Internal Affairs – How to check your poop is healthy

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content-1467240696-healthworks-poop-infographic-700x2188Your bowels consist of the small intestine and the large intestine (colon). Your small intestine absorbs foods and liquids. It is about 15 to 20 feet long and is divided into 3 sections called the duodenum, the jejunum, and the ileum. Each section has a specific role in how your body digests and absorbs nutrients. Your colon is about 5 feet long. It helps your body absorb minerals and water.

A bowel movement is the last stop in the movement of food through your digestive tract. Your stool passes out of your body through the rectum and anus. Another name for stool is feces or bowel movement (as well as all the slang names!) It is made of what is left after your digestive system (stomach, small intestine, and colon) absorbs nutrients and fluids from what you eat and drink.

Sometimes a bowel movement isn’t normal.  Diarrhea happens when stool passes through the large intestine too quickly. Constipation occurs when stool passes through the large intestine too slowly. Bowel incontinence is a problem controlling your bowel movements. Other abnormalities with bowel movements may be a sign of a digestive

Stool comes in a range of colors. All shades of brown and even green are considered normal. Only rarely does stool color indicate a potentially serious intestinal condition.

Stool color is generally influenced by what you eat as well as by the amount of bile — a yellow-green fluid that digests fats — in your stool. As bile pigments travel through your gastrointestinal tract, they are chemically altered by enzymes — changing the pigments from green to brown.

Tiny SquirrelThe squirrel says: Consult your doctor if you’re concerned about your stool color. If your stool is bright red or black — which may indicate the presence of blood — seek prompt medical attention.