But, if you're having bowel issues like pain, irregularity, or bleeding, it could be a sign of a major health issue.
Did you know one way of keeping track of your gastrointestinal (GI) health is as easy as peeking in the toilet before you flush?
Factors such as the size, shape, color and odor of your stool may be indicators of an underlying GI condition that should be discussed with your physician.
Everyone's digestive tract works differently, but ignoring persistent GI symptoms and warning signs in your stool could mean missing opportunities to detect potential health problems and/or underlying illnesses, such as a condition called exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI).
EPI is the inability to properly digest foods due to the lack of digestive enzymes made by your pancreas.
What are the symptoms of EPI?
Typically, symptoms include weight loss, diarrhea, loose stools, trouble tolerating fatty foods, abdominal pain, and rashes.
What should you be looking for after you use the bathroom? Here are some questions to consider:
- What is the ideal size and/or shape of stools?
- When do you need to bring up your bowel movements with a doctor? Why is it important to share changes in bowel movements with a doctor?
- What colors could be warning signs that something is wrong?
- How can the smell indicate an underlying health problem?
- What is EPI, and how can a person's stool indicate if they have it?
Roshini Raj, MD, discusses EPI, the symptoms associated with EPI, and what you should be looking for after a bowel movement.