What to look for in a healthy poo?

Your bowel habits and the health of your stools reflects your gut health and can help to identify issues with digestion, stool transit time, if you are eating enough fibre and drinking enough water and potentially more serious health issues.

Normal stools are soft and formed, not hard or lumpy, and are passed without urgency or straining. When going to the toilet you should be aware of the following:

What to look for in healthy poo?

Noise – it should make little to no noise when it hits the water in the toilet.

Size – preferably in one piece and the longer the better.

Colour – stools contain a pigment called bilirubin, which forms when red blood
cells break down and should be mid-brown in colour (this can be affected by a large amount of coloured food, such as beetroot).

Texture – soft and solid (not hard and with no cracks). It should sink slowly to the bottom of the toilet and not float, splash or drop like a rock.

Smell – it should have an odour emitted by the bacteria it contains.

Pain-free – passed easily with minimal straining (and taking no longer than 10 minutes).

Regularity – once or twice daily and a minimum of 3-4 times a week.

Consistent – we are all different, but should have our own consistent bowel habits and monitor any major changes.

The Bristol Stool Chart classifies stools into seven categories and understanding which category you fall in may help to indicate your gut health.

Transit time is reduced as we go from Type 1 to Type 7, from constipation to diarrhoea.

Types 1 and 2 indicate constipation and shouldn't happen often - increasing water intake should help with this. If not, please visit your doctor.
Types 3 and 4 are normal poop types - they should be soft and easy to pass.
Type 5 indicates a lack of fibre.
Types 6 and 7 are types of diarrhoea - drink additional water to avoid dehydration, identify the cause and seek medical advice if it does not return to normal within a few days.

Bristol Stool Cart and the health of your poo