obstruction. Black stool is a serious warning sign for bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract—possibly the stomach. Bright red poop may indicate bleeding in the lower intestinal tract—possibly the large intestine or rectum. Hemorrhoids may also be the source of the bleeding.
- Air or bubbles in poop can indicate an intestinal imbalance. Gas producing bacteria may be overgrowing and competing with the healthier flora in your gut.
Had enough of poop yet?
Before I end this brief lesson on poop, allow me to share the third e-mail, which totally convinced me that the whole world poops, even cute Sylvanian critters:
Picture sent in by a friend who thought Google Translate did a great job of translating this page from Sylvanian Families Japan
Now if these aren’t messages, I don’t know what they are. In any event, I think I’ve done my part and spread the word on poop. Now, time to eat my lunch.