Bowel cancer symptoms: How often should you poo? What a healthy stool looks like

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Bowel cancer symptoms: How often should you poo? What a healthy stool looks like


Bowel cancer is one of the most common types of cancer to be diagnosed in the UK, according to the NHS.

It’s most commonly diagnosed in people over the age of 60 years old, it added.

Bowel cancer symptoms include a persistent change in bowel habit, or having a constant abdominal pain.

But, signs of bowel cancer can be difficult to spot, and may not necessarily make you feel unwell.

One of the best ways to know whether you’re at risk of the cancer is to check your poo after using the toilet.

Some people believe that a single toilet trip in a day is a sign of good health, said the Taymount Clinic.

But, that’s false. In fact, it doesn’t matter how many times you pass a stool in a day, as long as it’s consistent over a long period of time, it said.

“It is a myth that passing stool once a day is healthy,” said the clinic.

“In fact, any frequency is healthy as long as it isn’t impacting your quality of life or it isn’t brought on by food intolerances.

“One in five [21 per cent] Brits said they pass stool twice a day, and 36 per cent said the longest they have ever been without ‘going’ is three to five days.”

Any change in bowel habit lasting longer than three weeks should be seen by a doctor.

That includes changes to the amount of times you visit the toilet to pass stools.

“The more important factor to consider is the consistency of your stool,” added the Taymount Clinic.

“It shouldn’t be rock solid or liquid. If you are somewhere in between this is normally a good sign of good gut health.”

Almost half of people in the UK have never checked their poo, according to a Taymount Clinic survey.

A healthy stool should be smooth and sausage-shaped, with small cracks on the surface, according to Ramsay Health Care UK.

Mushy stools, or poo that’s entirely liquid could be a warning sign of bowel cancer.

Similarly, stools that appear dark red or black could be a symptom of the cancer.

Blood from higher up in the bowel goes dark red, and can make stools look like tar.

Speak to a GP if you’re worried about the signs or symptoms of bowel cancer.



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