When Something’s Not Right in The Bathroom..
Last week I visited my natural screening clinic to figure out where my energy had gone. Before testing my levels, my clinician and I had a thorough chat about my cycle; changes in length, changes in flow, changes in quality and consistency. From there we had a chat about my bowel movements, quantity, quality and colour. My clinician hypothesised a return of my leaky gut and got down to testing. After a week of ingesting many different forms of probiotics my poo has changed colour. Too much information? The important thing is that I now have more energy.
I am not a health professional so this is a quick list of what changes in your stool or menstrual blood MIGHT mean. The take home message is: If something isn’t right in the bathroom then please see a professional and get it checked out.
Right, Poo’s First. Our stools are made up of 10 parts water, 1 part bacteria, 1 part indigestible fibre, and a 1 part mixture of fat, protein, dead cells and mucus. Unlike the skipper caterpillar we cannot propel it five feet into the air but scientists have found faecal matter on toothbrushes 2 metres away from a toilet. Note: close lid before flushing.
A greasy floating stool may be a sign of an underlying problem in the gastro intestinal tract. Alternatively, as it is the job of the pancreas, liver and gall bladder to help the body digest fat, one of these organs may be ill.
A semi-solid stool may be a sign of a G.I tract infection or an allergic response.
A thick sticky stool that is tarry and jet black is a sign of upper GI bleeding. Iron pills and pep-to bismol will also turn stools black.
A red stool may just be from eating beetroot it could also be blood from lower down in the digestive tract.
A white/ grey stool may be from bile duct blockage or liver disease.
A green stool could be a sign of GI infection or that you’ve been eating spinach or drinking a large green juice.
A yellow stool is a sign that you have fat in your stool.
Persistently passing foul smelling stools is a sign of underlying disease or intestinal infection.
Consistently slender stools may be a sign of a rectal tumour.
Passing pebble like stools is a sign of a lack of dietary fibre and water.
Pain when defecating may be a sign of an anal fissure, haemorrhoids or diverticulosis.
Pain with blood is a red flag and should be investigated further by a doctor.
And that’s a quick blast of poo information, now let’s move on to the messages that our menses are telling our body.
Dr Casimir Funk is known for isolating vitamin B1 in 1912. A discovery through his study of vitamin B was that it reduced a woman’s menstrual flow from five or six days to three or four. He also reported menstruation came ‘completely without warning’ while women were on vitamin B complex therapy. We now know that this is because the pituitary gland, hypothalamus and ovaries require B vitamins, zinc and magnesium to produce period hormones. Often period difficulties are a result of poor nutrient uptake. For example
Brown blood with clots may mean that you are low in iron, B6, magnesium, chromium, vitamin E or fish oils.
If blood loss is excessive to the point of flooding this may be a sign of an iron deficiency. Anemia can cause fatigue, shortness of breath, light headedness and heart palpitations.
Large blood clots may be a sign that your body needs more good fats such as evening primrose and fish oils.
A light flow could be due to a nutritional need for leafy greens and good quality protein. It is also linked with stress, over work and lack of sleep.
Female athletes who stop having periods are considered to have Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S). This is from training hard and eating too few carbohydrates. The body first deals w