You can tell quite a lot about how well your bowels are working by looking at your
stools. Stools have been classified into seven types, om what is called the Bristol Stool
Form Scale, according to what they look like in toilet water. The scale reflects how long
a stool has been in the colon. Type 1 has spent the longest in the colon and Type 7 the least time.
Stools at the lumpy end of the scale are hard to pass and often require a lot of straining. Stools at the liquid end of the scale can be too easy to pass – the need to pass them is urgent andaccidents can happen. The ‘ideal’ stool is either type 3, 4 or 5, as they pass out easily and are least likely to leave you with a feeling that you have left something behind.
*TYPE 1. Separate hard lumps, like nuts.
*TYPE 2. Sausage-like, but lumpy.
*TYPE 3. Like a sausage or snake, but with cracks on the surface.
*TYPE 4. Like a sausage or snake, smooth and soft.
*TYPE 5. Soft blobs with clear-cut edges.
*TYPE 6. Fluffy pieces with ragged edges, a mushy stool.
*TYPE 7. Watery, no solid pieces.What is normal?
Bowel habits are an individual thing. Some people open their bowels twice a day, while others
go every other day. Generally anything from one a day to one every four days is considered
normal, however there are perfectly healthy people whose habits fall outside this range.The ‘look’ of your stool is probably a better indication that your bowels are working as they
should. Doctors generally believe if your stools are well-formed (like a sausage) and glide out
without any fuss or discomfort, then you are going pretty well no matter how often (or not)
you visit the loo.
Changes in the frequency, consistency, or volume of bowel movements that lasts more than
a few days, or the presence of blood, mucus, pus, or excess fatty material (oil or grease) in
the stool may be a sign that something is not quite right and you should consult your doctor.