What your stool says about your health




public toilets and gender

We all empty our bowels regularly and the importance of this action cannot be overemphasized. When one poops, undigested food and the lining of our Gastrointestinal Tract (GI) are ejected. Experts also explain that bacteria are also emitted when we are doing a number two. For most, pooping daily is normal and anything on the contrary is a bit disturbing. It is believed that emptying your bowel up to three times a week or three times a day is normal. There is power in the number three when it comes to passing motion. Did you know the texture and colour of your poop says a lot about your health? Hopefully, you won’t spend time gazing at your poop the next time you use the toilet. This is not a call to extract a portion of your poop to evaluate its texture. It is to create awareness on the power of the stool in highlighting a person’s health status. 

The Stool Composition Scale

The Bristol Stool Scale establishes the ideal composition of a normal stool and presents a chart of the different categories of human poop. In general, an individual’s poop is made up of 25 percent solid matter and 75 percent water. The solid matter proportion of the stool consists largely of indigestible food substances, inorganic substances and dead bacteria. On an average, it takes about 3 days for food substances to travel from your mouth to when you feel the urge to excuse them out. Anything significantly less or more than 3 days time frame can have an impact on the texture, size and colour of your number two. 

The below image is The British stool scale that categorises faeces into seven different types based on texture and size. 

Bristol Stool Chart

Source: Bristol Stool Chart

High indication of constipation

The first two categories have a strong indication of constipation as they are expected to be hard and lumpy in nature. Remember the times when emptying your bowels felt harder than running an uphill marathon? You might have been experiencing category one and could have been as a result of illness, dietary changes or general stress. Type one and two stools tend to reside too long in the comfort of the colon or intestine with a reluctance to see the outside world.

High indication of healthy digestion:

Welcome to the healthy corner! Or, the optimal digestion categories. Type three and four stool are the benchmark for a great digestive process. A healthy poop is usually shaped like a sausage and snake-like in form. It is a pleasure to release these stools and they are compact when flushed. A quick warning, eating sausage and watching a documentary on snakes will not lead to a sausage-shaped and snake-like poop but will leave you frustrated. Eating clean and living a healthy life will contribute to attaining this category of stool. 

High indication of diarrhoea:

The last three categories of poop are slushy and liquefied in nature. They spend less time in the colon and large intestine. They itch and can’t wait to see the outside world hence the quick release. If your stool looks like any in the last three categories, you may have signs of diarrhea which are usually caused by stress, illness or dietary changes. 

This classification helps you understand the healthy state of your poop based on shape, texture and colour.



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