Digestion Questions

digestive health, gut health, gas, constipation, natral digestion help, gut microbiome, naturopathic diet

Weird Digestion Questions and Answers

Talking about what happens in our guts can feel like taboo:

Passing gas?  Pretend it isn’t you.

Constipation?  Don’t tell anyone.

Green Poop?  Secretly Google about it.

We all deal with weird digestive occurrences so let’s be human and talk about them!

Following, Dr. Graves answers digestive and stool questions that you may have always wanted to ask, but never had the…well, guts to!

What causes flatulence and why does some gas smell and some doesn’t?

Dr. Graves:

That’s a good question!

Flatulence is primarily due to improper digestion (such as lack of digestive enzymes or microbiome issues), constipation, and poor and/or overindulgent eating.

When these occur, the microbiome (bacteria in the large intestine) can release hydrogen, methane, and/or hydrogen sulfide gasses that are then released in the form of…um, farts.  And when food stays stagnant in the digestive track (from constipation) gas can also lead to bloating.

If gas is released with no smell, it is typically carb-related (too many carbs for the microbiome to process at once).

Gas that smells is usually from protein or fats not being broken down effectively.  The smell can can come from a certain bacteria releasing methane or hydrogen sulfide.

What about beans, beans, the magic fruit?

Dr. Graves:

Beans are full of fiber which provides oodles of food for the microbiome.

This is a good thing, but considering the average American diet is low in fiber, a suddenly high consumption of beans (or other fiber-rich foods) can be overload for the microbiome, producing gas.

However, for those already eating a high fiber diet this issue may not happen as intensely, if at all because the digestive track is accustomed to it.

If you are passing gas does that mean you need a bowel movement?

Dr. Graves:

It can, but not always.

If bowel movements are happening at least once a day, a trip to the bathroom to alleviate gas may not do anything.

However, if stool elimination isn’t regularly occurring, chronic gas may be a sign that digestion needs to move.

How about burping?

Dr. Graves:

Burping is typically due to overeating, improper digestion, and swallowing air while eating (from eating too quickly).

These issues can pack the stomach so full that contents aren’t able to move quickly and/or properly, leading to release of gas through burping.

Why is poop brown?

Dr. Graves:

When bile and bilirubin mix with food, bacteria, dead red blood cells, and secretions such as enzymes – it turns stool brown.

What makes poop green?

Dr. Graves:

Green poop can be due to the bowels moving too fast.

Biles from the gallbladder are bright green and help the digestive track break down food. When things move through too quickly, this green color doesn’t have time to turn brown.

Issues such as:

– stress and/or an overactive nervous system

– harmful bacteria or virus invading the digestive track

– eating a certain food that the body needs to eliminate

and on occasion, a large portion of green, leafy foods may cause green stool.

A bout of this issue is normal now and then, but if it happens frequently, it is a good idea to check digestive functioning.

Why does corn come out in poop whole?

Dr. Graves:

Corn boasts a cellulose outer shell that the body cannot break down on its own (we don’t have the enzymes needed).

That is why mastication (chewing) is so important!

Chewing properly cracks that outer shell, allowing the body to process it.  Eating quickly and/or not chewing corn all the way can keep it in tact – all the way through.

Learn more about the gut with our posts on:

Gut Health 101

Stomach and Acid

Bloating, Gas, Fullness and the Small Intestine

The Elimination Process and the Large Intestine

Do you have other digestive questions?  Don’t be afraid to ask us!  Dr. Graves is here to discuss concerns – no matter the health topic.

To schedule a complimentary 15 minute phone consultation with him, click here or call us at (303) 688-6698.

The CNMA office provides naturopathic care, testing, massage, and holistic counseling to those in Castle Rock, Castle Pines, Highlands Ranch, Lone Tree, Centennial, Parker, Larkspur, Monument, Colorado Springs, and the greater Denver metro area.  For those outside of these areas, virtual appointments are available.

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