Icky But True: 7 Crazy Facts About Poop
Admit it: you’ve wondered before if your bathroom habits are normal. How frequently does the average adult poop? How long does it take for food to makes its way through the body– and why do some spicy meals seem to end in disaster so quickly? Behold: the truth about poop (and other bathroom mysteries).
1. The average person poops once per day. There’s a pretty big range, however. It’s completely normal to poop only once every three days or up to three times per day, reports the University of Massachusetts. How often you poop depends in part on what you eat. Researchers have found that Asians have more frequent bowel movements than Americans, partly because Asians eat a higher fiber diet.
2. A 160-pound person produces one pound of poop per day. The average person produces around one ounce of excrement per 12 pounds of body weight, according to gastroenterologists.
3. Poop is about 75 percent water. The remaining 25 percent is comprised of a mixture of dead bacteria that helped digest the food, living bacteria, protein, indigestible fiber, and waste materials from the liver and intestines. The bacteria inside feces are what make them smell so bad. Bacteria and gases cause that infamous “poop” smell.
4. The breakdown of red blood cells makes poop brown. Gross but true; poop gets it brownish coloring from bilirubin, a pigment that’s created with red blood cells breakdown in the liver and bone marrow.
5. Color variance is normal. Just ate a side of beets at dinner or a huge leafy salad? Then get ready to see your poop in Technicolor. Beets (especially beet juice) can turn stools bright red and lots of green leafy vegetables can give stools a green-tint. Certain medications can affect stool color, too, causing it to look white or clay-colored. Watch out for black stools: while the cause could be harmless (iron supplements or black licorice), black stools are often a sign of bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal track. Talk to your doctor if your stool color or smell seems “off”.
6. Diarrhea before a menstrual period is totally normal. Sorry ladies! Not only do you have to deal with PMS symptoms, but you also need to manage an icky but true side effect to your period: diarrhea. Low levels of progesterone, a hormone involved in regulating the female menstrual cycle, can influence a woman’s bowel movements. That’s why many women report sudden, severe cramping and the onset of diarrhea at the beginning of their periods.
7. Extreme constipation can cause an impacted bowel. What would happen if you didn’t poop for weeks? A pretty terrible ordeal, actually. In addition to bloating, cramps and back pain, you can develop an impacted bowel. This occurs when a large lump of dry, hard stool get stuck inside your rectum. It basically means a lot of internal pollution is building up in your body. While sometimes an enema will do the trick to get things going, in other cases you’ll need to see your healthcare provider for manual removal. Yikes! Feeling chafed after the procedure? Keep a flushable wipe alterative like Sooth 'n Wipe nearby for some instant butt cooling relief.