There are certain things we do every day, such as going to the bathroom, but we don’t necessarily know why our body needs to do these tasks. Urines, feces, poop… are waste discharged daily by our bodies, comparable to a huge factory very developed. When we eat, certain things, called nutrients, are used by the body to create cells and make the machine of the human body work. They are chopped, mixed, and transformed into quasi-atomic particles absorbed by the blood. Everything that is not used in this process must be eliminated,” Dr. Raoul Relouzat, a general practitioner in the 16th arrondissement of Paris, told Business Insider France. “And we have organs that are used to eliminate these “wastes”: the kidneys, the liver, the intestines… These are called ’emunctoires’ and are in a way the sewers of the human body,” he adds.
For example, when eating meat, the body needs to eliminate creatine and urea. Urea can be a poison for the brain,” says the general practitioner, who has been practising for 35 years. The disposal of this waste is essential to allow regulation in the comma near all the constants of the body — the fact that your temperature is 37oC, the blood ph at 7.3 etc — and so-called ‘homeostasis’.” “The human machine is so well made that if someone drinks less water, they will urinate less. But if the machine works, it will inevitably create waste,” says Dr. Raoul Relouzat.
Sometimes the body rejects other substances such as tears when you are sad, full of emotions or when you have laughed too much, menstrual loss and vaginal discharge in women, but these are not considered “waste as stool or urine can be,” he points out.
Here are the things that the human body naturally rejects and why it needs to do so.
Urine: it is composed mainly of water and particles such as urea, sugar, creatine, salts… Everything that has passed through the filter that constitutes the kidneys. “The body takes everything it needs upstream and the rest is rejected,” explains Dr. Raoul Relouzat.
The smell and colour of urine can give clues to a person’s health. In diabetics, urine is sweet. In the past, doctors tasted patients’ urine to find out if they had diabetes,” says Dr. Raoul Relouzat. On the other hand, if you have taken antibiotics such as amoxicillin, you will find that your urine smells like antibiotics, because when you take a drug, the body actually absorbs very little of this medication. At the end of the Second World War, there was a black market for urine to extract penicillin in particular,” he says.
“If the urine is very dark yellow or even brown, there is probably a problem with the bladder and liver. If on the contrary, it is very clear, either you drank a lot of water or the body did not eliminate enough toxins,” says Dr. Raoul Relouzat.
Feces: they are made up of all waste from digestion. “A vegetable has plenty of cellulose for example, so the frame of a vegetable is largely eliminated in the stool. The same goes for vegetables with a lot of apparent fibre,” says Dr. Raoul Relouzat. You may find almost intact bits of corn or tomato or pepper skin in the stool, especially if you don’t chew the food well.
Chewing is the first step in deconstructing food. “When you chew, you split what you eat, so there is less work for the digestive tract,” says the doctor. Then come the following steps: the stomach, very acidic, will continue to destroy the structure of the food consumed, as well as the intestine, seven to eight meters long. Each part of this “pipe” has a specific role: one part deals with the absorption of fats, another part of iron, and yet another of sugar etc. At the end of the colon, there is a reabsorption of water (liters are absorbed), so the stool is the residue from this process.
When you are constipated, it means that the residues have remained too long at the terminal colon, which has reabsorbed almost all the water. On the contrary, when you have motor diarrhea, it is due to the acceleration of transit. The reabsorption of the water at the end of the colon could not be done properly. If diarrhea is infectious, it is because bacteria have irritated the wall of the colon, which, by reaction, has secreted too much fluid. The end of the colon is then unable to reabsorb all this liquid.
The foul smell results from the death of some of the bacteria in the gut that will play a role in food segmentation. Even if you only eat bread and water, your stool will never smell good.
Nose droppings: they are secretions made by the nasal lining and are composed of nasal mucus, water and microparticles captured in the air (dust, tobacco smoke, exhaust, etc.). More or less rich in water, this mucus accumulates, dries out, hardens and takes on this aspect of ‘crottes’. When the droppings are yellowish, it’s because ‘inside the body, the white blood cells have fought against the microbes and some are dead’, explains Dr. Relouzat.
And why do some kids like to eat their poop? “It’s not weird,” the doctor begins. “It tastes a little sweet, a little original at first. Then, in the anal stage [Editor’s note: theoretical stage of psychoanalysis corresponding to the second phase of a baby’s emotional evolution], children do not want to make droppings, because the loss of feces or nose droppings in this case is likened to a loss of part of themselves”, and this can create anxiety. ‘They may have a hard time letting that slip away from them,’ he said.
The famous ‘crusts’ at the corner of the eyes: also called ‘chassie’, which is found in the corner of the eyes when you wake up is a mixture of dried mucus, dead cells of the cornea, a few tears, and foreign bodies such as dust.
The eyes are lubricated throughout the day to prevent them from drying out. These tears are composed of water and salt crystals. In addition, enzymes to destroy bacteria are secreted, as well as mucus to catch dust and dead cells from the cornea, to eject them at the corner of the eyes, thanks to the movements of eyelids. At night, the production of tears is reduced, while those of mucus and enzymes continue, especially for that of enzymes, since sleep is a good time for the development of bacteria.
Since the production of tears is reduced during sleep, these deposits are dried up, hence the “crust” aspect of the “eye droppings”.
The earwax: this is what lines the ear canal to make it as smooth as possible. This allows the sound to bounce smoothly to the eardrum,” explains Dr. Relouzat. It is manufactured all the time, but the quantity varies from person to person. Some people make too much of it. “It’s not a very elaborate system,” concedes the doctor. In the walls of the cartilaginous part of the external ear canal, the earwax mixed with the sebum hardens and will encompass dead skin and hair, and this is found at the entrance of the external ear canal.
The appearance of the earwax found at the entrance of the external ear canal varies: it can be wet or dry depending on the amount of fat contained in the earwax. The doctor warns that if you are used to cleaning your ears with a cotton swab, this can have the effect of “repeling, pushing the earwax and making a cluster in the ear canal”. This can sometimes create a earcrum plug, which alters hearing transiently (since the sound passes less well) and is simply unpleasant.
Sebum: it consists of dead cells and excess fat in the skin. Its excretion depends on several hormones. Sebum is not bad in itself. It helps to maintain the hydration of the epidermis, contributes to its suppleness and balance of the bacterial flora of the skin. A lack can weaken the skin and make it dry, while an excess can give an oily appearance to the skin and promote the appearance of comedoons or pimples. Again, it is a question of balance.
Certain periods of life may promote the production of sebum since it is related to hormonal activity. This is the case in adolescence or during pregnancy.