Day-to-Day Care

 

Observation:  Stools

 

 

 

Overview
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Most people open their bowels once or twice a day and the faeces passed are soft, dark brown and with a characteristic smell.  They are mainly made up of undigested and indigestible food, mucous membrane, mucus, bacteria and water.
 
The characteristics normal faeces may vary according to age and diet. For instances, if a  large amount of fluid is taken the faeces will tends to be soft.  A dry diet gives rise to hard faeces.  A high protein diet tends to make the faeces smell offensive and appear dry.  A milk diet will render the faeces dry and crumbly and pale in colour.

 

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Types of Stools and Indications

 

Hard stools:  an indication of constipation.

Frequent, loose stools:  an indication of diarrhoea.

Bright red blood in the stool:  an indication of bleeding in the lower intestinal tract, such as the large intestine or rectum.  It could also due to hemorrhoid.

Dark tarry and sticky stools:  usually results from bleeding in the upper intestinal tract.  The characteristic of the stools is known as melena where blood has undergone changes in the digestive track.

Black stools:  may indicate bleeding in the upper intestinal tract, such as the stomach or the patient may be taking medication such as iron supplements.

Pale, bulky, greasy, offensive stool:  an indication that the patient may be suffering from liver or gall bladder problems.

Green stools: an indication of digestive disorder.

Yellow, greasy, foul-smelling:  Excess fat in the stool, such as due to a malabsorption disorder.

 

Consult your doctor if you are concerned about the color of the stool.

 

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Stool Consistency Diagram

 

 

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