Poop. Magical, magical poop.
Poop. Magical, magical poop.
3 years ago 0 8

In the past, I may have said that things “are poop” in order to illustrate my dislike for them. This was an unfortunate oversight on my part. Poop is in fact a magical thing.

The most medical, polite, and unemotional way to talk about poop is to call it stool or a bowel movementBM for short.

My apologies to anyone whose initials are BM. I’m sure your parents meant well. At least your name isn’t Harry Bear or Shanda Leer. No joke. I’ve met these people.

Bowels are your intestines–a windy canal of fun and excitement. All your food takes a mystical journey from your stomach to the small intestine, the large intestine, the colon, and finally the rectum.

When food leaves the stomach and enters the small intestine, it is further broken down so that nutrients—protein, fat, carbohydrate, and some vitamins—can be extracted. Bile, a mixture of acids and salts, is added to the mix to help with this absorption. One ingredient of bile, bilirubin, is a product of red blood cell breakdown, and this is what gives fecal matter its lovely brown hue.

The small intestine has 3 regions: the duodenum is the first 10 inches of the small intestine, the jejunum is the next couple feet, and the ileum is twice as long as the jejunum. Don’t the names sound like Tolkien characters?

The entire small intestine is about 19′ (6m) long. That’s about the height of a giraffe.

In the large intestine, water is extracted from the mass to form a lovely solid poop. The end of the large intestine is the colon—the lounge where the poop hangs out and water continues to be removed.

When the poop is fully rested, it makes its way to the last stop of its epic journey, the rectum. Pressure signals in the walls of the rectum alert you that it’s time to go. If you fail to drop the payload within a few minutes, the poop retreats to the colon to resume lounging. But while it waits, more water is removed, so if you continually fail to let the poop see the world, you may end up with a poop that’s difficult to pass.

When you’re finally ready to let the poop be free, you engage your sphincter muscles. There are two: one for pushing out, one for holding in. For the love of Pete, don’t get them confused.

Congratulations! You have now successfully pooped, in a toilet no less. Yes, I know. It does smell. That’s because of the intestinal bacteria and their waste products that make up about 8% of the mass of your poop. It’s a great way to remind us that we should stay away from it.

Here is a poop chart (a new kind of pie chart) of the makeup of feces. 

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to drop the kids off at the pool.

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8 Comments

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01844821467454202820 maggie

    this is one of the best things on internets.

  • Caitlin

    isn’t that special poop smell due to the ecoli in our bodies?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07330289657994110907 Kristofor

    I love the poop chart. I wonder what George Brett’s graph looks like?

  • http://childpack.com/2010/08/baby-poop-chart/ Baby Poop Chart

    Wow, after reading that, poop doesn’t appear to be poop anymore! So much respect to poop,,,well yeah, one has to give cos if poop starts to give trouble, then trust me, it will make you forget everything!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15796398725255576759 Angela
  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15796398725255576759 Angela

    Aw, I hoped the picture would pop up. It’s a hilarious kid-made cartoon!

  • http://openid.aol.com/cellen78 Carrie

    Awesome! I am bookmarking this to use with my Anatomy class when I have to lecture on the digestive system. It will help keep them awake to have a blog break on poo! Thanks for being so creative.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15915337393769977306 SHASHANK

    This makes biology so much fun!! Very creative and useful too…