Bristol Stool Chart
The Bristol Stool Chart
*Warning: Some of the pictures on this page are very graphic.
Dr. Group added the following category which is not an original part of the Bristol Stool Scale.
Type 8: Stool has a mucous-like consistency, with bubbles and a foul odor (sprayed out). This may indicate unsafe amounts of alcohol and/or recreational drugs.
Constipation can be indicated by types one and two above. Types three and four are considered normal stools and five six and seven are indicative of Diarrhea and type 8 is as described above.
Did you realise you should pass a stool at least once or twice a day?
Did you know if your stool smells really foul you may be ingesting too many animal proteins?
Did you know if there is mucous present in your stool that you may be eating too many unhealthy foods or foods that you are allergic to?
In the United Kingdom; the Bristol Stool Scale was developed by a team of Gastroenterologists at the University of Bristol. It is now a recognized, general measurement used in the health care profession to evaluate the consistency or form of stools. This scale is a medical tool designed to classify one’s bowel movements into seven distinct categories. There is a direct correlation between the form of the stool and the amount of time it has spent in the colon. Therefore, the Bristol Stool Scale can be used to measure the consistency or form of a patient’s stools, presenting your health care provider with more information for detecting patterns or changes in bowel habits. However, it’s important to remember that this scale is intended to provide a general, not exact, measurement of fecal form and consistency.
The Bristol Stool Scale classifies feces into seven types, based on their appearance as seen in the toilet water. They are distinguished as follows:
Type 1: Feces come out in separate, hard lumps, similar to nuts. Type 1 stools have spent the longest amount of time in the colon and are generally difficult to pass. When feces sits in the colon for too long, it can cause one to become constipated. This condition is usually caused by a lack of fluids, lack of friendly bacteria, stress, excess mucus, and not enough good fiber. Avoid alcohol, baking soda, and all products with refined white flour, sugar, white rice and yeast.
Type 2: Stools are sausage-like in appearance but lumpy.
Type 3: Stool comes out similar to a sausage but with cracks in the surface.
Type 4: Feces are smooth and soft in the form of a sausage or snake.
Type 5: Feces form soft blobs with clear-cut edges that are easily passed through the system.
Type 6: Stools have fluffy pieces with ragged edges. These are considered mushy stools.
Type 7: Stool is entirely liquid and watery with no solid pieces. This type of stool has spent the least time in the colon. Diarrhea is usually caused by a bacterial or virus infection from foods or water. It can also be caused from anxiety, food allergy, drugs, or other problems in the colon. This is a sign that something is wrong and the body is trying to cleanse itself.
Please Note: The following is Dr. Group’s addition and not part of the original 7 categories of the Bristol Stool Scale.
Type 8: Stool is foul-smelling and mucous-like with bubbles (sprayed out). This indicates excessive intake of alcohol and/or recreational drugs. Please seek professional help for your addiction.
Stools at the lower end of the scale are hard to pass and often require a lot of straining. In general, if you are constipated, you will be passing stools that are categorized as Type One or Two, and not very often at all. Those who are suffering from have diarrhea will be passing Type Six, Seven, or Eight stools on a very frequent basis. Stools at the loose or liquid end of the spectrum may pass through the system almost too easily, causing an urgency to defecate as well as potential “accidents.” The rule of thumb is that Types Three and Four stools that are passed once every three days qualifies as “normal.”
*Warning: Some of the pictures on this page are very graphic.
Full of mucus
Whenever your stool has a lot of mucus in it, (mucus is a clear, white or yellow substance with the consistency of jelly, which is produced by the mucous membrane of the large intestine), it is there to protect the lining of the intestines and help make things pass more easily. This is a sign that Crohn’s is active. When you have ulcers in the intestines, they will produce puss and mucus. You should let your doctor know that it is there and if it is more than usual.
This is a sign of bad digestion and that you have a lot of air inside your intestines. This happens usually when you eat something that you were not supposed to eat - like chocolate, milk products or fatty things like fries.
When your poop starts to smell like really foul eggs, take note. If this continues for a few days, and comes with lots of cramping and diarrhea, then let your my doctor know. Sometimes you may get foul-smelling poop from eating something that you should not have eaten. But, it could also mean the resurgence of Crohn’s so pay attention.
Ribbon like or small in diameter
This is due to the narrowing of the intestines. Each time that your intestines heal after being ulcerated, the scar tissue that forms is not as flexible as the tissue that was there before the ulcer. This means that the intestine can not stretch as much as normal so the stool will become smaller.
Stool comes in a range of colors. All shades of brown and even green are considered normal. Only rarely does stool color indicate a potentially serious intestinal condition.
Stool color is generally influenced by what you eat as well as by the amount of bile — a yellow-green fluid that digests fats — in your stool. As bile pigments travel through your gastrointestinal tract, they are chemically altered by enzymes — changing the pigments from green to brown.
Consult your doctor if you're concerned about your stool color. If your stool is bright red or black — which may indicate the presence of blood — seek prompt medical attention.
"Basically, the feces are very much related to diet. When we eat more vegetables, the feces can have partially green palm tree color, while eating more meat can give brown black to the color of the feces. In addition to that, eating more meat may cause strong unbearable smell of the feces, discomfort to defecate and in severe cases may cause constipation and accelerate the aging of our gastrointestinal tract. If you consume foods or liquids rich in artificial flavors or chemical, the feces may also smell worse. In fact, certain drugs and medication may also cause the change of the feces’ shape, texture and color
A renowned Japanese expert, specializing in human feces, said that we can diagnose our health condition by inspecting our own defecation color, smell and shape.
The healthy feces are usually 3 centimeter in diameter, golden yellow or brown in color, soft but not too soft like a mud. They have no strong smell or taste, with 2 to 3 pieces of feces for each bowel action. The absence of pressure is less or loose during defecation. You poop easily and comfortably without pressing or pushing too hard on the feces.
The feces should contain 70 to 80% of water content, and they should be floating on top of the water in your toilet ball. In term of hardness, the normal healthy feces should be soft and in a complete form. Normal stool should be cylindrical, modest in size and a feel of shiny texture. If the stool stays too long in our large intestine, it may appear in a granular form or too coarse."
Quoted from http://healthmad.com/conditions-and-diseases/are-your-feces-healthy/
What Your Stool Color Could Mean to You!
While most people don't examine their stool after having a bowel movement, it may be one of the most important things that you can do for your digestive health. The color of your stool can tell you all sorts of things about the health of your digestive system-ranging from what you ate the previous night to having dangerous bleeding in your colon.
Let's take a look at all the different colors starting with...
The medical term for the passage of red stools is "hematochezia." The brighter color of the blood indicates that it may be coming from a source in the lower gastrointestinal tract (colon), rather than the higher gastrointestinal tract (esophagus, stomach, small intestine).Red or maroon-colored stools can also mean the presence of blood in your stools; in the medical field this condition is called hematochezi. The difference between this color and the black or tarry color is the location of the bleeding. A red or maroon colored stool usually indicates a fresher blood and therefore lower G.I. bleeding.
If you think you are experiencing blood in your stool, it is important to consult your physician. One of the first things your physician will do is to try and determine from where the bleeding is coming. This can usually be determined by taking a history on the patient and examining the shade of red of the blood. Maroon colored stool may
If you have the occasional green stool -- don't panic! Most likely it is normal, and there is a perfectly reasonable explanation. Think about the foods you ate, any vitamins or supplements you took -- even if they're not green in color.
Stools can also appear green for physical reasons, and not just from what you've been eating. We think of a healthy stool as being brown. Bile that is secreted in the first part of the small intestine is actually green. As stool is digested and passed through thelarge intestine it is turned into a darker brown color.
If stool is still green by the time it is excreted, it could mean that it went through the large intestine too fast to be changed in color. This is often called "rapid transit" or "decreased colonic transit time" and diarrhea that is green in color could be the result.
Food and medicine are not the only reasons for green stool; a fast transit time can cause a stool to turn green. If your stool is passing too rapidly through your large intestine, it does not allow bile to break it down. Before being broken down by bile stool is green; bile turns the stool brown. When stool passes too quickly, bile is not allowed to break it down and it will appear green. If this continues for long periods of time or is combined with diarrhea, consult your doctor.
Black, tarry and foul-smelling stools may be referred to as "Melena" by your doctor. The color may be because of blood in the stool. This could indicate an injury or disorder to your digestive tract. If the amount of blood is enough to actually change the appearance of your stool, your doctor may ask the exact color. This will determine the origin point of the blood. To make an accurate diagnosis, the doctor may perform an endoscopy or special x-ray. If the amount of blood is enough to actually change the appearance of your stool, your doctor may ask the exact color. This will determine the origin point of the blood. To make an accurate diagnosis the doctor may perform an endoscopy or special x-ray. Black bowel movements generally mean the blood is coming from the upper section of the GI Tract. That means the esophagus, stomach or first section of the small intestine. The tar-like consistency in the stool means the blood has been exposed to digestive juices. Stomach ulcers caused by ibuprofen, naproxen or aspirin are also common causes of upper GI bleeding. Other causes may include:
The black color alone is not enough to determine that it is blood that is being passed in the stool. Therefore, a doctor will need to confirm whether there is blood in your stool. This can be done in the office through a rectal exam. Or, you may be sent home with a kit to collect a small stool sample that can be sent to a lab for evaluation.
The blood could be caused by several different conditions including a bleeding ulcer, gastritis, esophageal varices or a tear in the esophagus from violent vomiting (Mallory-Weiss tear). The tarry appearance of the stool is from the blood having contact with the body’s digestive juices.
After melena is diagnosed, a physician may order other diagnostic tests to determine the cause and exact location of the bleeding. This could include x-rays, blood tests, colonoscopy, gastroscopy, stool culture, and barium studies
A black stool caused by food, supplements, medication, or minerals is known as "false melena." Iron supplements, taken alone or as part of a multivitamin for iron-deficient anemia, may cause stools to be black or even greenish in color. Foods that are dark blue or black in color may also cause black stools. Substances that can cause false melena are:
A physician should be consulted immediately if black stools can not be attributed to a benign cause such as an iron supplement or a food.
If your stool shows orange coloring, it can usually be attributed to foods or medications that you may be taking. Certain medications with beta-carotene (such as a form of vitamin A) can cause orange coloring of your stool. Antacids which contain aluminum hydroxide can also cause orange stool.
Foods that are high in beta-carotene can have the same orange effect on your stool. These include; carrots, sweet potatoes, kale, spinach, turnip greens, winter squash, collard greens, cilantro and fresh thyme. Lastly any foods that have yellow or orange artificial colorings can also cause orange-colored stool. If you can't attribute your
Foods that are high in beta-carotene can have the same orange effect on your stool. These include; carrots, sweet potatoes, kale, spinach, turnip greens, winter squash, collard greens, cilantro and fresh thyme. Lastly any foods that have yellow or orange artificial colorings can also cause orange-colored stool. If you can't attribute your orange stool with anything you ingested, then it may be caused by a lack of exposure to bile salt. Stool starts out as green then turns a yellow/orange in color before being exposed to bile and bacteria which turns the stool brown.
Low exposure to bile salt can be caused by a couple different factors. First, your transit time is so fast that your stool is being pushed through your digestive system too quickly. This quick movement of stool reduces the exposure to bile salt resulting in orange stool. Second, your liver may not be producing enough bile salt or you bile glands may be obstructed.
If you are experiencing orange-colored stool that can't be attributed to food or medications you are taking, then you should consult your physician.
Yellow Stool is rare
A pale or yellow-colored stool is rare and can be caused by a few different malfunctions of the digestive system.
The first is known as Gilbert's Syndrome, which mainly affects males in their teens. If you suffer from this syndrome, it means your liver doesn't process as many red blood cells. Broken down red bloods cells gives stool a lot of its color. When fewer cells are processed, the stool can appear a pale brown or yellow color. This is not a serious illness and doesn't harm the individual.
Another more serious illness is a parasite infection known as giardia. These are Protozoan parasites which invade the intestines, and the result is a severe yellow diarrhea. This type of parasitic infection is dangerous and contagious.You should notify your doctor immediately, if you think you are infected.
Lastly, if you suffer from malabsorption, your stool may appear to be yellow in color. When your body doesn't properly absorb fats from the food you eat, it passes through your colon into your stool. The excess fat can give the yellow coloring to your stool.
Whenever your stool is yellow in color, consult physician for proper diagnosis.
A stool that appears clay in color is often seen in cases of malabsorption, hepatitis, or gallbladder disorders.
Hepatitis and gallbladder disorders often interrupt the flow of bile out of the liver. This disruption will cause the clay color of the stool. Malabsorption also disrupts the output of bile by increasing the amount of undigested fat in the stool.
Bile is responsible for breaking down stool and making it brown in color. When the production is lowered the stool will appear clay in color. If this is experienced for a long period of time or is accompanied with a foul smell or greasy stools, a doctor should be consulted.
I hope you will now take notice of your personal stools with a view to checking out whether you are healthy or not, and if you should be adjusting your diet in any way. Especially look out for brown blood (old blood) in your stools, as this can indicate Bowel / Colon Cancer, and is best caught early. Do not panic too much over red blood in stools as this can simply be hemorrhoids.