Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Your Bowel Movement is a Health Indicator

Quick peek at your poo can indicate amiss health condition

Often people like to take their time in the bathroom, but how often do they have a look at their poo? You may just want to do the deed, flush and leave, preferring not to look at your stool, however, the appearance of your stool could save you from silent health conditions that may occur in the near future. What you eat is important for your health but how your poop appears can indicate if something isn’t right with your body. 

A bowel movement is the body’s way of ridding the undigested food, protein, salts, bacteria and other substances that are produced and passed by the intestines. However, every individual has a distinct bowel movement in terms of consistency, shape, size, colour and smell. 

So, how can one differentiate between the appearance of a healthy-looking stool? The Bristol Stool Scale explains in actual details of how a healthy-looking stool should appear in shape. There are seven types of stools that can explain your bowel movement. 

Here are the seven types of stool as described in the Bristol Stool Scale

Type 1 – Broken hard pieces

This type of stool is an indicator of severe constipation. You may find yourself struggling in the bathroom trying to pass stool. Even if your bowel movement is regular and your stool breaks into several small hard lumps, it is a sign that you body needs more fibre in your diet. If the problem persists for long you should consult a doctor.


Type 2 – Sausage-shaped but lumpy

This type of stool is an indicator of mild constipation. You may find yourself in pain trying to pass stool. This could happen if you are stressed, or traveling, or haven’t had enough water to drink or dietary fibre. Exercising, hydration and diet with more fibre content should relieve you from this problem.


Type 3 – Sausage-shaped but with cracks on the surface 

This type of stool is an indicator of a healthy bowel movement. You may find it easy and quick to pass. 


Type 4 – Snake like smooth and soft

This type of stool is also an indicator of a healthy bowel movement. It’s soft, smooth and easy to pass. According to health experts passing this type of stool every two days is normal. 


Type 5 – Soft blobs with cut edges

This type of stool is an indicator of not eating enough fibre. The stool is soft and easy to pass, however, there are in small irregular pieces. You should add some vegetables and fruits to your diet to improve your stool appearance. 


Type 6 – Mushy and fluffy blobs

This type of stool is an indicator of loose motion. If you pass this type more than three times in a day, that is a sign of mild diarrhoea. Drink plenty of water with electrolytes, soups or fruit juices to replace the loss of minerals. Keep yourself hydrated and you should be fine.


Type 7 – Watery, no pieces at all 

This type of stool is an indicator of stool moving through your bowel very quickly that it didn’t form a poo. If this persists three to four times a day you need to see a doctor immediately. This kind of bowel movement can cause you dehydration, stomach ache, dizziness and a high fever.  

Once you have understood the appearance of your bowel movement, the other factors such as colour, consistency and smell will give you an overall view of what’s happening in your body.


Colour, Consistency, and Smell of your bowel movement 
  • Green stool with liquid consistency – This isn’t normal and is an indicator of an infection which generally occurs when you have antibiotics. These kinds of medicine kill the good bacteria in your stomach which causes the colour and the consistency. It could also lead to dehydration and you may want to seek the advice of your doctor. 


  • Yellowish loose stool but with some solidity – This kind of bowel movement is an indicator of not eating right. The bowel movement shows that what you eat isn’t being processed correctly. You may want to consider a gluten-free diet. It could also mean you could have Celiac disease, so you should get your doctor to run a test.

  • Bloody or black colour stool – This kind of bowel movement indicates internal bleeding and it could indicate haemorrhoids or stomach ulcer. You should consult your doctor immediately if you notice blood in your stool. 

  •  Floating stool – If your stool floats it means you have too much gas in your digestive system. This can happen when you overload on gassy food such as brussels sprouts, beans, cabbage, broccoli and others. Or it could be an indicator of health conditions related to pancreas. If your stool is persistently floating you should consult your doctor.

  • Sulphur-smelling stool – If you are suffering from diarrhoea and running a fever with an eggy smelling stool. You should get it checked by your doctor. This kind of stool is an indicator of parasite in your gut that requires medical attention. 

  • Pale looking stool – If your stool looks white or flushed out it means you are lacking bile. Bile is a digestive fluid that is part of the liver and gallbladder. If your bile duct is blocked your stool will appear chalky in colour. This could happen due to side-effects of certain anti-diarrhoea medicines. If your stool appears pale you should consult your doctor for the treatment.


Signs of Good Bowel Function

Apart from you stool appearing normal in term of consistency, smell and colour here are the signs of good bowel movement –

  • Able to hold on to the pressure for a short time till you reach the bathroom. If you are unable to hold on to the pressure and pass the stool it is a sign of poor bowel function.
  • Passing stool within a minute after sitting down. A sign of good poop is when everything comes out without pushing or waiting for it.
  • No sign of struggle while pooping, everything comes out soft, smooth and easy without any struggle of passing hard and dry stool.
  • When you empty your bowel all in one go – no need to return to the bathroom soon after.

Pooping right is as important as eating right. When you have a healthy bowel movement you feel happy and energetic. This sets the tone of your day and your mood. So next time when you pass stool take a note of your poo as it will give you a peek into your digestive system.

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