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Learn about your poop by comparing to real stool pictures.

While the topic of poop may not be the most glamorous, it is an essential aspect of our overall health. The shape of our poop can provide valuable insights into the functioning of our digestive system and indicate any underlying issues. In this page, we will explore what the shape of your poop tells you, how to identify different shapes, and what they may signify for your well-being.

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Understanding the Importance of Poop Shape:

The shape of your poop is an essential indicator of how well your digestive system is functioning. The Bristol Stool Chart, developed by the Bristol Royal Infirmary in the UK, categorizes different poop shapes into seven types, ranging from Type 1 (hard lumps) to Type 7 (watery diarrhea). Each shape on the chart represents a distinct consistency and provides insights into your digestive health.

Let’s dive into the different shapes and their implications:

Bristol Stool Chart Type 1, Constipation - Large Individual Lumps

Type 1: Separate Hard Lumps

If your poop resembles separate hard lumps, it falls under Type 1 on the Bristol Stool Chart. This shape indicates constipation and suggests that your stool is spending too much time in the colon, causing excessive water absorption. It may be a sign of inadequate fiber intake, dehydration, or certain medications.

Bristol Stool Chart Type 2, Mild Constipation - Sausage Shaped with Lumps

Type 2: Lumpy and Sausage-Like

Type 2 stool is characterized by lumpy and sausage-like appearance. While it indicates mild constipation, it is closer to the ideal poop shape. This suggests that you may need to increase your fiber intake, drink more water, and ensure regular physical activity to promote better bowel movements.

Bristol Stool Chart Type 3, Normal - Sausage Shaped with Cracks

Type 3: Sausage-Like with Cracks

Type 3 stool is sausage-like with cracks on its surface. It indicates normal bowel movements and signifies a healthy balance of water content and stool formation. This shape represents a healthy poop consistency that is relatively easy to pass.

Bristol Stool Chart Type 4, Normal - Sausage Shaped Smooth and Soft

Type 4: Smooth and Sausage-Like

Type 4 stool, often considered the “Goldilocks” of poop shapes, is smooth and sausage-like, resembling a well-formed snake. It indicates a healthy balance of fiber, water, and transit time through the colon. Type 4 is the ideal poop shape, suggesting a healthy digestive system and regular bowel movements.

Bristol Stool Chart Type 5, Lacking Fiber - Soft Individual Blobs with Clearcut Edges

Type 5: Soft Blobs with Clear-Cut Edges

Type 5 stool appears as soft blobs with clear-cut edges. It is looser than Type 4 but still maintains some form. This shape may indicate a slightly accelerated transit time through the colon, possibly due to a high-fiber diet or certain medications.

Bristol Stool Chart Type 6, Mild Diarrhea - Mushy Stool, Fluffy, Ragged Edges

Type 6: Fluffy and Mashed Potatoes-Like

Type 6 stool has a fluffy and mashed potatoes-like consistency. It suggests looser stools and may be associated with conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), dietary factors, or certain medications. If you consistently experience Type 6 stools without any specific reason, it is advisable to seek medical evaluation.

Bristol Stool Chart Type 7, Diarrhea - Runny, Completely Liquid Poop

Type 7: Watery and Entirely Liquid

Type 7 stool is entirely liquid, resembling watery diarrhea. This shape indicates severe diarrhea and suggests an increased fluid content in the stool. It can be a result of infections, food poisoning, medications, or gastrointestinal disorders. If you experience persistent Type 7 stools, it is crucial to seek medical attention for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Woman holds a color wheel up to her pants and points at brown green colors, poopedia, what does the color of your poop mean

What does the color of your poop tell you?

The color of your poop can vary significantly depending on your diet, medications, and overall health. While some stool colors are normal, others may indicate an underlying issue. Find out what your stool color means.

What does the smell of your poop tell you?

The odors emitted during bowel movements can vary, indicating different factors and potential health issues. Let’s delve into what the smell of your poop tells you, the significance of different odors, and when to seek medical attention.

Three stacked rolls of toilet paper with a eucalyptus snipping, what does the smell of your poop mean
Overflow Diarrhea

Is it diarrhea or is it constipation?

Diarrhea is a common gastrointestinal issue experienced by many people, but overflow diarrhea is a specific type that requires closer attention. It occurs when liquid stool leaks around a blockage in the intestine, leading to frequent and loose bowel movements. Explore the causes, symptoms, and management of overflow diarrhea to provide a comprehensive understanding of this condition.

Woman holds her hands over her stomach, food intolerance

Is it food intolerance?

Food intolerance happens when a person has difficulty digesting a particular food or food group. While it is not life threatening, it can significantly affect a person’s quality of life.  

Poopedia.org logo of a cute poop icon, What does your poop tell you about your body

Understanding Your Bowel Movements

The shape of your poop provides valuable insights into your digestive health and overall well-being. By paying attention to the shape and consistency of your poop, you can identify potential issues, such as constipation, dehydration, or gastrointestinal disorders. Remember that variations in poop shape can occur due to diet, hydration, medications, or temporary factors. However, if you notice persistent changes or have concerns about your digestive health, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and guidance.

All the stool pictures featured on this website have been generously provided by participants in our IBS Dietitian programs. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to each and every client who has granted us permission to utilize their stool pictures, contributing to the development of this informative and educational platform. thank all of our clients for granting us permission to use their stool picture to create this educational website.

References:

American College of Gastroenterology. (2021). ACG clinical guideline: management of irritable bowel syndrome. The American Journal of Gastroenterology, 116(1), 17-44. doi: 10.14309/ajg.0000000000001001

American College of Gastroenterology. (2020). ACG Clinical Guideline: Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth. The American Journal of Gastroenterology, 115(2), 165-178. doi:10.14309/ajg.0000000000000501

Mayo Clinic. (2022). Stool Colors: What They Mean. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/stool-color/expert-answers/faq-20058080

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. (2017). Gas in the Digestive Tract. Retrieved from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/gas-digestive-tract