Between one and two in 10 people in the UK are thought to have IBS according to Bupa.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a condition in which your bowel can feel more sensitive or over-react when you eat certain foods.
Those that have this condition may already have an idea on the foods they can have and which they should avoid altogether.
We have also become more aware of what our faeces means when it comes to our health, such as the infamous Bristol Stool Chart which is designed to show the different shapes of poo you can have.
The chart was designed to help doctors diagnose possible digestive problems, such as constipation or diarrhoea – both of which can be symptoms of IBS.
But how well do the rest of us know the status of our health by just looking at the colour of our poo?
PrecisionBiotics, a leading gut health supplement brand founded by scientists 20 years ago, have redesigned Pantone’s colour chart, creating the ‘PooTone chart’ to help people understand what the colour of their poo could be telling them.
The ‘PooTone chart’ highlights possible colours your poo can be, identifying the meaning behind each as well as what the colour could say about your health.
Brown Standard Poo
This is the colour of poo we are mostly familiar with and what we hope to see when we go for a number two. If your poo is a brown colour, which can be light or dark brown, then this means that your bowel and gut health is healthy and normal. Although, you should still keep an eye on the frequency and consistency of your poo as this could be an indication of other conditions.
If your poo is a bright red colour then this can be caused from eating foods such as beetroots, tomatoes or consuming any food or drink which has red food colouring in it. However, it could also be due to bleeding in the lower intestinal tract which can be signs of severe food poisoning, crohn’s disease or bowel cancer. If symptoms persist however you should speak to your GP.
Yellow stools can be caused by having excess fat inside the poo which could be caused by a malabsorption condition such as celiac disease. This colour of poo can have a bad smell and can often be described as being ‘greasy’. Yellow poo might be a sign that any fat you consume through your diet isn’t being consumed properly in your body.
Green stools can be a sign of food moving through the large intestine too quickly, which can be caused by diarrhoea, this means the bile has less time to break down any food. It can also be caused from eating a large quantity of green vegetables or if your poo is a very dark green, almost black, this could be because of iron supplements. The colour green could in some cases be a symptom of having a gut infection, if symptoms persist, be sure to see your GP.
Seeing the colour orange from your stool can be caused from eating a lot of foods which contain the compound beta-carotene. This is found in vegetables such as carrots and squash and even some supplements.
Experiencing blue or black poo, can likely be caused from consuming lots of blueberries or foods with blue food colouring in or if your stool is black this can be due to if you’ve eaten a lot of liquorice or consumed lots of iron supplements. However, a dark colour like this could also be because there is bleeding coming from the upper gastrointestinal tract, always make sure you consult your GP if your symptoms persist.
Not Quite White
A white or pale stool is caused by a lack of bile which may indicate the ducts that connect your organs to your bowel might be blocked. It’s also commonly caused by some antidiarrheal drugs which contain the substance bismuth subsalicylate.
The ‘PooTone chart’ is a great way to get to know what the colour of your poo means, but if you do experience abnormal colour changes, ensure you speak to a doctor.