Does it float? How firm is it? How much does it weigh? How often does one evacuate? What colour are the faeces? Does it smell? How is it shaped?
Stool, nutritionists say, can communicate what the body needs.
British nutrition researcher, Dr David Collison, says to understand the stool dilemma, specific questions have been asked. They are; does it float? How firm is it? How much does it weigh? How often does one evacuate? What colour are the faeces? Does it smell? How is it shaped?
A quick chat with Dr Elizabeth Kiboneka, the head of the Mulago Hospital-based Mwana Mugimu nutrition unit, would reveal that the specifics indeed matter.
"Healthy faeces should be like toothpaste. They should not be too soft, or too hard (definitely not hard little balls) and not too liquid. They should stay together well. You should not have to strain," she explains.
Healthy stool, she also says is soft and supple. It has a fine texture, which can easily be passed out of the rectum.
But even after it exits the body, Dr Collison insists that this stool often holds its shape and often make a clean exit.
Deborah Wanyeze, a nutritionist with Family Health, could not agree more and goes ahead to warn of the signs that the stool might be wrong. "If the stool is mostly hard, or as commonly referred to as constipation, there is a problem," she starts. "This is an indication that one lacks enough fibre in their diet."
Stool she also said is typically a tale of what you eat, but also a tale of what the body is going through. "If you ate fibre-rich diets like mostly raw fruit and vegetables and wholegrain foods, among others, you should not want for fibre," she advises.
The first alarm should be stool that floats in the toilet bowl, healthy stool should sink instantly. "Fibre which is essential in digestion will solve most of your stool issues," she adds.
But also, Wanyenze says stool might float because of fatty meals and presence of gas. "What you eat is what you will pass, unless you have bowel interrupting conditions such as growths in the digestive passages," she explains. "The colour and the smell of your faeces are basically what you eat, but you should worry if your stool turns black or has blood."
In summary, the researcher advises that if stool is easily passed, at least once or twice a day, and is of good shape and non-worrisome colours, it should be okay.
"If you are living a healthy lifestyle, with the proper diet, your bowel movements should follow a strict pattern, with well-formed stools, soft with a good texture volume and weight and easily passed.