A local charity raising awareness and supporting people affected by bowel cancer in the Isle of Man

Poo – What it can show us, tell us and teach us

Just as we can tell much about a dinosaur from its petrified poo, we can tell much about a human by the poo they poo out.  In spite of the topic’s weirdness, it is actually quite a serious topic, which can perhaps even save your life.  Knowing how to read your own poo, or the poo of your children, can help you understand what’s going on with the intestines, liver and diet.  It may even alert you to some dangerous illnesses that cause blood to appear in the stool.

What their colour tells you.

Yes, the colour of your poo can tell you something about your general health.

Firstly, if your poo is a milk chocolate color, that’s the best.

Black poos are warning bells – could be cancer and bleeding up in your intestines. See a doctor fast.

If the poo is too dark, that could suggest a liver problem.

Yellow poo may suggest your liver is not producing enough bile for digesting food.

Yellow bits in your poo suggest you ate corn and that you are not chewing your food enough.

Green poo may mean your liver is overproducing bile, too much bile. Green poo could also mean you ate salads and green vegetables the day or two before.

Green poo may also mean you are not digesting your food very well – if this is the case your green poo will also contain bits of lettuce, silver beet, spinach or other green food stuffs. Apart from mango and watermelon, most fruits will be fully digested in a healthy digestion system – so if they show up in the poo, you may have a digestive problem.

Whitish, foggy areas on your poo may suggest liver problems – the fat in the food not being broken down fully.

Bright red suggests undigested blood in your stool, such as from internal haemorrhoids.

Dark red in poops suggests bleeding in the intestines which requires medical assessment fast.

What their floating or sinking characteristics tell you

Vegetarians should have floating poop – veggies produce gas that get caught in the poo, making the poo lighter than water.

Big meat and junk food eaters will often have floaters too. The poo contains fat, the fat is lighter than water, so the poo floats. This can also mean a liver problem, as the fat is not being broken down fully.

For those of us who eat both veggies and meat, expect your poo to sink.

Size does matter.

The more you eat, the more you should be pooing.

Ideal poo is 6 to 10 inches in length – 15 to 25cm – pooing two to three out each sitting. Width not so important, as width of poo mostly determined by the width of your colon.

What the texture tells you

Texture of poo is hard to describe. A poo that looks smooth or very rough suggests either poor digestion or poor diet. The ideal poo is in between.

Vegetables make stools soft, but if you have no veggies and your stool is soft, then you may have a problem. Without veggies the stools should be hard, which is good if you want constipation and resulting haemorrhroids.


Runny poo is a diarrhoea and can be caused by a germ (virus or bacteria) or diet or other condition.

If it’s a germ causing the runny poo, then keep the fluids up, like flat lemonade and avoid eating anything except dry toast or dry biscuits which are most likely safe to eat.

If the runny poo is diet based, it more than likely means you are living on cereal – high sugar and lots of fibre. So cut down on the sugary stuff and give your body a chance – all that wiping could cause external haemorrhoids.

If your runny poo is not a germ or diet, then you have a condition that requires medical assessment.


As you can clearly see, the colour, buoyancy, texture and size of poo all tells us something about your health, particularly about your diet, your digestive system, your liver and may alert us to other conditions, like cancer or typhoid fever, that one may be suffering from.

In spite of the strangeness of this topic, the information is none-the-less vital to know. It could easily save the life of yourself or of your child.