• icon01August 21, 2014
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Our bodies are designed to be able to process and remove toxins via key elimination channels including our liver, kidneys and digestive system. 

While it’s not something many of us talk freely about, your stools—their appearance and frequency—say a lot about you and detoxification!

The state of your stool can give you some clues about:

  • What’s going on inside your digestive tract
  • Excess stress on the liver or gallbladder
  • Infection
  • Shifts in hormonal balance
  • Mental or emotional disorders

What a Healthy Bowel Movement Looks Like

In 1997, a researcher and professor at the University of Bristol named Kenneth Heaton created the Bristol stool scale. Heaton and his colleagues suggested that stool size and consistency are two useful ways to measure transit time.

Transit time describes the amount of time it takes accumulated waste to move through the intestinal tract. One of the most important factors that affects transit time is your inner ecosystem—or the communities of microbes living in the small and large intestine.

According to the Bristol stool scale, healthy elimination is:

  • Long
  • Smooth
  • Soft, without cracks

Small, hard lumps or cracked, lumpy stool are signs of constipation—or slow transit time. Even if you have a bowel movement every day, you may be slightly constipated if your stool is released in small, hard lumps.

Watery stool with undigested bits of food or stool that is released in small, formless blobs is classified as diarrhoea—and this indicates fast transit time. If you have fast transit time and eliminate multiple times a day, but your stool is well-formed, you do not have diarrhoea.

4 Important Stool Rules

Chinese medicine and the language used in Chinese medicine give us a little more insight into stool analysis. Chinese medicine uses the principles of excess and emptiness to understand the body.

  1. Constipation with Signs of Excess:

Constipation that is the result of excess is accompanied by other signs of heat within the body. This includes:

  • Stool with a strong, foul smell
  • Red eyes
  • A tongue coating that is dry and yellow

Another sign of excess is when stools are difficult to pass—this is a sure sign that the liver is congested.

When the liver is congested and when the bowels are congested with signs of heat, it is a good time to do a detox.

  1. Constipation with Signs of Emptiness:

Constipation that is the result of emptiness or deficiency and is accompanied by signs of coldness. In this case, the body doesn’t have the energy that it needs to fully eliminate.

Signs of coldness with constipation include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Fullness after eliminating
  • Cold flesh beneath the belly button

An example of a condition that often involves constipation with emptiness is hypothyroidism, when the thyroid is underactive and the body’s metabolism suffers.

This would be a good time to nourish the body with restorative, nutrient-dense foods that rebuild your energy reserves so that detoxification is effective.

  1. Diarrhoea with Signs of Excess: 

Like constipation, you will see signs of heat with diarrhoea if there is excess, and it’s time to cleanse.

These signs of heat with loose stools include:

  • Pain while eliminating
  • A strong, foul smell
  • Mucus or blood in the stools
  • A burning sensation
  • Flatulence, or “passing gas” that has a strong odor
  • Bloated belly and rumbling sound

Parasites, food poisoning, and Crohn’s disease are examples of diarrhoea related to excess in the body. In this case, it is important to remove common dietary irritants like wheat gluten, milk casein, and added sugar. Foods that cool, rebuild, nourish and soothe the lining of the gut are key and should be consumed prior to detoxification.

  1. Diarrhoea with Signs of Emptiness:

When the body runs low on energy or is chronically exhausted, loose stools or diarrhoea will be accompanied by signs of emptiness. Sometimes this exhaustion is constitutional. This means it begins in childhood, and there are also signs of a weak immune system, like frequent infections.

Diarrhoea with signs of emptiness include:

  • An absence of smell when eliminating
  • Diarrhoea early in the morning, often with undigested bits of food
  • Urgency
  • Abdominal pain

When the stools are loose and watery with other signs of emptiness, it’s important to think longer-term by firstly repairing and nourishing digestive health before doing a detox.

The most important organ for detoxification is the liver – known as the body’s fliter and purfication system. Repeated exposure to various toxins can contribute to adverse health effects such as headaches, nausea, fatigue, weight gain and chronic health issues.

Excess belly fat (visceral fat) can be stored as fat-soluble toxins in fat cells where they are protected from the body’s detoxification systems and linked to diabetes, cardiovascular disease and metabolic disorders.

 Find out if you are in need of a detox!


This short questionnaire will highlight the health of your digestive system including your liver and your exposure to chemical, allergen and heavy metals.

And remember, if you have any questions at all, I am always here to talk or simply Click here to email with your questions and I will reply to you.


Margaret McNamara



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