Poop chart: Top things you didn’t you your poop could reveal about you

Last Updated December 20th, 2021

What is poop chart?

Pooping is a natural phenomenon where waste particles are excreted from the body.  How many times have you considered looking at your poop?  I bet you would not have done it until and unless you have experienced some problems like constipation or diarrhea.  A stool chart named Bristol poop chart has been specifically designed to understand what your poop indicates.  According to the chart, there are seven types of stools.

Each type of stool varies in its characteristics and may indicate what your health condition is.  Many suffer from constipation and diarrhea.  This chart helps them understand what may be causing these problems.  It also gives you an understanding as to how a normal poop should be.  This would make you reconsider what to eat and what not to.  Apart from eating habits, it also gives you an insight about the underlying health condition.

What are the different types of poops?

The different types of poops are classified with the help of Bristol chart.  Bristol poop chart was designed during the 1990s in order to help doctors identify various types of poops with just a description.  The chart was designed to classify various types of poops according to their structure, appearance, and the amount of time taken to excrete from the body.  The various types of stools are described below.

  • Type 1 – Individual lumps which are generally hard and difficult to pass.
  • Type 2 – Hard lumps which are attached to each other like a sausage.
  • Type 3 – Moderately soft stools shaped like a sausage with cracks noted externally.
  • Type 4 – Soft, smooth, and long sausage shaped stools.
  • Type 5 – Soft and round globules with visible edges. These stools are easily passed.
  • Type 6 – Soft and fluffy stools which lack density and have semi solid
  • Type 7 – Loose and unformed stools consisting mainly water.

These stools can now determine about your health condition.  If your stools fall under the category of 1 to 2, you seem to have constipation which indicates that the stool was present in the body for a long time.  If your stool falls under the category of 3 to 5, you seem to have a normal stool.  It also indicates that the stool stays in the body for an adequate amount of time.  Finally, if your stool falls under the category of 6 to 7, you seem to have diarrhea.  It indicates that the stool stays in the body for a short period of time.

How does a normal poop look like?

In order to answer this question, we first need to understand how and why poops are formed.  We eat food every day in order to get energy and also fulfil our nutrient needs.  When this food is digested, the essential nutrients are absorbed from the food and the leftover food is excreted in the form of stools.  Other than food particles, your stools could also include dead cells and mucus that needs to be discarded.

According to medical standards, the consistency of the stool includes 25% of solid waste and 75% of liquid waste.  The process of digestion also takes a particular amount of time, for example it takes around eight hours to digest food made of wheat and reach the large intestine.  It is important to maintain all these factors to have a normal bowel movement.  The process of digestion is not limited to food that we eat.  It also involves various factors such as peristalsis (moving food from one place to other at the right time), adequate secretion of hormones, sufficient digestive enzymes, as well as blood flow.  When all these factors work appropriately, the result is a sausage shaped poop that is soft and smooth.

How frequently should I poop?

Passing stools quite often is not considered healthy and at the same time passing stools rarely is also not advisable.  In fact, this actually varies with each individual and the type of diet that is being followed.  According to medical standards, you need to pass the stool at least thrice a week which is considered as a bare minimum.  On the other hand, passing stools once or twice a day is considered perfectly normal.  Passing stools every other day is not considered abnormal but again is not normal too.

Passing stools more than three times a day is considered abnormal which might indicate either constipation or diarrhea.  It should be noted that maintaining a healthy diet automatically minimizes complications.  Healthy diet provides you adequate nutrition and at the same time helps with normal poop.  When these factors are followed, you actually end up following a pattern.

How long is considered normal for pooping?

Passing your bowels should take not more than a few minutes.  In fact, studies have indicated that a healthy poop would consume less than a minute to pass.  It should be noted that a healthy poop does not involve excessive pushing or pain.  If you are facing these problems, it is a clear indication that something is not right.  People suffering from constipation generally require excessive pushing in order to pass stools.  This generally indicates that there is less fiber and water involved in your diet.  Fibers and water play an important role in determining how easily you could pass your bowels.

On the other hand, if you are experiencing diarrhea you end up passing stool easily but also quite frequently.  Diarrhea accompanied by pain in the stomach indicates an infection and would require medications like antibiotics.  Diarrhea can also be caused due to other factors such as medication side effects, lactose intolerance, as well as gluten sensitivity.  Certain health conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis may cause diarrhea.

Does holding back poop cause problems?

If you are having a healthy poop, you generally will be having a pattern of pooping.  For example, many people follow a procedure of moving their bowels every morning.  This is considered hygienic as well as essential at the same time.  Due to certain reasons, few people tend to hold their bowel movements.  This can happen if you do not have access to the washroom or if you are preoccupied with some work.  Following this practice rarely is acceptable but if this practice is followed regularly, it is sure to cause problems.  Studies have indicated that retaining stools in the colon for a prolonged period of time is dangerous.

It has been found that this causes increased pressure on the colon and may even alter the structure of the colon as well.  It should be noted that bowel movements can be controlled with the help of bowel sphincter.  When you retain stool for a prolonged period of time and do this on a regular basis, the bowel sphincter may lose its effectiveness and can even function abnormally.

What do the different colors of poop indicate?

Color of your poop is determined by two important factors.  Firstly, it depends on what you eat and secondly how much bile is used during the process of digestion.  Generally, the color of your poop should be brown.  The color of your poop is going to drastically change when you eat a high fat diet.  This is because you require more bile enzymes to digest fats and since bile has its own color of yellow-green, your poop could end up having a different color altogether.  Let us discuss the various colors of poop and what do they indicate.

Green poop

Unless and until you have eaten something green, you probably will not have a green poop.  Green poop is generally seen with diarrhea.  Here, the food is actually not staying in your system for an adequate amount of time.  Another reason for green poop could be due to lack of fiber in the diet.  Since fiber rich foods provide bulk to the stool, it is important to have enough fiber added to your diet.  Green poop may also be experienced when you are facing a stomach infection caused by bacteria.

Black poop

If you are experiencing black poop, it could be due to two reasons.  Black poop generally indicates internal bleeding such as bleeding from stomach ulcers.  On the other hand, you may experience black poop when you are on iron supplements.

Red or purple poop

Red or purple poops are generally associated with beets that are deeply colored.  Consuming beetroot can give you red or purple poops.  If your poop is bright red in color, make sure it is not blood that is associated with your poor.  Certain health conditions can lead to rectal bleeding and hence you need to report this to your doctor and seek treatment.

Gray or yellow poop

If the color of your poop turns into gray or yellow, it is an indication that your liver is not functioning properly.  It may also indicate that your poop has mucus present in it.  A small amount of mucus discarded in your poop is normal, but when this mucus is excreted in large quantities, you tend to experience these changes in your poop.  Underlying health conditions such as colorectal cancer, stomach ulcers, and Crohn’s disease are the main reasons behind mucus in the stool.

What causes abnormal poop?

An abnormal looking poop generally indicates problems with your health.  Let us discuss various factors that cause an abnormal poop.

Low fiber diet

Fiber is divided into two types, namely soluble fiber and insoluble fiber.  Soluble fiber is easily digested and provides the bulk to the stool.  On the other hand insoluble fiber serves as food for the bacteria in the gut, which help in the process of digestion.  One of the main reasons for constipation is due to the lack of fiber in your diet.  Adding adequate amount of fiber can reduce constipation and provide bulk to the stool.

Increased stress

Stress plays an important role in the process of digestion.  In fact, your brain and gut are connected with millions of neurons.  When you are experiencing an extreme amount of stress, it is quite obvious that your brain is secreting large number of stress hormones.  This makes a direct impact on the digestive system, which ends up functioning abnormally.  Irritable bowel syndrome is one of the health conditions associated with stress where you end up having diarrhea immediately after consuming food.

Gluten sensitivity and lactose intolerance

If you consume foods that do not suit your stomach such as gluten rich food and lactose containing foods, you end up having abnormal poop.  Regular consumption of these foods may even lead to complications such as autoimmune disease and leaky gut.  Diarrhea is one of the symptoms associated with these foods.  Some of the foods containing lactose include dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese.  Similarly, gluten rich foods include barley, wheat, rye, etc.  Try to avoid these foods if you are allergic to them, which directly would improve your bowel movements.

Caffeine and alcohol

Both caffeine and alcohol are considered to be diuretics.  Due to this property, you end up losing the majority of your fluids by frequently urinating.  This directly impacts the way stools are formed.  Due to the lack of water, your stools end up becoming hard and it is difficult to pass your stools.  Avoiding both caffeine and alcohol can improve the way you poop.

High fat diet

Foods containing high fat content need more time as well as bile enzymes to digest them appropriately.  This is one of the reasons why your poop is sticky and also looks different than normal.  You probably may end up having constipation and have trouble emptying your bowel.  Limiting your fat intake and adding fiber to your diet can improve the consistency and color of your poop.

Tips to have a healthy poop

You can have a healthy poop by following these tips.

  • Add adequate fiber to your diet.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Avoid high fat foods.
  • Limit processed foods.
  • Reduce stress.
  • Avoid laxatives.
  • Avoid holding back your poop.
  • Add probiotics and prebiotic to your diet.



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