Don't flush your health.  

We all know that one person who, no matter where they are or what the occasion, somehow manages to get in a bathroom joke. And although we may roll our eyes and laugh at the time, the thought of discussing our own bathroom habits is usually a no-go for most folks. That being said, one of the best ways to tell what's going on inside your body is by taking a look at what is, or is not, coming out of it.

Number one and number two are clearly not ever going to be the first or second choice for a topic of polite conversation. Unless of course you happen to be parents of a newborn or a toddler who is potty training. And then it's just a given. But for the rest of us, as much as we would like to ignore the topic altogether, we really should be paying just as much attention to what we are flushing as those newborn parents are to their baby's diaper contents. So what should you be taking note of before flushing? Here's a few things to note.

Let's start with number one, your pee. Urine should be the colour of straw, a very light yellowish beige colour and basically odourless. Urine that is a dark yellow is an indication your body is not being hydrated well enough. Ladies, consuming two to three litres per day and gents, three to four litres per day will do the trick. And should you notice either a foul-smelling or strong, sweet-smelling odour, these can be indicative of a urinary tract infection or diabetes. Things we eat and drink, as well as certain medications may also affect the colour and scent. If you take medications, make sure to thoroughly read the printout from the Pharmacist regarding side effects so you know what to look for. And, of course if you notice anything different after starting a prescription, do give the pharmacy a call and ask – for your peace of mind and for your health. Medications also have a huge impact on digestion, which in turn affects how your body is able to eliminate solid waste. Which brings us to the scoop on your poop.

Did you know that there is something called the Bristol Stool Scale? According to that scale, there are seven different types of stool. And only two of the seven describe a healthy bowel movement. 1. Small, hard lumps. 2. Sausage shaped, but hard and lumpy. 3. Sausage or banana shaped with cracks on the surface. 4. Sausage or banana shaped and is smooth and soft. 5. Soft blobs with clear-cut edges. 6. Fluffy pieces with ragged edges, mushy stool. 7. Watery, no solid pieces, entirely liquid.

So as you may have guessed, types one and two indicate constipation. Never a good place to be as it allows toxins to build up inside your body. Straining to eliminate can also cause hemorrhoids – another topic we'd all rather avoid. It's also been found that in people with dementia, constipation may actually worsen their confusion. Five on the list is leaning towards diarrhea while both six and seven are clearly there. Chronic diarrhea does not allow the body to properly absorb nutrients, and will cause deficiencies if not corrected. That leaves types three and four as what you want to see in the bottom of the toilet at least once or twice each day. And yes, the bottom of the toilet. Floating feces tends to contain a lot of fat, a sign of possible malabsorption where a person's body is not absorbing the fat and nutrients from the food in the way that it should.

Along with consistency, colour is also something to note. Bile from the liver, although naturally green, when broken down normally and as part of a healthy, functioning system, most often results in brown excrement. For those who eat large quantities of kale, spinach and the like, green is not out of the realm of normal due to the high chlorophyl content. White, clay-coloured poo on the other hand, comes from a lack of bile. Often gallstones are the culprit, blocking the bile duct. A Crohn's flare up will also show the same colour. Stool that is yellow can also mean a shortage of bile and similar blockage. It may also be an indicator that the pancreas is not secreting enough enzymes needed for digestion. Black stools often result as a side effect of some medications. Dark and solid is generally ok. But stools that are black and tarry or watery, or that contain blood are definitely a sign to visit your doctor. You may notice your stool is bright red if you've been eating lots of beets or tomato juice. Colour changes that coincide with different foods we eat is normal. Proof that what we put in our mouths does have an effect internally.

Bottom line, we can tell a lot about what going on inside our bodies by when we take the time to note what comes out of it. If your body is not eliminating the way it should be, try doing these three things and note the positive change. 1. Drink more water. Wherever you're at with this, just add more everyday until you reach the optimum number of litres per day. 2. Increase fibre by adding in more whole fruits and veggies – not things in a package that say “fibre enriched”. 3. Skip the grains and packaged foods. Give it a try. I guaranteed you'll notice positive changes, not only in the bathroom but other areas of your health as well.

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