We hear much about the dangers of diarrhea, constipation, and just what the best kind of bowel movement looks like. But, is it possible that having a slightly wet or runny movement from time to time might be a good thing? Let’s dig deeper to find the answer.
Do you reach for an over-the-counter remedy at the first sign of a runny poop? If so, you may want to hold back on that because there may actually be some value in that wet stool, some reason why your body is eliminating in this fashion.
What is fecal matter comprised of?
Feces are mostly water, about 75% in fact, mixed with the remains of food and bacteria that have fermented in your gut and were not digestible or absorbable by the small intestine. A combination of alive and dead organisms make up a bacterial biomass that comprises 25-54% of the weight of dry poop. Fecal matter also contains undigested carbohydrates, fiber, protein, fat, and dead epithelial cells from the walls of the digestive tract.
What does a “good” poop look like?
Yes, there is such a thing as a “good” poop, and science has gone so far as to define exactly what that looks like. A normal or good poop is one that is medium to dark brown, firm to slightly soft, and passed in one single piece or a few smaller pieces. Of course, there are many variations of this, and our excrement is easily influenced by several things, including what we eat, medicine, and our overall health. The Bristol Poop Chart was developed by doctors at the Bristol Royal Infirmary Hospital in Bristol, England, who found that patients were reluctant to talk about their movements.
What if your poop is wet and watery?
Based on the Bristol Poop Chart, a mostly watery stool is a long way from the perfect poop. However, there are times when your poop may be runny, and, contrary to what you might think, this could be a good thing.
Diarrhea and sickness
If you have ever had a nasty stomach bug or eaten something that wasn’t quite right, you are likely familiar with what is nicknamed, “the runs.” Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Massachusetts have found that the runs actually serve a very important purpose when we are sick. Wet stools help to clear harmful bacteria from our body. Their study published in Cell Host and Microbe found that “proteins in the body can help promote infection clearance via diarrhea.”
Wet stools and detoxification
While detox is not always pleasant, it can be very revitalizing. Before embarking on a detox, it is important to know what can happen to your body. Some of the side effects of a healthy detox include headaches, fatigue, breakouts, and digestive changes, including loose and frequent stools. Watery and runny stools during a detox are a sign that the body is passing excess water along with unwanted bacteria. Although this can be uncomfortable, it is ultimately a good thing.
Runny poop and magnesium
Magnesium is a mineral that is vital for great health and overall wellbeing. About half of the magnesium found in our bodies lies in our bones. The other helps cells perform and is used in many bodily systems. Magnesium is essential for heart function, blood pressure, immune system functioning, and blood sugar balance. There are a number of magnesium-rich foods, including dark chocolate, avocados, nuts, tofu, seeds, leafy greens, and bananas. There is some evidence that magnesium can help improve mood and even usher in a great night’s sleep. People who take magnesium supplements need to be aware that one possible side effect is diarrhea, as magnesium acts as a laxative in the body. If you are taking a magnesium supplement, be aware that you may have a little digestive disturbance until your body balances.
Helpful remedies for diarrhea
When you do experience diarrhea as a result of your diet, an intestinal disturbance, detox, medicine, or supplement, it is important to drink plenty of fluids. You can also help your body rebalance by following a BRAT diet, which includes bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast.
Remember, your body is an amazing machine, and it knows what it is doing. Sometimes a wet stool can be a good thing.
-The Alternative Daily