Last weekend, I was Facetiming my 2 year old nephew! We talked about the park he visited, the new toys he got and the snacks he was eating. All of a sudden he started yelling ‘Poo, poo, poo!”. Big smiles, enthusiastic gestures and factual play by play for his aunt while he used the potty (off camera). Being the supportive aunt I am, I jumped up and down, sang the poo poo song and celebrated his accomplishment of pooing on the toilet. No embarrassment, no concern for the topic, just pure joy at his success.
As we get older, things start to change. Where poop is a topic that is monitored and even celebrated as a child, slowly dissipates into a source of embarrassment. We stop talking about pooping, we stop tracking our poops and slow warning signs that our body is giving us to potential problems are being ignored.
Last week, I was invited to the Poop Cafe in Toronto to learn how to #TrustYourGut! It was the perfect venue to take any embarrassing feelings about talking about poop and made it something fun and normal. The Poop Cafe is Toronto’s washroom-themed restaurant. It takes the famous Poop emoji and displays it in the form of artwork, seating, dishware and dessert ideas. It takes an embarrassing topic and normalizes it.
I agree there is a place and time for potty talk. It shouldn’t be included in everyday conversation, however it is important to talk about it when there is a potential problem or irregularity. Many people don’t know what is “normal” when it comes to bowel function and what isn’t. Although no two people are alike and everyone has a different potty pattern, but knowing when to seek help for a problem is vital for overall health.
- True or False: 1 in 4 Canadians experience some type of bathroom related problem. TRUE! Eating habits, stress, lack of exercises and health complications (i.e. Celiac Disease, IBS, etc) lead to bowel complications.
- True or False: Men are twice as likely to have bowel problems. False: Women are more likely to experience bowel troubles. Hormones, the priority we give to it, and other facts prevent us from being successful in the washroom.
- True or False: Daily poops are necessary for a healthy bowel system. False. Everyone is different. What might be daily for one, could be biweekly for another. Knowing what is NORMAL for you is important
How did you do? Poop-tastic or in the Pooper?
To begin the conversation on healthy bowels, its important to know what a normal bowel movement looks like. According to the Bristol Stool Scale a normal bowel movement should resemble a smooth, sausage like structure that is easy to pass. Sometimes there will be small variations to this such as a cracked sausage structure that is easy to pass or small blobs that are easy to pass, and that is normal too.
If your bowel movement varies from this description, too watery, small balls, presence of blood, hard to pass, then these are warning signs that something is going on. If your poop is on the watery side its called diarrhea and when its on the drier side and hard to pass its called constipation. You bowel functions may change on daily basis due to your diet, amount of exercise you did, and the water you consumed. If you experience occasional constipation or diarrhea it is a sign that you need to adapt your daily activities but nothing to be truly concerned about.
If you constantly experience constipation or diarrhea, or if your bowel movements regularly switch between them and are rarely in the ‘normal’ category, then it’s time to talk to your Doctor! They are trained in this issue and have seen it all, heard it all, so don’ t be afraid to tell them what is going on!