One of my closest friends in college had perpetually loose and foul-smelling stools, with several bowel movements a day. It became a funny part of our collective college experience as, amongst our group of friends, we knew after every meal we had to allow time for him to run to the restroom (and then all of us had to avoid the restroom afterward, or use it before he finished his meal). He coined the phenomenon, “mushy caca syndrome.”
Today, I actually understand what was going on was pitta imbalance, or excess heat, in his digestive tract. Unsurprisingly, this is a common phenomenon amongst pitta-predominants and with anyone during the summertime.
So I smiled as July rolled around and several of my clients emailed in describing mushy caca syndrome.
How do you know if you’ve got pitta imbalance in your digestive system?
- more than 2-3 bowel movements/day
- the consistency is anywhere from “softserve” to unformed flurries
- it feels hot as it exits
- it smells unusually pungent or sulfuric
- color is greenish, reddish, orangish, or yellowish
- you see flattened or ribbon-like stool (long and skinny) indicating inflammation in the colon
- FYI, stools get looser as the day progresses usually
What can you do about it? Well, everything you do to decrease pitta will help. Here are a few tips:
- avoid fire-water (alcohol), and coffee is also quite heating (it’s vata and pitta increasing)
- avoid sour taste (sour tart berries, citrus, etc)
- avoid fermented or pickled foods (sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, etc.)
- avoid spicy-hot foods, aka pungent taste (jalapeno, tabasco, red pepper, garlic, ginger, etc.)
- avoid direct sunlight during peak sun hours
- avoid spicy-hot people
- decrease sex (heats things up)
- decrease the intensity of workouts (also heats things up)
- bring in lots of cooling foods: coconut, rose water, lemon (the citrus exception as it is cooling internally), anything sweet is good
- bitter greens decrease heat, so green juices and salads, and bitter herbs (neem, guduci, dandelion, etc) are great