When you live in a house full of boys, bathroom humor is common, especially if your goal is some sure-fire laughs. It’s been my experience that there’s no age limit on this particular kind of hilarity, because scatological jokes create chuckles from the young to the old. There are times when the boys get on a roll and I even find myself snickering under my breath. You gotta have fun in life, yes?
However, I should probably clarify something here. As long as my boys bring up the subject on their own terms, we’re good. But when they’re asked about their bowel movements in the context of any health issues—or just to confirm that everything is as it should be—nobody wants to talk. Then, when the topic segues back to potty jokes, giggles go into overdrive.
A perfect example of this happens every time we see our clinical nutritionist. All she has to do is ask the boys, “Are you having regular bowel movements?” Suddenly their focus is hijacked. (And it’s so much worse with the follow-up question about consistency!) There’s that familiar awkward pause, only with chuckles instead of silence. If all three boys happen to be in the room together, it takes that much longer to bring them back around. Did I mention this happens every single time? Luckily, our clinical nutritionist is a mother—and extremely patient. She knows the best thing to do is wait for them to get it out of their system.
It wasn’t until I first visited a naturopath that I gave this topic much thought. But as I filled out the new patient questionnaire, I was surprised by the number and variety of questions about my bathroom habits. No other practitioner had ever asked me for the details before. But it turns out that the subject of bowel movements, while funny to little and big kids alike, is actually quite serious.
After that first appointment, I understood why. It only makes sense that our bodily waste indicates how well our bodies are processing the foods we put into it, as well as how our inner workings are functioning. This is why it can be the first sign that things are going awry. While normal is such a subjective word, here’s the scoop on normal, healthy poop:
- It’s smooth, soft, and shaped like a snake or sausage.
- It’s medium to light brown.
- It passes without any straining.
- It lands quietly into the toilet water without any back splash.
- It sinks to the bottom of the bowl.
As this article on Dr. Joseph Mercola’s website points out, paying attention to the shape, sound, and smell of your bowel movements can help you confirm that everything is “A-Okay,” or alert you to see your physician and/or your nutritional consultant. A brief or occasional change isn’t typically a sign of major issues, but if it persists, your incredibly intelligent body may be trying to give you a signal. That’s why it’s worth your time to pay attention to your poop.
Do you ever take the time to glance before you flush?
Photo from iStock/Marcus Lindstrom