Common Digestive Problems: What does it mean?
Understanding our bathroom habits isn’t typically something we learn growing up. However, we can see the biggest changes in common digestive problems by understanding our signs and symptoms.
In learning what our bowel movements mean, we can make informed decisions about when it is time to seek out help. There are times when we should be allowed to take action in our own hands, but the important thing is making sure that decision is an informed one and we also know when it is time to get help.
Every day, we eat a large variety of foods which contain nutrients, anti nutrients, enzymes, and sometimes chemicals. We also consume protein, fat, carbs, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals. Food is not just what it appears to be from our 5 senses. In fact, it is almost like we have a 6th sense for what we need, and our choices can have very biological reasons. Some cravings tell a better story about what your body needs than it does of your strength and will power.
Many of the following common digestive problems and their causes can also present as nutrient deficiencies or toxicities. Because there are many possibilities of nutrient deficiencies related to each symptom, it is hard to describe how each plays their role.
Some of the more common nutrient depletions or toxicities that result in GI symptoms are: antioxidant, fiber, magnesium, calcium, potassium, zinc, b vitamins (B3, B5, B12, folate, choline), chloride, copper, iodine, vitamin E, vitamin A, vitamin K. In addition to these nutrients being potential causes from either a depletion and/or toxicity level, many of them depend on other nutrients for their proper absorption. Sometimes our nutrient status might not be low or high of any of these, but rather of another nutrient that is required for the use and function of these nutrients.
Here are some of the basics, top signs & symptoms, and what to consider:
Common Digestive Problems: Color
Ideal color to see in your stool is a medium brown. Very often we are not observant or checking in with our digestive health by taking a quick glance before flushing the toilet. While it isn’t exactly polite or a glamorous conversation to bring up, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t important to check. There are a variety of other colors that we can notice in our stool, and some of them might be really important to pay attention to. Some of the variations we see are:
Usually an indication of liver and/or gallbladder inflammation. It could mean that bile excreted by the gallbladder is either not effective or is being dumped into the digestive tract. Ideally, we want a deliberate stream of bile according to our diet and when we eat.
Usually an indication that bile is not entering into the digestive tract. This can be potentially dangerous for your liver and gallbladder. This is a potential sign for gallstones or liver dysfunction.
If you notice a darker color than usual, this is typically indicative of an upper GI bleed. Blood entering into the GI tract will begin to clot as it moves through, making it a darker color. There are a multitude of reasons behind this from polyps, cancer, medication, NSAIDS, diet, or food intolerance/allergies.
If you notice a reddish color, this can be caused by eating the very pigmented beets or, more commonly, lower GI bleeds. There are a multitude of reasons behind this from polyps, cancer, medication, NSAIDS, diet, or food intolerance/allergies.
If your stool appears different in color, especially if it becomes a consistent occurrence, you will want to seek out help from a well rated gastroenterologist.