See what the shape of your poop says about your digestive health

Probiotic Dan
Happy poopingPhoto byAlexa/Pixabay

Everybody poops alright, but poop is different for everybody. In fact, experts profile your poop based on various elements, including shape, size, and color. Still, shape is probably the element that most of us tend to notice when we do our business.

A question that might or might not have crossed your mind is; What does the shape of your poop say about your health?

According to the Continence Foundation of Australia, the reason why the shape of your poop matters is because the end result is determined by how well your gastrointestinal system performs in terms of digestion, nutrient absorption, and waste elimination.

So it is good to think of the poop in your toilet bowl as a report card of your digestive health.

As such, understanding what the shape of your stool means can help you identify possible underlying digestive system health issues.

What is the Ideal Poop Shape?

According to the Bristol Stool Chart, healthy poop is one that resembles a smooth, soft sausage or a banana. It is well-formed, easy to pass, and neither too hard nor too loose.

Hope you got that right: A smooth, soft sausage, or a snake

Your Poop Probably Looks Like one of These

It is likely that your poop can be categorized into one of these seven shapes as outlined by the Bristol Stool Chart. Coincidentally, each of these shapes has its own story to tell about your overall health and wellbeing.
Type 1-3 of the Bristol stool chartPhoto byJohn C Bullas BSc MSc PhD MCIHT MIAT/Flickr
Type 4-6 of the bristol stool chartPhoto byJohn C Bullas BSc MSc PhD MCIHT MIAT/flickr

Let us cover each type of poop briefly:

Type 1: Separate Hard Lumps

If this is what you have, the Continence Foundation of Australia notes that this is mostly because you are constipated. Moreover, it is also an indication that you lack enough fiber in your diet.

Type 2: Lumpy and Sausage-like

If your poop is almost sausage shaped but it is dry and lumpy, the indication is just as above as per the Continence Foundation of Australia. These poop experts point to mild constipation and they note that the best place to start is to increase your water and fiber intake.

Type 3: Sausage-shaped with Surface Cracks

According to Cary Gastro GI physicians, this poop shape is still considered ideal, although not perfect.

However, if you are still aspiring for perfection, these GI experts recommend adding more water, fiber, healthy fats, and good bacteria to your diet.

Type 4: Smooth and soft aka the sausage poop

First of all, congratulations on winning the poop lottery if this is what you are dropping in your toilet bowl on the daily.

The Continence Foundation of Australia agrees that when your poop is smooth and soft like a sausage or a snake, it is an indication that your digestion is optimal and your diet habits are probably enviable.

The rest of us are still working to get to your level, but for you just make sure you maintain this excellence.

Type 5: Soft blobs with clear-cut edges

If you type has not come up yet, I will not lie to you, we are now starting to get into the problematic poops. Chances are that from this point your problem will be harder to solve.

The GI doctors at Miskawaan Health Group also hypothesize that if your poop comes out as soft blobs with defined edges, chances are that your gut bacteria is off-balance.

Type 6: Mushy consistency with ragged edges

The mushy poop with no clear shape and ragged edges mostly says that your digestion is not completing the intended cycle as noted by the Continence Foundation of Australia. Basically, your intestines are not working as they should in respect to water and nutrient absorption.

After further exploration, the experts at WebMD point out a condition known as dysbiosis. Basically, it means that you might have gut inflammation and your gut bacteria is terribly imbalanced.

Some of the other symptoms of dysbiosis as noted by these experts include, allergies, skin conditions, bloating, and digestive issues.

Type 7: Watery and liquid

According to the Bristol Stool Chart, this stool indicates diarrhea and suggests an issue with water absorption in the colon. If this is a regular thing for you, experts recommend that you should consult your healthcare provider.

Which are the other unhealthy stool shapes you should watch out for?

Apart from the 7 types outlined in the Bristol Stool Chart, some other shapes may indicate potential digestive issues:

Pencil-thin stools

If this is the case for you, the Fight Colorectal Cancer organization, points that it is an indication of the narrowing of the colon and you should be evaluated by a healthcare professional. Moreover, it could be a sign of an underlying issue, such as a tumor or obstruction.

Large, bulky stools

Now, if you are filling up the entire bowl in one sitting, it is still not an ideal poop. According to this Healthline resource, experiencing consistently large stools could indicate a diet high in processed foods, low fiber intake, constipation or inadequate water consumption.

The Conclusion

Monitoring the shape and consistency of your stool is an essential part of maintaining good digestive health. While occasional variations in stool shape are normal, persistent changes could indicate underlying issues that require attention.

Remember to maintain a balanced diet, stay adequately hydrated, and consult a healthcare professional if you have serious concerns about your digestive health.

Again remember, your poop is the report card of your gut's overall health!

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Probiotic Lifestyle ambassador and Philosopher. Get wise or die trying!

Boston, MA

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