If you are on any of the many facebook groups for weight loss surgery, you will notice TMI posts in abundance. The color of your poop, the hardness of your poop, the frequency of pooping, well, they are all part of the weight loss surgery conversation.
First, let’s discuss the color of your poop. I was at the GI doctor’s office the other day and saw an electronic poster about the color of your poop. Brown is good. Black is of concern. Red is really bad. Yellow could signal liver issues, and green means the food is just making its way through your system too quickly.
Brown tones from light to dark mean that your poop has been making its way down the intestines at the right pace. Your body has pulled the nutrients from it along the way and all is good.
Black typically means that something is wrong. Many times, if you have an ulcer of some bleeding in the intestines, and it has dried up, it can turn the poop dark. Call your doctor and get it checked out.
Red means that you have a more active bleed in the intestines and you really need to get to the doctor to get it checked.
Yellow could signal liver issues as it signals a reduction in bile salt production. This bile salt production is lessened when you have liver issues, so you should be asking your doctor to run liver function tests.
Green means that either you ate a ton of kale or spinach or that the roughage that you ate was fibrous enough that it was not able to digest in the system and thus it moved everything along kind of quickly. When your poop moves from the small intestine to the large intestine, it typically turns to brown. Bile is green and helps move things along. If it moves things too quickly and you have not eaten a large quantity of green foods, then it could be bile pushing the food too quickly through the system.
Lastly, let’s discuss rainbow colored poop. If you have rainbow colored poop, you either ate a gallon of sprinkles, or you may just be a unicorn in a Squatty Potty ad. I hear that the Squatty Potty is awesome by the way.
Secondly, let’s discuss the texture of your poop. A good poop is one that comes out gently and easily in a firm and long (or short) sausage shape. You don’t want it to be creamy like the Squatty Potty unicorn’s poop. Creamy poop is just eww. If your poop is too firm then you may want to discuss with your doctor the use of laxatives and stool softeners.
Weight loss surgery requires a person to focus on getting in lots of protein. Many times, even though we eat lots of meat, sometimes we want to supplement our protein requirements with cheese, yogurt, and milk. The problem with cheese however is that it can bind things up in the colon and next thing you know you are shooting out rabbit pellets or boulders.
For those moments when I just want to go, go, go, I typically choose a product called Swiss Kriss. It is a natural laxative/stool softener and it REALLY works for me. If I haven’t gone in a few days, then I take a pill or two and it just helps move things along. Other favorites from weight loss surgery patients are Miralax, Colase, and other over the counter laxatives. Be sure to check with your surgeon’s office to make sure which one is right for you.
Many patients, right after surgery do not poop for a few days. Mine was day 6. Of course, you are not really getting much in your system for the first week as you are on clear liquid and protein shakes for the most part.
The big moral of this story about poop is that you should listen to your body. If you are not pooping beyond the first week post op, something is probably wrong. It may be as simple as the food is just moving slowly, you had too much cheese, or it may be a more sinister option such as a blocked bowel. Either way, listen to your body and call your doctor. They will know what to look for in your situation.
With that, I leave you with the Squatty Potty ad. It should brighten your day and make you poop rainbows…or you could just eat a gallon of sprinkles.