Believe it or not, your bowel movements tell you a lot about what’s going on
in your body. And there’s even an official scale to track it.
The Bristol Stool Scale was developed by gastroenterologists at the University of Bristol to categorize
stool we commonly see. You can use the scale to describe the physical attributes and point you in the right direction for actions you may need to take.
Bristol Stool Scale
What Your Poop Is Telling You
Levels 3-4 are considered normal. Stool is medium brown, smooth sausage-like consistency with no undigested food particles present. You should have 1-3 bowel movements a day. Any less than that is considered constipation and any more, diarrhea.
Levels 1-2 are considered constipation while Levels 5-6 are considered diarrhea.
Constipation (Levels 1-2) can be tied to factors like hypothyroid issues, (lack of) exercise, hormone imbalance, perimenopause, medications, and/or supplements (like iron). No bowel movement in 3 or more days is a red flag something is amiss and you should seek the help of a healthcare professional.
Diarrhea (Levels 5-6) can be linked to side effects from medications and too much of certain supplements like magnesium or Vit C. Other factors to consider are bacterial overgrowth, parasites, viruses, and food intolerances. If your diarrhea is consistent, you may have IBS/IBD like Crohn’s, Again, seeking the help of a healthcare professional may be warranted.
Thin & Narrow stools, not listed on the chart, fall in the constipation category. These can be linked to IBS and sometimes colon cancer. If this is a regular occurrence, it’s best to seek the advice of a healthcare professional to rule out cancer.
COLOR AND SMELL
In addition to the shape of your stool, you want to notice and track things like changes in color or strong smells.
Really foul odor may indicate you have trouble digesting proteins or your protein intake is too high.
Lots of mucous, rancid, foul & lingering stool may indicate you are eating too many unhealthy foods or that you have some food allergies that need to be addressed.
Floating stool may indicate you are having trouble digesting fats.
What You Can Do To Improve It
Whether you have diarrhea or constipation, your first step should always be to drink more water and eat more fiber-rich foods like whole fruit, vegetable, and grains. If that doesn’t resolve it or makes it worse, then you dig deeper.
The next step is addressing some of the factors (listed above) that are linked to constipation and diarrhea. Consider cleaning up your diet to support your imbalance and doing a gut cleanse to clear your digestive imbalance.
If you know you experience type 1-2 and 5-6 more often than not, let’s chat. Schedule a 15-min free chat with me so you can learn more about what you can do to have regular bowel movements.
What do you usually see?
Do you ever look? If you don’t, now is a great time to start taking a peak. Even better yet, it’s a great time to start tracking it.
You can download my Gut & Hormone Healing Journal here and track your food, poop, and other signs & symptoms related to your health. This information is key to understanding what foods may be giving you trouble.