Whether you care to think about it or not, all creatures – including us – eat and poop. The quality of that poop tells a lot about the state of our gut and overall health so it’s actually worth taking a look and not just flushing as quickly as possible.
Doctors at the Bristol Royal Infirmary Hospital in England found patients reluctant to talk about their poop so they cleverly came up with the Bristol Stool Form Scale. Patients could now provide valuable information about their health by simply pointing to their stool type on the chart without feeling excessively embarrassed.
The chart illustrates the seven stool types:
These stools resemble hard nuts or lumps, have spent the longest in the colon and are often very difficult to pass. People with Type 1 stools are very constipated.
These stools are sausage-shaped but still have visible lumps. They are somewhat difficult to pass. People with Type 2 stools are slightly constipated.
These stools are also sausage-shaped and better formed than type 2 but with visible segments. They are normal stools.
These well-formed stools are shaped like a smooth sausage or snake and are easy to pass. These stools are ideal, indicating a healthy colon.
Although these stools are easy to pass, they are comprised of many soft blobs with clear edges, the result of having inadequate fiber in the diet.
These stools are soft, fluffy and mushy with ragged edges, indicating the presence of inflammation in the gut.
These stools are almost entirely liquid with no solid pieces, indicating more serious inflammation than Type 6. (See Gut Symbiosis and Dysbiosis and Inflammation for information on how inflammation is harmful to the body.)
A healthy gut allows stools to glide out smoothly without discomfort or straining. Needing to read a chapter or two of War and Peace while sitting on the toilet indicates your digestion isn’t working properly. In fact, a bowel movement should happen soon after you sit down so you wouldn’t need to do any reading there at all.
This brings to mind a story I heard from someone years ago: As a child, she thought Readers Digest was actually called Readers, Digest because the only place she ever saw it was in her grandparents’ bathroom.
We’re designed to poop after every meal – so 1-3 times a day. If you’re pooping once a week, you’ve got a lot of fecal matter backed up in your colon, probably causing discomfort and even pain. Good elimination is a sign of good colon health.
Storing excrement indicates something is wrong. Symptoms of constipation include headaches, skin problems, bad breath, low energy and generally feeling unwell. Toxins the body was trying to eliminate get re-absorbed when feces sit backed up in your colon. A diet rich in whole foods and adequate filtered water helps keep the gut healthy and prevents constipation. The Standard American Diet (aptly referred at as SAD) does not promote good gut health.
A well formed stool is the result of proper consumption and digestion. Eating a diet low in fiber and high in processed foods will produce malformed poop. Healthy stools contain no undigested food parts – the presence of undigested parts usually means you chewed your food too quickly or have insufficient acid for the breakdown of food parts. Many Americans are hooked on antacids which actually cause a depletion of stomach acids. Try drinking warm lemon water in the morning instead.
Floaters indicate a healthy amount of fiber and essential fatty acids in your diet. Most of us don’t consume enough healthy fats, causing stools to sink immediately or be malformed. And remember, not all fats are bad. Healthy fats are essential for us. (More on good versus bad fats in a moment.)
So take a look at your poop lying there in the toilet. If it’s not perfect, work on improving your diet. (The Alternative Daily, 2013)