When doctors in the Bristol Royal Infirmary Hospital in Bristol, England found that patients were reluctant to talk about the shape and nature of their stools, they devised a handy chart called the Bristol Stool Form Scale. This self- diagnostic chart, which helps patients discuss their bowel habits without becoming embarrassed, is now being used all over the world as a measuring tool to bowel and digestive health.
The Group of Seven Stool Types
The form of the stool depends on how long it spends in the colon, and there are seven types to consider.
These stools have spent the longest in the colon and are often very difficult to pass. They resemble small nuts or hard lumps.
Type two stools are shaped like a sausage but still have visible lumps. They are somewhat difficult to pass.
These stools are also sausage-shaped and better formed than type 2, but with visible cracks.
These stools are like a smooth sausage or snake. They are well formed and easy to pass.
Although these stools are easy to pass, they are comprised of many soft blobs with clear edges.
Type six stools are soft, fluffy and mushy with ragged edges.
If you have a type seven stool, it will be almost entirely liquid with no solid pieces.
Which Type is Best and Why?
Type 4 is the easiest stool to pass and demonstrative of a healthy colon. Stools should glide out smoothly and cause no discomfort. When you sit down to use the bathroom there should be no delay – in other words you should not get halfway through Gone with The Wind before you have a movement. In fact, you should not have much time for reading at all.
Are You Backed Up?
Every time you eat you should poop. This means that most people should poop from 1 to 3 times per day, not week. It is common for fecal matter to back up in the colon causing pain and discomfort. Proper elimination is a sign of colon health. If your body is storing excrement, something is wrong. Symptoms may include headaches, bad breath and skin problems. If your fecal matter backs up it can cause a traffic jam in your colon allowing the body to re-absorb toxins it was trying to eliminate. A diet rich in whole foods and plenty of filtered water helps to keep constipation at bay.
The Well-Formed Stool
The well formed stool is the result of proper consumption and digestion. If you consume a diet low in fiber and high in processed foods, your stools will be malformed. Healthy stools do not contain undigested food parts. If they have undigested parts, it usually means that we chewed our food too quickly or we have insufficient acid for the breakdown of food parts. Many people in America are hooked on antacids which actually result in a depletion of stomach acids. To counter this, try drinking warm lemon water in the morning.
What About Floaters?
Floaters are good, they indicate a healthy amount of fiber and essential fatty acids. Most people are lacking in healthy fats, and this will cause stools to sink immediately or be malformed. Contrary to what you may think, not all fats are bad. Healthy fats are, in fact, essential. If your stools are sinking like a torpedo rather than hanging around on the top of the surface of the water a while, consider adding some ground flax to your daily diet. It goes great in cereal, salads or smoothies.
Take a Peek
Go on… take a peek the next time you use the bathroom. If your stool is less than perfect, work on your diet. In the end, what comes out your back end is the result of what you put in your front end. Keep this in mind as you make wise and healthy food choices.