Monday, April 27, 2009

Poop: Everything & Anything You Need To Know

What is poop made of?

About 3/4 of your average turd is made of water. Of course, this value is highly variable - the water content of diarrhea is much higher, and the amount of water in poop that has been retained (voluntarily or otherwise) is lower. Water is absorbed out of fecal material as it passes through the intestine, so the longer a turd resides inside before emerging, the drier it will be.
Of the remaining portion of the turd, about 1/3 is composed of dead bacteria. These microcorpses come from the intestinal garden of microorganisms that assist us in the digestion of our food. Another 1/3 of the turd mass is made of stuff that we find indigestible, like cellulose, for instance. This indigestible material is called "fiber," and is useful in getting the turd to move along through the intestine, perhaps because it provides traction. The remaining portion of the turd is a mixture of fats such as cholesterol, inorganic salts like phosphates, live bacteria, dead cells and mucus from the lining of the intestine, and protein.

Why does poop stink?

Poop stinks as a result of the products of bacterial action. Bacteria produce smelly, sulfur- or nitrogen-rich organic compounds such as indole, skatole, and mercaptans, and the inorganic gas hydrogen sulfide. These are the same compounds that give farts their odor.

Why is poop brown?

The color comes mainly from bilirubin, a pigment that arises from the breakdown of red blood cells in the liver and bone marrow. The actual metabolic pathway of bilirubin and its byproducts in the body is very complicated, so we will simply say that a lot of it ends up in the intestine, where it is further modified by bacterial action. But the color itself comes from iron. Iron in hemoglobin in red blood cells gives blood its red color, and iron in the waste product bilirubin gives rise to its brown color.

What other colors of poop are possible?

Poop is mostly shades of brown or yellow, but other colors can arise under certain circumstances. For example, someone with a bleeding ulcer might have tarry black poop from the presence of partially digested blood. Bleeding in the intestine, from an anal fissure or split, for example, can stain the poop red. Bloody poop can also be a sign of colon cancer, so you should get it checked out by a doctor if you see blood in your stool. Some illnesses in babies gives them green or even blue-green poop. But another source of blue poop in children is more innocent: it can come from eating a concentrated source of blue food coloring such as ice cream. Intense red food coloring can produce bright red poop. Sometimes brightly colored foods pass through the gut almost unchanged, and the turd may be speckled with bright red fragments such as pimentos, or bright yellow kernels of corn.Poop can also be stained red if you eat beets, according to Ellen. One can experience white poop after consuming a barium milkshake for the purposes of getting an x-ray of the upper gastrointestinal tract.

What is the cause of yellow poop?

According to Michael F., one cause of this is Gilbert's Syndrome. "I have a benign condition known as Gilbert's Syndrome. It affects quite a few people, males mostly, in their teens+. It is a deficiency in the liver where red blood cells are broken down. I was informed when this was diagnosed that the broken down blood cells is what gives poop a lot of its color. People with Gilbert's Syndrome don't process as many blood cells - or not as fast - and their poop tends to be pale brown or yellow from the lower quantity of discarded red blood cell matter. This is especially true if there is less matter in your intestines (i.e., on a diet - as I have noticed) to remove the excess blood cells. Very frightening until you determine what is causing it. Gilbert's is a totally benign thing that doesn't harm anyone, although when a person is sick they can turn yellowish as if jaundiced, but it is not jaundice." Another cause of yellow poop is a giardia infection. Giardia are tiny Protozoan parasites that can invade the intestines and result in severe yellow diarrhea. It is a dangerous and contagious affliction that doctors are obligated to report to the Center for Disease Control.

What is the cause of green poop?

I have consulted with a doctor, a physiologist and a microbiologist on this question, and the following summarizes their answers: Healthy people can have green poop if they eat a diet rich in leafy green vegetables, or if they consume large quantities of food coloring (in ice cream, cake frosting etc.). Green poop can also be caused by excess iron in the diet, from dietary supplements, for example. If the body does not absorb all the iron consumed, the iron may stain the poop green, the color of iron (II) salts. Ordinarily, the green color may be masked by the normal brown poop color, but if digestion is thrown off by illness so that bilirubin is less concentrated in the intestine, the green color may become apparent. This can happen when a person is afflicted with diarrhea. Green poop in sick babies may come from iron in baby formula not being properly absorbed, or by green pigments in bile salts (again, green from iron).

Why is bird poop white?

Unlike mammals, birds don't urinate. Their kidneys extract nitrogenous wastes from the bloodstream, but instead of excreting it as urea dissolved in urine as we do, they excrete it in the form of uric acid. Uric acid has a very low solubility in water, so it emerges as a white paste. This material, as well as the output of the intestines, emerges from the bird's cloaca. The cloaca is a multi-purpose hole for birds: their wastes come out of it, they have sex by putting their cloacas together, and females lay eggs out of it.

Why do dogs eat poop?

Many animals eat poop on a regular basis. These include rabbits, rodents, gorillas, many insects such as dung beetles and flies, and yes, dogs. (Keep that in mind the next time a dog wants to lick you!) Herbivores such as rabbits and rodents eat their own poop because their diet of plants is hard to digest efficiently, and they have to make two passes at it to get everything out of the meal. This is equivalent to a cow chewing its cud, only cows are able to re-eat their food without having to poop it out first. Another reason why animals eat poop is that poop contains vitamins produced by their intestinal bacteria. The animal is unable to absorb the vitamins through the intestinal wall, but can get at them by eating the poop. Another reason that animals such as dogs and flies eat poop is that poop contains a certain amount of protein. Dogs are particularly fond of cat poop because cat poop is high in protein. I had a friend with a dog and a cat, and he never had to clean the kitty litter. The dog took care of it.
Stumble Upon Toolbar