Poop does a lot more than just get your waste out of your body! If you aren’t aware, your poop is actually a good indicator of your health in a lot of ways. Poop can have a variety of colors and shapes and they all usually mean something. And don’t even get me started on how heavenly a good poop can be! Nothing beats a nice old poop to start the day.
Given how much this basic bodily function does for us, it’s important to understand how to interpret the signals and information we are provided from our poop and few things will do it as well as the Bristol stool chart.
Understand the Bristol Stool Chart
The Bristol stool chart identifies seven different shapes of human feces and is used to medically diagnose a person based on the shape of the stool of that person. Using this scale is a good way to differentiate between what a healthy stool should look like and what other shapes might mean.
Before we get into what each distinction means, it’s important to understand the factors that affect the shape of the stool to begin with.
First of all, it will be affected by the time spent inside the tracts. Afterward, diet, the fluids you intake, the medication that might affect your stomach’s processing capabilities and finally, the amount and type of physical movements you do on a daily basis will all affect your stool in some capacity. Now that we have all that down, let’s move into the details, shall we?
7 Poop Shapes & Types
The chart has 7 types of shapes as I have already mentioned and the first two types are usually a sign of constipation, the third and fourth types are a sign of healthy stomachs and the last 3 are signs of food poisoning.
Type 1 stool is basically stool shaped like little pebbles. They’re usually hard like nuts and can be a real pain in the backside to shoot out!
Safe to say, that is usually a clear-cut sign that you are suffering from constipation as that usually leads to very firmer stool being passed. Because your stool is having a really rough time coming out, it only comes out in droplets that are well defined in shape.
If you’re having a hard time pooping, make sure you read our guide on how to make yourself poop.
Type 2 is the lesser evil of constipation! In type 2 stool, the poop still comes out in lump-like form but they are not as well defined as type 1 and they resemble more to sausage fingers than pellets.
You do have a form of constipation if this is what your poop is shaped like but more likely than not, it didn’t put your pooper through a lot of pain in the process! There’s even a chance that you don’t even know you have constipation to begin with.
The sausage fingers you shoot out will be the first sign that there is even anything wrong to begin with!
If your shape resembles a type 3 or type 4, you’re in good health, my friend. Both are shaped like thicker sausages or snakes but type 4 is much smoother and well defined whereas type 3 looks like it has cracked edges, suggesting that type 4 is probably the easier of the two to pass.
Type 3 isn’t problematic though, it’s just not as soft. You can just ignore this if your shape is like type 3 or 4 because you are taking good care of your stomach. Keep it up!
Now for the snide little devils of diarrhea, starting with type 5! Here, there’s still not a lot to be worried about.
They resemble liquid blobs but still have some substance to them so they’re not completely soft yes. This is a sign of very slight diarrhea and it will usually not be too much of a problem so you don’t have to worry about accidentally pooping yourself when trying to fart!
Better yet, think of type 5 as a warning sign; you still have the change to fix whatever light diarrhea you have right now before it becomes worse and potentially leaves you with brown pants.
Type 6 is when things start to get serious. At this stage, your stool is very mushy and with only slightly defined edges. It’s at the brink of going full liquid on you at any moment.
Shouldn’t have ordered Chinese food from that shady restaurant yesterday!
At this point, you’ll want to be careful about moving around too much, lest you end up with a brown pair of pants and a hot mess down there! If you’re here at this moment, you’ll want to get on medicine to help your digestive tract out and consider a very restrictive diet, eliminating all fats and fibers.
Carbohydrates only for you until your stomach starts to feel a little better.
Type 7 is the devil itself; full on diarrhea!
At this point, you’re not even sure if what’s coming out of your colon is poop anymore. You probably can’t even drink water in peace right now because you’re just going to poop it out anyway and in the process, put your posterior region through a lot of pain as well!
The process to recovery from here is going to be painful and you’ll need to be put on antibiotics for this to improve at any reasonable rate. Needless to say, you have to eliminate all fibers and junk food from your system at this point or risk a very painful aftermath during the disposing of the food.
Forget digestion; at this point, you’ll be shooting out whatever you eat like how you eat it!
With all these distinctions, you should now be aware of all the main categories of stool and what each type means for you.
The chart is a general guideline to understand the health of your stomach and digestive tracts but if issues persist, you might want to visit a doctor to get a proper checkup done.
For your sake, I hope you’re not suffering from type 1 and 7. But if you are, changes to your diet including what you eat and drink can be very helpful. And if all else fails, don’t be afraid to see a doctor.