Unlock the Secrets of your Poop [infographic]
Time you gave a sh*t about your poop
Our bodies are complex organisms, and there’s a lot that can go wrong with them. Running a temperature, pain, fatigue, and depression are all clear signs that there’s trouble afoot, and your poop is another sign, that, but did you know how to read it, could give you an early warning that all is not well. So if you don’t give a sh*t about your poop, you’re passing up a great opportunity of diagnosing any potential problems, and taking the advantage that early treatment of any condition or disease can bring.
Creating your own pooposcope
Reading the tea leaves or the coffee grounds might give you some insight into what’s in store for you; but then again it might not. Reading your poop however, will. So let’s get down to business and set about telling you how you can read your own pooposcope.
The Bristol Stool Chart
The color of your stools (posh word), their consistency, their size, and their smell are all tell-tale signs of certain aspects of your internal health. As we go through the motions (little hidden pun there) of teaching you what to look for when you examine your poop, we’ll make use of something called the “Bristol Stool Chart”. It’s something that researchers at the Bristol Royal Infirmary in the UK came up with. I always thought the Brits talked a load of ****, but they do it with such a cute accent! No, in all seriousness, it will help us to categorize the different types of poop and explain what each means.
The Perfect Poop
Who would have thought that finding the perfect poop could make you happy; but it should. It’s a sign that all is well on the inside. This is what the average stool consists of:
- Water (approx 75%)
- Solid matter (approx 25%)
The so-called solid matter can be broken down into:
- Dead bacteria
- Indigestible food matter (fiber and cellulose)
- Other fatty substances
The exact make-up and appearance of your stools will vary to a certain degree, according to what you have eaten and drunk. It normally takes somewhere between 18 and 72 hours to digest food and create poop. In an ideal world, (and now referring to the Bristol Stool Chart), the closer your stools are to types 3, 4, and 5, (4 & 5 being the ppp – the pinnacle of poop perfection), the better. When you have diarrhea, it’s because you’re stools have been processed to quickly and your intestines haven’t had time to extract as much water as they normally should. At the other end of the scale, failure to produce within 72 hours, is indicative of constipation, which may be linked to other problems.
Stool type # 1 – Small, hard lumpy stools
These types of stools can indicate acute disbacteriosis, which is an inflammation of the small intestine. Because certain bacteria are missing, there is little to be able to retain the water in the stool. These lumps of poop are small, solid, and abrasive, normally being anywhere from 1 to 2 cm in diameter. Because they are solid and somewhat scratchy, they can be quite painful to pass. This can cause anal bleeding. These types of stools are typical for anyone who has undergone a treatment of antibiotics, or anyone on a low fiber, or fiber free diet.
Stool type # 2 – Sausage shaped stools with lumps
This type of stool is actually a quantity of type 1 stools which have impacted into one single stool. They have a diameter of between 3 and 4 cm and often occur through constipation, remaining in the intestinal tract for several weeks. They are difficult and painful to pass, and may cause bleeding in the process, given their solidity, and the fact that their size exceeds that of the anal aperture.
This type of stool is typical for someone suffering from IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).
Stool type # 3 – Sausage shaped stools with a cracked surface
This type of stool is similar to stool number 2, but is processed faster, (typically between one and two weeks) and is therefore also indicative of constipation and irritable bowel syndrome.
Stool type # 4 – Sausage shaped stools, soft and smooth
This type of stool is pretty close to perfection. It is 1 to 2 cm in diameter (which indicates relatively short transit time and good fiber content). It is typical of someone who defecates once per day.
Stool type 5 – Soft blobs of poop with well defined edges
This type of poop is as close as you’ll get to poop perfection. With a diameter of between 1 and 1.5 centimeters, it is typical of someone who defecates two or three times per day following major meals.
Stool Type # 6 – Fluffy stools that have ragged, torn, edges
This type of stool is very soft in texture. It can catch people by surprise and cause problems if a bathroom isn’t close by. It can also be quite difficult to clean with toilet tissue alone. A bidet would be useful. This type of stool indicates high blood pressure, and stress.
Stool type # 7 – Diarrhea type – loose
This is similar to ordinary diarrhea but in this instance is something called paradoxical diarrhea because it happens in conjunction with constipation, accompanying stool type 1. It is often experienced by children and the elderly.
As well as size, shape, and consistency, the color of stools can be quite symptomatic, being an indicator of various conditions. A normal healthy stool, (or one than doesn’t indicate the existence of any problems) is a medium/light brown color.
- Black, tar, or bright red colored stools: These are an indication that there may be bleeding in the GI or anal tract, and you are advised to consult your doctor without delay. Please note however that black stools can be experienced from certain medications, various health supplements, and after eating black licorice.
- Very pale brown, gray, or white stools: This odd coloration can be caused through a lack of bile, although white stools can also be a result of taking antacids. However, these types of discolored stools may indicate problems such as cirrhosis, hepatitis, and pancreatic illness. These are all serious conditions and you should see your doctor immediately for a check-up.
- Yellow colored stools: Yellow colored stools can be an indication of a problem with your gallbladder, a giardia infection, or something known as Gilbert’s syndrome. Yellow stools are a prompt to visit your doctor.
No matter which way you dress it up, poop don’t smell nice. But there’s not nice, and then there’s downright nasty smelling poop. Vile smelling stools can be indicative of:
- A problem with absorption
- Celiac disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Cystic fibrosis