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The Bristol Stool Chart
The shape of your poop carries an important message about the current health of your gut and will eventually reflect on your general health.
Before you can strive for normal stools, you need to know what normal poop look like. Fortunately for us that question has been answered by Dr. Ken Heaton and some fellow doctors at the University of Bristol, who studied a lot of poop and were able to publish a chart of common poop shapes in 1997. The chart, called the Bristol Stool Chart, identifies seven basic stool shapes. The chart has stood the test of time and is today regarded as reliable by medical authorities.
We have a lot to learn in this area but in the meantime, it is crystal clear that healing your gut and ensuring its wellbeing will go a long way towards healing your mind and body.
Stool Types Summary
- Types 1 & 2 indicate some form of constipation
- Types 3 & 4 are normal but Type 4 is preferred
- Types 5 & 6 indicate running stomach (diarrhea)
- Type 1: Separate hard lumps, like nuts (hard to pass)
Poop of this shape and hardness indicate missing bacteria and a lack of in-transit fermentation. This kind of stool is sometimes seen in the early stages of a low carb diet and can be fixed by the addition of more digestible fiber to the diet. Psyllium husks are a good choice for this.
- Type 2: Sausage-shaped, but lumpy
This is a typical constipated poop, one that causes straining when it is passed. Quite hard and dry, in a large sausage shape. Their dryness often indicates that they have spent significantly longer than normal in the colon. Can cause cracks in the anal ring (fissure) because they can be thicker than the anal outlet.
- Type 3: Like a sausage but with cracks on its surface
Softer than the Type 2 sausage but still relatively hard to pass. They probably have a longer than normal bowel transit time.
- Type 4: Like a sausage or snake, smooth and soft
The poop to aim for a normal daily soft sausage, passed in long pieces.
- Type 5: Soft blobs with clear-cut edges (passed easily)
Also a good poop. Sometimes similar to Type 4 but passed more than once a day.
- Type 6: Fluffy pieces with ragged edges, a mushy stool
The poop is watery but still has some solid consistency. Too loose to be comfortable.
- Type 7: Watery, no solid pieces, entirely liquid
Full blown diarrhea with poop running like water.