Keep this as your "Go to the doctor if..." checklist
Here are the 4 main categories where you should seek guidance from your doctor.
It’s black - Poop is meant to be brown from the bile in your liver that supports the digestion process. While it can be black from minor causes like Pepto Bismol, often it indicates internal bleeding and must be checked.
It’s loose and watery for more than 48 hours - If this occurs, you may have a GI infection or something more serious like UC or Crohn’s disease. It can be also be attributed to less severe circumstances like eating something that didn’t agree with you, stress or a poor diet.
It smells really, really bad - It’s not normally a bed of roses, but there are times when you cringe from your own poop. It can indicate several things, so run it by your doctor:
- Cystic fibrosis - This is sometimes the only noticeable symptom for CF
- Celiac disease
- Chronic pancreatitis
- Malabsorptive disorder
Don’t panic, but be sure you visit with your doctor and rule out anything serious.
There’s blood - Occasionally there is blood because of constipation or hemorrhoids, or mixed in with the menstrual cycle. However, if you have blood inside your poop, there is an issue. It can be damage to the GI tract, chronic illness or infection but more concerning is the possibility of cancer of the intestines, colon, or rectum.
If there’s bleeding, your poop is telling you something loud and clear! Be safe. Get to the doctor’s office, pronto.