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6 doubts about pooping that you were too embarrassed to ask

6 doubts about pooping that you were too embarrassed to ask

Think you know enough about poop? Think again! These are the most common misconceptions about pooping that you should know about.

Written by Anuradha Varanasi |Updated : March 10, 2016 12:39 PM IST

Whether we re willing to talk about it or not, everyone has to go no.2. Though it is a completely normal and extremely important bodily function, most of us shy away from the topic and hesitate to discuss whatever poop related queries or problems we might be facing. Each one of us follows a specific routine or ritual when it comes to pooping, however, not many of us realize that there are many myths surrounding pooping that desperately need to be debunked for our own well-being. We spoke to Dr Prabha Sawant, Head of the Gastroenterology department, Sion Hospital who debunks these crap related myths that could help us in understanding our bowel movements better.

1. If you don t poop at least once a day, it s not normal

This is one of the most common myths about pooping that isn t true at all. If you haven t passed stools throughout the day, don t panic, there s nothing wrong with you and it isn t a sign of constipation either. One need not pass motions daily and it doesn t mean you re constipated. Constipation means passing hard stools or passing motions less than once in 3 days. The frequency and timing of passing stools vary from one individual to another, says Dr Sawant. The only time you need to worry about the number of times you poop is when you notice weight loss, a decrease in hemoglobin levels or after passing blood in your stools. If any of these symptoms exist, it is prudent to consult a gastroenterologist.

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2. Your poop is supposed to be foul smelling

This myth is only half true. Your motions may have a foul odor because of bacterial flora present in it and even undigested food. However, if it has an overpowering stench, then it can be a sign of a stomach infection or certain chronic diseases like ulcerative colitis, Crohn s disease or celiac disease. There could be reasons why your poop smells really bad and how you can prevent it. Other symptoms to look out for in case of a stomach infection are if you have loose motions or motions with fever, black tarry and semi-solid stool. In that case, it should be investigated.

3. It is normal to spend a long time pooping

While the time spent to pass stools varies from one individual to another, remember that you should go to the toilet only when you have an urge to defecate and not in hopes that you might defecate. Many of us think it is perfectly normal and healthy to read newspapers or magazines in the toilet while pooping but Dr Sawant says that should be completely avoided. This is because spending a prolonged period of time repeatedly straining on the pot can result in hemorrhoids (piles) or anal fissures. The tissues around your rectum or anal opening are sensitive and the last thing you want is for them to get irritated.

4. Getting your colon cleansed is good for you

Colon cleansing or colon hydrotherapy includes a number of alternative therapies that claim to remove toxins from the colon and intestinal tract. However, doctors warn that it is a waste of money as it can actually prove to be bad for your health as it can end up flushing out the bacteria in your stomach that aids in digestion and water absorption. Colon cleansing is not routinely advocated. It is done only before endoscopic procedure (colonoscopy), says Dr Sawant.

5. If your poop isn t brown, it s a sign of a health problem

Another poop related myth that is only half true. Generally, the colour of your stools largely depends on what you eat and also your internal metabolism. Normally it is either brown or yellow in colour. However, if you have had black, red or white stools persistently, then you should definitely consult a gastroenterologist. Red or black stools can indicate rectal bleeding while white or grey coloured poop could be a sign of a blockage in the bile duct. Here s how you can determine if the colour of your poop is a cause for concern or not.

6. Frequent pooping can help you lose weight

Those who are desperate to lose weight end up taking laxatives in hopes that they will get rid of some calories. However, in no way will it help in achieving a slimmer body. This is because the calories of the food you consumed are absorbed directly from your small intestine and the laxatives that you take only work in the large intestine or colon. Taking laxatives for increasing stool frequency for the purpose of weight loss is not advocated, says Dr Sawant.

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