Hayley Matthews: No glitter, no unicorn and no shame about No.2s

We celebrate our kids' first poos in a potty but get upset and tell them it's dirty when they want to poke around in it
We celebrate our kids' first poos in a potty but get upset and tell them it's dirty when they want to poke around in it
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Those who know me well, know I love a good poo story. Stay with me if you’re eating, this is important.

I talk about poo often and some say that it is “inappropriate”. However, that’s not true. We should talk about our poo because it’s often the first indication that something is not right with our health. I don’t just mean tummies, I’m talking mental health, stress, acne, stiff joints etc. Basically the brown stuff should be looked at and talked about more often. Why the big deal? Even Coco Chanel did a poo in her day.

According to Pauline Steyn, BN MGCH SNHS (Dip) Nutrition, of Cleanse, we should check our No.2s more. I had the best chat ever with her whilst having a colonic in her wellbeing centre down in Stockbridge, which gave me some much-needed relief from excruciating tummy pain and enough flatulence to power an Airbus A380!

Pauline started her jobby journey (I’m trying to lighten the mood for those of you squirming at this) as a nurse in an acute medical ward at a local hospital, and having spent time working in a colorectal unit, she developed an interest in bowel issues. She said she was shocked at the sheer scale of the problem in Scotland and that we hold the title of being the most constipated nation. We also have one of the highest bowel/colorectal cancer rates in the Western world and its the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in both men and women (approximately 3700 new cases diagnosed in 2015). I’m not trying to scare you but I’d love to change the way we act about our toilet traumas.

I’ve read about the benefits of colonics and despite people thinking it might not be the most glamorous of treatments, I was made to feel incredibly relaxed by Pauline, and it was quite nice to get a tummy rub (I’m sure I was a chocolate Labrador in my previous life) whilst the sterile water trickled in and out of my colon. I asked Pauline the strangest thing she’d ever found whilst doing the procedure. Green glitter was her reply! I felt a little disappointed that nothing as exciting was spotted in my poo (I was hoping for a unicorn). However, I was just incredibly grateful for the relief that nothing seemed seriously wrong.

I told Pauline about a really stressful episode that I’d had at the start of the year and how I had felt about an hour away from a nervous breakmy tummy troubles and said how the brain and gut are related so closely that any low mood, mental health issue or lack of serotonin is directly related to the gut. When you see a picture of an embryo, the brain and gut are linked first. That’s where it gets its name “the second brain”. I knew our body was all connected but had no idea just how clever the colon and intestines were.

Now I’m even more fascinated with poo than I was before and have been encouraging my son to tell me about his chocolate drops. Pauline made a good point that we celebrate our kids’ first poos in a potty but then start to scream when they want to poke around in it and tell them it’s dirty. I’m hoping to change that in our house, although I still draw the line at him running through the house waving sheets of used loo roll boasting about a messy bum and asking for a hand.

Hayley Matthews – @hotlipshayley – is a TV and radio presenter