Even though many people might be too grossed out to check their own feces, they actually hold important information related to your health status. If you want to keep track of your health, you should observe changes in stool color, texture and even smell. You can do this from afar, you don’t actually have to go in the toilet bowl and analyze it, let’s leave that up to trained medical professionals. If the changes are significant, you’ll notice them right away.
Natural Color Changes
A normal stool generally has a brown to dark brown color, and a consistent texture that is not too runny, nor rock-hard. Depending on your diet, your stool is bound to change color and texture from time to time, but that doesn’t mean you’re sick, it just means you ate something different. For example, if you eat too many leafy greens in one day, your feces are bound to get that greenish tinge to them. If your diet is rich in iron, or you’re on an iron supplement treatment, you stool can appear to be unnaturally dark brown. However, this is no cause for concern, and any doctor will tell you that.
When It’s Time to Worry
However, some changes should worry you, because they might be disease related. Diseases such as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, ulcerative colitis and diverticular disease have been known to alter the appearance of a patient’s stool. However, there are three main changes in color and texture you need to look out for:
- Stool turns yellow, watery texture. This is a clear sign of diarrhea. While diarrhea is not necessarily a serious affection all the time, if it persists for more than one or two days despite your best efforts to treat it, you need to check with your doctor immediately. Untreated diarrhea can have a long array of very unpleasant complications, such as extreme dehydration and even intestinal bleeding.
- Stool turns red or black. If this happens to you, chances are you have blood in your stool. The blood can come from anywhere inside the gastro-intestinal tract, such as the stomach, the colon, the small intestine or even the esophagus. As you may well be aware of, randomly bleeding inside is not an issue to be taken lightly. Go see your doctor or healthcare provider immediately in order to determinate the underlying cause for this issue, and start treating it.
As mentioned before, if you are experiencing any of these two changes in stool color, or actually seed blood in your stool go see your doctor immediately. You need to have some tests performed in order to determine what the underlying issue might be, and start treating it accordingly. In such cases, your doctor knows best, and any medical decision you make should be an informed one.