7 Things Your Poop Says About Your Health

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5. If your poop…Smells like sulfur or eggs and you have diarrhea

It may mean: You could have giardia. The parasite tends to hang out in fresh water, so if you went swimming in a lake, have gone camping, or drank unpurified water recently, you may have picked up the bug along the way. The issue isn’t always as obvious as you may think. You could have diarrhea for weeks or even months, but otherwise feel fine. Your doctor can run a stool sample test to diagnose it, and certain antibiotics can treat it.

6. If your poop is…Pencil-thin

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It may mean: You’re constipated, or be an indication of rectal cancer. “If you notice pencil-thin stool for a day or two, it’s probably not an issue,” Sheth says. “It may occur if you’re constipated and straining a lot, which prevents the muscles in the anal sphincter from opening and can narrow the way stool comes out.” Adding more fiber to your diet can help. But if the issue is ongoing, it could indicate rectal cancer. “With rectal cancer, the tumor is fixed and rigid and encircles the rectum so there’s less space for stool to squeeze through so it appears very thin and stringy,” Sheth adds. Make an appointment with your doctor. A colonoscopy can evaluate what’s going on.

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