The truth about 'marble' poos – and how it's a sign you need to act now or risk painful complications | The Sun

WHEN it comes to poop consistency, doctors consider the gold standard to be long, soft and sausage shaped.

Not only is it easier to pass, it also indicates that you're eating enough fibre and not constipated.

Now you might be wondering: what does it mean if my number twos are more like marbles?

Hard, separate and lumpy poos shouldn't be something you experience too often, as they typically mean you're constipated.

NHS guidance says you'll be able to tell you're constipated if:

  • you have not had a poo at least three times during the last week
  • the poo is often large and dry, hard or lumpy
  • you are straining or in pain when you have a poo

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Aside from straining over your toilet bowl for what feels like ages, constipation can also leaving you feeling bloated and sick or cause a stomach ache.

But according to GP Dr Sarah Jarvis, the uncomfortable affliction can also bring on painful complications in the long term.

She told Sun Health: "Your poo can definitely say a lot about your bowel health.

"Constipation is linked to all sorts of other medical problems such as piles, diverticular disease and even an increased risk of bowel cancer if this is a long term issue."

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Constipation has a number of causes and it can be pretty common during pregnancy and after giving birth.

But it can also be caused by:

  • not eating enough fibre, which is found in fruits, vegetables and cereals
  • not drinking enough fluids
  • not moving enough and spending long periods sitting or lying down
  • being less active and not exercising
  • often ignoring the urge to go to the toilet
  • changing your diet or daily routine
  • a side effect of medicine
  • stress, anxiety or depression

Not holding off when you get the urge to poo might do a lot for your bowel health and make your toilet trips easier.

It's also a good idea to add some fibrous foods to your diet, drinking lots of fluids and cutting down on booze.

Wheat bran, oats or linseed might do the trick and ease your backed up bowels.

And incorporating exercise into your routine might get things moving inside as well.

You've probably heard of the Bristol stool chart at some point or other.

What you might not know is that it's based on a study of 2,000 people published in 1992, which sought to understand people's bowel habits and split them into different categories.

It remains a pretty reliable tool to let you know what's going on with your body to cause your poo to look and feel the way it does.

For example, a hard, lumpy number two could indicate you're constipated or lacking fibre while something looser can mean you're suffering from a tummy bug.

Marble-like pellets that look like nuts and hard to pass are number one on the chart.

As mentioned previously, this is an indicator that you're constipated.

Caterpillar-like poops are number two on the chart. This basically describes poos that are long but still lumpy, indicating mild constipation.

Type three – the hot dog – is long and might have some cracks on the surface, but it's the so-called gold standard of poop.

A smooth and snake-like bowel movement – type four – is also considered normal.

Amoeba-like poos – small and easy to pass blobs – could mean you need need to add some fibre into your diet, according to Healthline.

Type six and seven – the soft serve and Jackson Pollock of poops – is where things get dicey.

They basically mean you've got a case of the runs, as your stool moved too quickly through your bowels to form a healthy poo.

Healthline recommended you try drinking more water and electrolyte-infused beverages to help improve this.

Dr Will Bulsiewicz – a doctor specialising in gut health – recently shared a simple maths formula to get the bottom of what's causing your runny poops.

A hard or runny poop here and there happens to the best of us, but irregularities in your poop can be a sign something's up.

Healthline recommends you speak to a doctor if you notice irregularities in your bowel habits for more than a couple days.

But it's especially important to speak to an expert if you notice any blood in your poop.

It's not always as obvious as you'd think.

Blood can make your poo red – as can eating red-tinged foods like beetroot – but bleeding can also make your number twos black.

Blood in your poop could be a warning sign of bowel cancer.

Other symptoms can include:

  • changes in your poo, such as having softer poo, diarrhoea or constipation that is not usual for you
  • needing to poo more or less often than usual for you
  • bleeding from your bottom
  • often feeling like you need to poo, even if you've just been to the toilet
  • tummy pain
  • bloating
  • losing weight without trying
  • feeling very tired for no reason



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The truth about 'marble' poos – and how it's a sign you need to act now

What's normal when it comes to bowel habits will differ for everyone.

Medics say a healthy person should be pooping between three times a week and three times a day.

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