The state of your poo quality and quantity of, is a great indicator of the inner health of your body. The gastrointestinal tract processes and metabolizes nutrients and eliminates all of the body’s waste so it is fairly safe to say “what you find deposited on the outside is a true reflection of what is occurring on the inside”. In good health, it takes approximately 45 hours for your body to complete the food processing and waste cycle.
Bristol Stool Chart
There are seven types of stools according to the Bristol Stool Chart. The Bristol Stool Chart or Bristol Stool Scale is a medical aid designed to classify faeces into seven groups.
The type of stool or faeces depends on the time it spends in the colon. After you pass faeces, what you see in the toilet bowl is basically the result of your diet, fluids, medications and lifestyle. You can use the Bristol Stool Chart to check what your stools are telling you.
The Bristol Stool Chart shows seven categories of stool. Every person will have different bowel habits, but the important thing is that your stools are soft and easy to pass – like types 3 and 4 below.
- Type 1–2 indicate constipation
- Type 3–4 are ideal stools as they are easier to pass, and
- Type 5–7 may indicate diarrhea and urgency.
Constipation occurs when waste lingers in the gastrointestinal tract for longer than the required 45 hours and fluid is thus reabsorbed leading for a very dry and hard poo. There are many causes of constipation including gastrointestinal flora imbalance, medications, hormone imbalance, stress, food allergies, dehydration, low dietary fiber, poor nutrition, increased protein. Symptoms of constipation include headaches, irritability, bloating, rectal problems such as piles, fissures, hemorrhoids and in severe long term cases can lead to colorectal cancer.
The pancreas, salivary glands and pancreas all secret a combined 8 liters of fluid in an effort to assist the digestive process. In a healthy body these fluids are then reabsorbed however, if the food processing system has not been done at an increased speed, the body does not have enough time to complete the absorption process and as such diarrhea occurs. Diarrhea can be caused by bacterial and viral infections, food poisoning, high dietary fiber, stress, medications, food allergies, poor nutrition, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Coeliac disease, gastrointestinal flora imbalance and intestinal parasites, just to name a few. Symptoms can include dehydration, abdominal cramping, weight loss, anemia, tooth decay, hair loss, headaches and lethargy with long term effects once again leading to severe health issues such as colonrectal cancer.
Pencil thin: Could be an indicator of hemorrhoids or polyps in the colon or even colonrectal cancer. Seek medical advice.
Pale/Grey: Could indicate liver or pancreatic issues. Seek medical advice.
Bright red/blood streaks: Could indicate hemorrhoids, anal fissures or in severe cases colonrectal cancers. Seek medical advice.
Dark/black: Could indicate bleeding in the stomach or esophagus. Seek medical advice.
Yellow/clay/floats: Could indicate fat and nutrient malabsorption issues. Seek medical advice.