8 Types Of Poop That You Should Never, Ever Ignore

by Rebecca Endicott
Becca is a writer and aspirational dog owner living in NYC.

There’s a huge difference between an unhealthy poop and a healthy one.

Most of us can tell instinctively when a BM is just not going as planned.

Pooping that hurts or sends you running to the john over and over again? Probably an unhealthy poop.

In fact, going “number two” is a leading health problem for many Americans. Fortunately, it is possible to change your diet and habits to make sure every bowel movement is a good one. However, plenty of us may not even realize there’s a problem!

That’s why it’s important that we all take an occasional peek in the bowl and assess the situation.

If you really want to go into detail, you can compare the fruit of your labor against the Bristol Stool Form Scale.

Even if you don’t want the dirty details, everyone should know when their latest BM is just plain bad news.

Scroll through to learn the eight most common kinds of unhealthy poop and what they reveal about your health.

Unhealthy Pooping #1: It Hurts — Like, Really Hurts

blood in poop
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Pooping should never hurt, but sometimes, it happens. Usually, a painful poop can just be chalked up to gas pain or constipation.

However, if your BM really, really hurts on a regular basis, you need to pay close attention.

According to WebMD, painful pooping is most commonly a sign of an anal fissure, or a small tear in the anus.

In more rare cases, the pain can be a symptom of severe and life-threatening conditions. These include diverticulitis and even colon cancer.

Unhealthy Pooping #2: There’s Blood

blood in poop
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Blood in your toilet is always a sign of an unhealthy poop. It can range in severity, but you should never ignore this symptom.

If it’s just a spot or two of blood, you might be dealing with a hemorrhoid.

However, if there are streaks of blood in the toilet or on the paper — or if the stool itself is red, purple, or black — it could be a sign of a rectal bleed.

If you have a large amount of blood, go to the doctor straightaway.

Unhealthy Pooping #3: It’s Yellowish And Extremely Smelly

blood in poop
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

All poop is smelly, but if a BM smells extremely foul, that’s a sign that your poop is unhealthy. It may also have a yellowish khaki tint.

According to Healthline, this color and smell combo usually indicates that your body isn’t absorbing nutrients from your food effectively.

Sometimes, this symptom is associate with a chronic illness like Celiac disease. Other times, it indicates inflammation in your pancreas.

If you’ve eaten untreated water or food, it could also be caused by a microbe called giardia.

Unhealthy Pooping #4: You’re Constantly Backed Up

blood in poop
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Constipation is another common indicator that something is up with your BMs.

Officially, Mayo Clinic defines it as “infrequent bowel movements or difficult passage of stools that persists for several weeks or longer.” 

Constipation usually indicates that you need to add more fiber to your diet. However, persistent, chronic constipation can be a sign of a more pressing problem.

Sometimes, it’s a sign of a blockage in your colon, which is always an urgent matter.

In other cases, it could be an early warning sign of a condition that impacts your nerves and muscles.

Unhealthy Pooping #5: You Can’t Stop Going

blood in poop
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Healthy bowel movements do not send you running for the bathroom at the drop of a hat. Unfortunately, diarrhea does.

If you feel an urgent need to “go” all the time, and you’re producing soft, liquid stools, your poop is unhealthy.

Most cases of diarrhea are linked to something minor, like a stomach bug.

However, diarrhea that is persistent and doesn’t clear up in a day or two can leave you dangerously dehydrated and often indicates a more serious problem, like ulcerative colitis.

Unhealthy Pooping #6: Your Poops Are Very Narrow

blood in poop
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Watch out for long, pencil-thin poops.

Your intestines are a tube, and when something blocks part of the tube, the result is a very narrow stool that managed to squeeze past.

If you notice a stringy poop, your first step should be to up your fiber intake and see whether constipation was a factor.

If that doesn’t work and the problem persists, call your doctor.

Pencil-like poos can indicate that a tumor or another blockage is stuck in your bowel and is causing the unhealthy poop symptoms.

Unhealthy Pooping #7: You Have ‘Floaters’

blood in poop
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

A healthy poop usually sinks to the bottom of the toilet bowl, while an unhealthy poop might float right up to the top.

If your poop floats, it’s a sign that there’s a lot of fat and grease packed into it. Fats are lighter than water, so they buoy the stool up to the surface.

This could be a simple indicator that you have too much fat in your diet. It could show that your body isn’t absorbing and processing fat correctly, which can be an early symptom of pancreatic disease.

Unhealthy Pooping #8: It’s Very Pale

blood in poop
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Any bowel movement that appears whitish, tan, or clay-like is unhealthy poop.

These unusually pale bowl movements happen when your body’s bile isn’t draining properly. The liver makes bile, which gives poop it’s brown color, and the gallbladder releases the bile into the digestive system.

If the poop is pale, it might indicate that your liver isn’t functioning properly, or that your gallbladder’s bile duct is blocked.

Even if your BMs are healthy as can be, it’s a good idea to take an occasional peek in the toilet, just to make sure all the plumbing is working right!

And if you were fascinated to learn about the unhealthy poop red flags that might be hiding in the toilet bowl, make sure to SHARE with friends and family.