What’s your gut telling you?

We tend to get quite squeamish when it comes to our gut health, avoiding toilet talk at all costs. But our bathroom habits are vitally important indicators of our wellbeing.

The frequency, consistency, and colour of your poo all serve as signals, revealing tell-tale clues about your health. So, it’s important to take notice of what your gut is telling you when you go to the loo.

Listen to your gut
The gut is often referred to as the “second brain” and with good reason.


What does the colour of your poo mean?

The colour of your stools can vary a great deal, influenced by your diet, medications, and other factors. Most changes that you can experience are nothing to worry about. But from time to time, colour changes can be an sign of something more serious. The important thing is to know what’s normal for you, and to keep an eye out for anything unusual.

Chalky white or clay coloured

If your body is not producing enough bile, you may notice a chalky colouring to your stools. If this doesn’t change, have a chat with your GP to rule out anything underlying.

Pale and yellow

This could be the result of undigested fat. The absorption of fats by the body is important so have a chat with your GP if you notice this continues.

Green

Green stools can be a sign that food is moving through your large intestine too fast and not breaking down properly. Certain vegetables or green dyes can also be the cause of the colour change.

Red

Firstly, don’t panic! Think about whether you’ve recently eaten beetroot, radish or rhubarb. If so, the natural dyes may be the cause. However, if you notice this continues, the red colouring could indicate bleeding so talk to your GP to rule out anything more serious.

Black

Do you take Iron tablet? If so, you may notice a darkening of your stools. However, the colour change may also be a warning sign. Look out for a tar-like texture or bad smell and talk to your GP if you are concerned.

How often is too often?

Everyone’s body, diet and routines are different so there isn’t a hard and fast rule when it comes to “normal”. It’s best to think about what’s normal for you.

If you drink enough water, exercise regularly and eat a balanced diet consistently, you should have a good idea of what’s regular, when it comes to your bowel. The important thing to look out for is change – are you going more or less often? Has the colour or consistency changed? And have you noticed anything else about your general health?

What does the consistency of your poo mean?

As with colour, the consistency of your stools also tells you a lot about the health of your gut. While change can be a normal response in the short term, persistent extremes can be a sign of something more serious.

Hard stools

Hard stools that are difficult to pass are often related to constipation. When your digestion is sluggish, gut transit time slower down and waste products take longer to pass through.

Dehydration is a major cause so it’s important to make sure you’re drinking enough water. Too little fibre can also contribute to the problem, so make sure you’re getting plenty in your diet.

Loose Stools

Watery stools which can indicate the presence of “bad bacteria” in the gut.

This can be caused by food poisoning, a gastrointestinal virus, IBS or a food intolerance. Keep hydrated, stick to a bland diet, and avoid roughage-rich foods, such as beans or cabbage, which are hard to digest, until you notice an improvement.

Listen to your gut

The gut is often referred to ask the “second brain” and with good reason.

Your gut is a vital hub of information about your health and it’s sensitive, reacting to everything from stress to the food you feed it, medications, and lifestyle choices. If you’ve noticed changes to your bowel habits, or your curious about whether your digestive system is working as efficiently as it should, you may want to take a closer look at your gut health with private testing.

Getting your gut health checked

At Blue Horizon we have a comprehensive range of health checks and diagnostic blood and stool tests available, designed to show a complete picture of your health so that you can make necessary changes to optimise your wellbeing.

When it comes to gut health, there are a range of options available, depending on what you want to discover.

Stool tests

Our range of home-to-laboratory stool tests can reveal a great deal of information about your gut health, by testing for the presence of blood, parasites of certain bacteria.  

Food intolerance testing

Food intolerance testing is a quick and efficient way to reveal the ingredients in your diet which may be triggering a range of inflammatory responses, from IBS and bloating to headaches, fatigue or skin issues. Our home-to-laboratory food intolerance tests can cut through the guesswork, giving you clear information to help you optimise your diet.

How our testing works

After you have selected the right test for you, simply order online through our secure payment system or chat to a member of our team. Once your order is placed, you’ll receive all the information you need to arrange your convenient blood draw appointment at one of our Spire Hospital locations, if you select a blood test, or a kit for stool samples which you can take at home.

Your pathology passport – the information sent to you after you place your order – will also tell you whether you need to fast ahead of your test. Included in each request for cortisol testing are:

  • A doctor’s referral
  • All phlebotomy
  • All laboratory fees
  • Our GP’s comments

Clear, accurate results

The time it takes to receive your results will depend on the type of test you have chosen. When they are ready, your results will be sent directly to you, via email, within the time specified. If you would prefer to receive a paper copy of your results through the post, that can easily be arranged for you.

You can also choose the option of reported or unreported results. Reported results include information and comment from our GP which you may find helpful to discuss with your own consultant, or for your records.

Find out more about our gut health tests