Is this why we do not talk about stool?
There is great interest in all newly acquired knowledge of bowels and gut bacteria. However, as far as the functioning of the bowels is concerned, such as digestion and stool, we prefer not to talk about it.
In this modern world, we can talk about almost anything. Religion, politics, sex and finances. However, stool is not a subject of favour – neither in public nor in private. Anything to do with our guts and digestion has long been a cultural taboo and this pretty much continues to be the case. It is a paradox because research shows that our bowels are crucial to our health and wellbeing. And we are rather preoccupied by health and would really very much like to know the very latest on how gut bacteria affect our health – but we still cannot talk about stool.
Researchers’ ever-increasing knowledge of our guts and their functions has resulted in a plethora of popular scientific publications. These take the form of articles, books, recipes boosting the bowls and magazines focusing on what healthy gut bacteria do to our body. (Below I mention just a few). One common denominator of the publications is that digestion and stool are freely discussed. Therefore, we could hope that more information may help to break the taboo.
Young, German scientist among the first
Our guts and our digestive system really became an area of research during the period 2008-2010 and, in 2014, the young scientist and author Giulia Enders published the book Gut; the inside story of our bodys’s most underrated organ.
The book became a bestseller with more than 1 million copies sold in Germany and it was translated into several other languages – including English.
Giulia Ender’s book has greatly contributed to our budding interest in our guts. She explains the workings of the basic parts of our guts humorously but also very seriously and in a language that is easy to understand.
Basic health starts with our digestion
In 2013, Søs Wollesen, medical practitioner and author, published the book The way to a healthy stomach! – enjoy better digestion and a stronger immune system (Sund mave sådan! – få en god fordøjelse og et stærkt immunforsvar).
In her book, she provides solutions to constipation, diarrhoea, a stressed or a bloated stomach.
She also shares with us which foods cause digestive problems and what to eat to have and maintain a healthy stomach and a strong immune system.
As a medical practitioner, Søs Wollesen plays an important part in the debate because, for some, digestion and stool are such great taboos that they cannot even speak to their own general practitioner about it. And if your stool is not ok, it could be serious.
Diet plan based on the most recent research
In 2016, Politikens Forlag collaborated with I FORM/Bonnier Publications on publishing the book WELL-TUNED GUTS – Eat your way to health, energy and wellbeing (TARME I TOPFORM – Spis dig til sundhed, energi og velvære).
The first third of the book is partly about how gut bacteria control our weight, how they strengthen our immune system and how the bacteria affect the workings of our brain. Moreover, the book contains a diet plan based on the most recent research as well as 60 recipes.
The authors of the book were Irene Brøndum, Majbritt Louring Engell and Oluf Borbye Pedersen. The latter is a professor and Director of Research at Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research at the University of Copenhagen.
Oluf Borbye Pedersen is also in the international top league in identifying the reasons why some of us develop lifestyle diseases.
He is also one of the pioneers when it comes to highlighting the role of gut bacteria in our health.
Healthy gut bacteria are the key to health and wellbeing
In 2018, BONNIER published the supplement ”Healthy gut magic” (“Sund magi i tarmen”) together with the lifestyle magazine, Magasinet Liv.
The supplement contains the best guidelines on produce, diet plans, recipes and tips from the magazine I FORM – all focusing on gut bacteria as the key to health and wellbeing.
The supplement was such a great success that it was published in a new edition and as an independent magazine. Now with even more recipes and new sections such as ”Healthy digestive flow” and ”Farts should smell like a forest floor in spring”
If we are to talk about stool, we need a shared vocabulary
We are typically embarrassed when we need to discuss our stool. One reason being that it is an unpleasant topic of conversation – and, another, that we do not have a shared vocabulary.
That is necessary if we are to be able to speak about it. It has many names, so which should we choose?
Should we call it bowel movements, poop, shit, poo-poo, microbiota or faeces? Or should we do as the Americans – call it ”Number One” (urine) and ”Number Two” (stool)?
We, at GP Medical Devices, have decided to call it stool. And that is the name we will use both in this blog and on our website.
By Christa Zenobie Dahl