Why Ghost Poops Are Actually A Sign Of Good Health

If you've ever scrolled on TikTok or been in the company of a gastroenterologist, you may have wondered about your poop health. Are you eating enough fiber to poop? Are you hydrating enough? Is constipation becoming a concern? 

While unexpected triggers that can instantly change your poop habits can leave you worried, there is also a phenomenon called "ghost poops" that may actually mean you've had the most ideal bowel movement. Ghost poops refer to stools that are so perfect that they vanish without a trace down the toilet bowl before you're able to stand up, turn around, and have a look. They're also the kind of poop that leaves minimal, if not zero, residue, on the toilet paper as you wipe after the deed is done. They're like ghosts; you're not sure if you had them or not. 

According to functional gastroenterologist Dr. Sameer Islam (via YouTube), ghost poops can be a sign of healthy digestion and bowel movements. "You may have had the magical poo — long, smooth, [with a] little splash, and it went straight into the drain ... I would celebrate [this]," added the expert. Some experts believe ghost poops are number four on the Bristol Stool Chart — so smooth and soft, it's like they never happened. 

Why are ghost poops the way they are?

Ghost poops could mean that you're eating (and properly digesting) all the right foods for a healthy bowel movement. We're talking broccoli to help you poop instantly and other fiber-rich foods like whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables, and nuts. Some experts also believe that magical poops like ghost poops are an indication that you have good gut bacterial diversity and a well-regulated nervous system. 

According to California-based registered dietitian nutritionist Amanda Sauceda (via the New York Post), ghost poops are also a sign that you're drinking plenty of water. "If you're wiping and there's no residue on the paper, that can mean your diet has a good amount of fiber in it and you're adequately hydrated," explained the nutritionist. Does this mean we should be aiming to have bowel movements that vanish without a trace all the time? The answer to that question is a little nuanced.

You don't need to aim for ghost poops all the time

While you might want to jump up and down in glee when you get off the toilet and don't see a trace of stool in the bowl, this doesn't mean all your bowel movements need to have this Casper-like quality. In fact, Amanda Sauceda explained (via the New York Post) that frequent ghost poops might even come in the way of you analyzing your poop (and thus, your poop health). "If the poop disappears in the toilet bowel right after you go, then you won't be able to see if there are color or consistency changes." 

Furthermore, another kind of ghost poop manifests as gas buildup and release that feels like a bowel movement, as explained by Dr. Sameer Islam (via YouTube). When you've taken in a lot of air or eaten too many gassy foods, or if you're constipated, you can feel the urge to poop but only end up passing gas. The gas can take up space in your colon and rectum, and also stimulate the nerves responsible for making you want to run to the bathroom. This can actually be a sign that you should cut back on gassy foods like cruciferous vegetables and whole grains. Consuming fatty foods, drinking via straws, smoking, and overeating can also cause ghost poops.

That being said, healthy bowel movements mean being regular, passing stools easily, and having poop that isn't too soft or too firm. Interestingly, how often you should be pooping does not have a one-size-fits-all answer.