What does it mean if your urine is foamy or red? How much flatulence daily is too much?
Yale School of Medicine professor Anish Sheth, the co-author of the best-seller “What’s Your Poo Telling You?” has written a new book titled “What’s My Pee Telling Me?” In an interview with the News, Sheth talked about the book and his plans for the future.
Q: What was the inspiration behind each of the books?
A: Josh Richman, who is my co-author, basically had this idea about putting a book together that captured the humorous aspects of the subject matter but also refrained from lowbrow, potty humor. [We] then also add things people have always wondered but were afraid to ask. That’s why the first entry in that book is “Déjà Vu,” which is this universal phenomenon of seeing corn kernels in your stool and wondering, “What’s happening?”
Q: How did you get involved with Josh Richman?
A: Josh and I went to college together. And then he was on the West Coast and I was on the East Coast. A few phone calls, a few e-mails and exchanging entries and ideas back and forth is basically how the book got started. Initially as we started writing, there was always this sense that we would get it published, but honestly it just started off as fun. We saw eye to eye on exactly the line that the book should walk, so that it didn’t fall back just on the potty humor. And that’s continued through the second book.
Q:What exactly did each of you contribute to the book?
A: It was really seamless. A lot of the medical descriptions were clarified by Josh so that people can understand it and [to] make sure that it’s relevant to people. Obviously the humorous nature of it is universal, and I think most people can relate to things like, for instance, “Déjà Vu.”
Q: What demographic was the book targeting?
A: I would say 18 to 35, both males and females. The venue in which it is done the best has been Urban Outfitters. I think it’s also garnered attention from the health perspective. People are going online, wanting to learn more about their health, and so the conventional outlets like Barnes & Noble and Borders have come at it from a health perspective. But without a doubt 18 to 35, the young crowd, capitalizing on the humorous aspects of it.
Q: Can you tell me more about the iPhone app you mentioned?
A: Yeah, it’s called the Poo Log and there’s a book by the same name. It’s meant to be funny but also informative and it gives you a way to keep track of your digestive process, if that’s something you would like to do. There’s also, for instance, a question-and-answer portion that gives you something else to do if you’re on the toilet. You can graph your scores for the month.
Q: What do you plan on writing about next?
A: That’s a good question. We have some ideas. I think there is the whole non-waste portion. Things that people wonder about, like belly button lint and eye crust, roughly categorized as “goo.” So something you could call, “What’s Your Goo Telling You?” That’s a work in progress but we’ll probably start thinking about that just after the new year and we’ll see how things go.
Q: Do you have advice for today’s college student on maintaining their digestive health?
A: Yes. It’s fiber. I think that’s really what it comes down to. About 25 to 30 grams of fiber a day. If you try to do this, it’s very difficult. Hopefully the end result of a lot of fiber is something that, in the book, we call “poo-phoria,” which is something that I don’t think anybody’s been able to consistently replicate. It’s this feeling of elation after you have just the perfect bowel movement. It doesn’t happen that often, surprisingly, but you definitely increase your chances if you have enough fiber in your diet. Ultimately the goal, at least for us, is to figure out how to get that consistently.