I’m a stomach doctor: Here is what the shape of your poop means about your bowel health

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Dr Nigma Talib is a naturopathic doctor and gut health expert who shared on TikTok what different stool shapes show about overall health

A doctor has revealed the shocking reason our stools are different shapes and what it can mean for our health. 

Dr Nigma Talib, a naturopathic doctor and gut expert, has gone viral on TikTok sharing the nicknames she gives different feces shapes.

The health expert, who has been practicing for more than 20 years, shared a video that garnered 5.8 million views and over 108,000 likes. 

In the post, Dr Talib identified some of the different shapes of stool – and what they can signify for our health. 

Hot dog shaped

A stool type Dr Talib nicknamed the ‘hot-dog sausage’ is the ‘perfect’ poo. 

The first type was round poop. This type can be hard to pass or only come out in small amounts. 

It could be a sign of constipation and an indicator that you’re eating too much protein and not enough fiber. 

If you’re getting too much protein, consider putting less meat on your plate and instead eating a variety of fruits and vegetables to up your fiber intake.

For example, a cup of raspberries or broccoli can have anywhere from 2.6 to 6.5 grams of fiber alone.

The United States Department of Agriculture recommends filling your plate with half fruits and vegetables, 25 percent whole grains, and just 25 percent protein. 

Floating 

By itself, floating poop isn’t always a sign of something serious. 

It could, for instance, just mean that your body has too much gas. 

This can happen after any sudden dietary changes, such as adding foods like broccoli, beans, and lentils into your diet. 

Lactose could also cause excess amounts of gas. 

However, Dr Talib also said floating poop could be linked to a lack of bile, which the liver makes to filter waste such as toxins and excessive cholesterol. 

Not enough bile in stool could be an indication of bile acid malabsorption. When bile isn’t properly absorbed, it causes chemical imbalances, which eventually can result in diarrhea. 

If your poop floats, it could also mean it has too much fat in it, Dr Talib said. This can be a symptom of celiac disease and gastrointestinal infections. 

Round stools can be difficult to pass, indicating too much protein and not enough fiber

Round stools can be difficult to pass, indicating too much protein and not enough fiber

Caterpillar shaped 

‘Caterpillar’-shaped stools could mean that you are dehydrated and or suffering from constipation.

These stools are lumpy and shaped like logs. Similar to rounder shapes, this kind of stool can be hard to pass if you have constipation.

Caterpillar poop could also mean you’re dehydrated, which goes hand in hand with constipation. 

The intestines and colon absorb water from the stool in order to keep the body hydrated. 

If there is no water to draw from, stools become lumpy and caterpillar shaped.

Drinking plenty of water can soften this stool. Setting a daily goal for yourself and gradually increasing it could help you drink more water if you struggle to hydrate enough.

Porridge-like 

Though not entirely liquid, porridge poop is considered a mild form of diarrhea. 

Dr Talib attributed this type to food intolerance, anxiety, and excessive magnesium. 

She also said this type could be due to infection. 

If it lasts no more than a few days, it is likely from a common virus or stomach bug. 

However, diarrhea has also been linked to bacteria such as E. Coli. 

Other symptoms of E. Coli include stomach cramps and vomiting, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

Too much magnesium, either from diet or medications, could also lead to diarrhea, as well as stomach cramps and vomiting, she said. 

Mucus-like 

Dr Talib’s last stool shape was ‘mucus poop,’ which can have white or yellow streaks in it.

This can be an indicator of inflammatory bowel disease, primarily Crohn’s disease. 

Crohn’s disease is a bowel condition that can cause inflammation anywhere in the digestive tract, from the esophagus to the anus. 

In addition to stools with mucus in them, Crohn’s causes diarrhea, malnutrition, blood in the stool, and abdominal pain, according to Mayo Clinic

An estimated 500,000 people in the United States have Crohn’s.  

Dr Talib also attributed this stool shape to bacterial infections such as salmonella and shigellosis. 

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