unicorns and astronauts poop tooDid you know that four bags of poop were left by astronauts on the first trip to the moon? We don’t often talk about poop, but it is a normal part of life for everyone on Earth and in space. 

Poop should be a daily part of life, so why are we uncomfortable talking about it? One theory is that our disgust for poop is an evolutionary trait that has protected us from exposure to parasites and bacteria that can lead to disease. 

While there are benefits to this disgust, a lack of openness can leave us wondering if what we are experiencing is normal. This may cause us to overlook important messages the body is giving.

The frequency and consistency of our poop are great indicators of our digestive health which has a tremendous impact on our overall health. So, let’s shake the awkwardness of the conversation so we can know how to listen to our body.


⁠The Basics

Ideally, we will have smooth soft poop that doesn’t fall apart when the toilet is flushed. It should be a chocolatey brown color like that of a Hershey bar. Bowel movements should not have a very strong odor or be difficult to wipe.  

Since bowel movements are one of the body’s ways of eliminating toxins, it is important to have one to three bowel movements consistently each day. It should not hurt to poop, and you shouldn’t have to strain. Doing so can lead to hemorrhoids, prolapse, and other problems. 

When we consider the form of our poop, the Bristol Stool Chart is a helpful tool. This chart was developed by Stephen Lewis and Ken Heaton at the Bristol Royal Infirmary. It is a diagnostic tool that classifies human feces into seven forms. 



Cabot Health, Bristol Stool Chart / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)


Reading the Signs

Once you notice that you are not having ideal bowel movements, you can start working on a solution. Here are some reasons for the symptoms you may be experiencing.

  • Soft poop - may indicate that you are not eating enough fiber.
  • Hard poop - may indicate that you need to drink more water. 
  • Dark poop - could indicate bleeding in the GI tract.
  • Light poop - could indicate malabsorption.
  • Not frequent - less than one bowel movement a day is a sign of constipation.
  • Too frequent - three bowel movements a day is considered diarrhea.
  • Smell - poop doesn’t smell great, but it should not smell terrible either. It could be a sign of a heavy toxin burden if it does.  

It may be important to work with your doctor if you are experiencing any of these trouble signs. While the information above can be a good starting point, there are many other things these symptoms can indicate (bacteria, parasites, thyroid trouble, etc.).



A study done by Dov Sikirov found that squatting is the most effective way to eliminate poop without straining. It is thought that squatting relaxes the muscles and provides a straighter pathway which allows things to flow better.  

The Squatty Potty is a modern toilet stool that allows you to get in a squat position while sitting on the toilet. It was created by a family who was trying to help a loved one dealing with constipation. 

In addition to having a great product design, they are known for their educational, funny, and slightly inappropriate commercials.



(You can buy the classic 7” white squatty potty here or an adjustable height bamboo squatty potty here.)



It’s not every day that we talk about poop or mystic unicorns, but since our digestion greatly impacts our overall health maybe we should. I am comfortable talking about these awkward health topics, so bring them up at your next appointment.

Dr. Jamie

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