Hi Fearless Family!
Let’s talk about a bit of an uncomfortable topic: Poop. Feces. Fecal Matter. Excrement.
First and foremost, everybody poops. Dogs poop, humans poop, babies poop, everybody poops. It’s not always an easy topic to discuss, but it is a big part of all of our lives. We eat therefore we poop. But we also notice that sometimes it feels different or smells different or looks different. Does that mean anything? Why is that? Can we learn anything from looking after we finish?
Many people have discussed the Urine Color Chart and how hydration effects the color of your urine, but did you know that your poop can also tell a LOT about your nutrition? What you eat directly effects the size, feel, consistency. and smell. The size, consistency, and feel can also give you many answers of what needs to be changes in your diet. With diet and poop being a close to direct relationship, there is information in the toilet.
This is the Bristol Stool Scale. It shows the 7 most common types of poop.
I’m sure you recognize a few of these types of poop. So what exactly do they all mean? Besides just being defined with pictures. Well let’s mention smell real quick. Feces naturally smell bad. Smell is defined mostly by the bacteria in the colon, and sometimes your bowel movements can affect those bacteria.
The goal, or “normal”, is Type 3 or Type 4 poop. These mean that your gastrointestinal tract (GI tract) is healthy, you’re digesting food, and you have good levels of fiber in your diet. If this is your type of poop, keep it up! Your digestion will thank you.
The problems begin when you start straying away from Type 3 and Type 4 poops. As you can see in the chart, as you move into Type 5 (and above), the stool starts becoming less solid, broken up, and even liquid. Type 5 poop (broken into jagged little pieces with defined edges) mean that you need more fiber. Fore the most part, Type 5 is relatively healthy otherwise. While this isn’t getting into the diarrhea range just yet, it is a good warning that you should get some more fiber in your diet. The best way to do that? Add some veggies into your day! Besides just adding fiber, vegetables carry an entire range of benefits, but that is a discussion for another time.
Once you pass Type 5 and move to Type 6 or Type 7, you are showing signs of stomach inflammation. This comes with consistency and smell changes. When you move into these types, the smell gets worse due to a bacterial change in the colon. Type 6 and 7 are typically passed through the intestines and colon relatively quickly and come with an upset stomach. This also means the GI tract is becoming under some stress and causes extra urgency to rid itself. This is also known as diarrhea. I’m sure most everyone can relate when I say this: diarrhea is not fun. It is annoying, uncomfortable, and down right a pain in the butt. The good thing is that you can help keep yourself away from getting diarrhea for the most part.
Moving the other way on the Bristol Stool Scale from Type 3 and Type 4 into Types 1 and 2 mean the exact opposite of Types 6 and 7 as you could guess. While Types 6 and 7 are more liquid and diarrhea based, Types 1 and 2 are warning signs/symptoms of constipation. Type 1 is small “nugget” style poops while Type 2 is a small and lump-filled. This means you are constipated, but that could have a couple different reasons. You could be lacking fiber in your diet, you could be dehydrated, it could be medicine based, or a range of reasons. Typically, Type 1 and Type 2 don’t smell too much different than “normal” healthy poop.
No matter what it looks or smells or feels like, your poop has a story to tell. While is may not be the most pleasant sight, there can sometimes be a benefit to looking down when you’re done. Whether you see Type 1 or Type 7, you will be more informed. What does yours tell you?
Healthy pooping to all!