One of the fun things about my job is you get pretty intimate with your clients and talk dirty. Talking to my clients regularly about their toilet habits and the details of their stools (poos) is an important part of my consulting practice.
Our stools or lack thereof tell us A LOT about our health. They can tell us if there’s inflammation (blood or mucus in the stool), if we aren't properly digesting our foods (whether they float, swim or if there’s undigested food particles), and if there could potentially be a pesky bug that’s causing all that bloating and socially unacceptable gas.
Getting the conversation started can be a little weird and awkward so to make this process a little easier during my consultations I use a poo chart, more professionally termed a Bristol Stool Chart.
Today is your lucky day because I am going to share it with you. Why? Because it’s important that you get well acquainted with your stools and what could potentially be signs of impaired digestive function and have it checked out if there are any.
So let’s get graphic and see which one best describes you.
Whilst you might find you are a combination of a few, many people that come to see me are sitting on either end of the spectrum…which does not reflect a healthy digestive system.
As you might have guessed by the middle guy who’s loving life, Type 4 is what a healthy poo should look like. Think tooth paste… same consistency and well formed. Sorry if thats what you now think of whilst brushing your teeth.
A little more detail…
Type 1 Small hard lumps, like nuts: Often due to lack of fibre, fluids and good bacteria. Causes you to overstrain and you run the risk of tearing the gut lining and haemorrhoids. Might go to the toilet once ever 4-7 days. As a lot of the toxins are eliminated through our stools, not going to the toilet means these harmful toxins sit there for long periods of time and get reabsorbed back into the body. Not healthy.
Type 2 Sausage-like but lumpy: Also causes extreme straining and potentially damages the lining, resulting in blood in the stool. Might go to the toilet every 3-4 days.
Type 3 Like a sausage but with cracks on the surface: Just like type 2 except more frequent; every 2nd or 3rd day. More water and fibre should do the trick.
Type 4 Like toothpaste…smooth, soft and well formed: Lots of fibre, fluids and takes a little swim before it sink. Happens daily. Happy, healthy and loving life.
Type 6 Fluffy pieces with ragged edges, a mushy texture: You have a very active colon, little too active that might come on very suddenly. Can indicate stress and nervous tension, too many spices, impaired digestion of fats or drinking water with a high mineral content or bacterial imbalances.
Type 6 Watery, no solid pieces aka diarrhea: Passes through the system super fast which means you don’t have time to absorb all the nourishing nutrients in time. This is dangerous long term as it can cause nutrient deficiencies. Might be a sign of stress and anxiety, gut infections or other serious health conditions and should be investigated if it happens frequently
Now lets talk colour.
Normal colour ranges for brown to yellowish brown, no matter what you’ve eaten.
If yours seems a little too yellowish, this could be due to a harmless disorder called Gilbert’s syndrome or problems with the bacteria in the gut.
Light brown to grey could be a sign of impaired liver or a blockage from the liver to the gut affecting the pigments from the blood from getting to the stools.
Black or red indicates blood in the stools. Black is a sign of dried blood and comes from higher up the digestive tract and red is fresh blood lower down near the exit. Fresh blood is less of a concern and is common with hemorrhoids however if you notice black then consult your doctor immediately.
Taking a look every now and then to make sure everything is in check is an important part of maintaining your health. If you think something is off, more than just the smell, speak to your health adviser about it for effective solutions to restore a normal bowl function.
Laxatives are NOT a healthy solution!