We all poop, but no one likes to talk about it, which is easy to discern as it all comes down to your manners — it’s embarrassing, gross, and taboo. With that said, a problem arises when people suffering from serious poop issues like constipation or diarrhea also avoid discussing this matter.
While it may not be so comfy for you, it’s quite the opposite for physicians. They are almost always concerned about your bowel habits, how your poop looks like, how frequently you poop, and so on so forth. Why is that so? According to medical professionals, your poop speaks volumes about your gut health. And since your gut health holds the key to your overall wellness, it’s crucial for them to know the different forms of poop and how they relate to your gut health. In fact, the experts at the University of Bristol designed a medical tool named Bristol Stool Scale or Bristol Stool Chart (BSS) to classify the forms of human poop into seven categories. 
Bristol Stool Scale
|Type 1||Separate hard lumps, like nuts (hard to pass)|
|Type 2||Sausage-shaped, but lumpy|
|Type 3||Like a sausage but with cracks on its surface|
|Type 4||Like a sausage or snake, smooth and soft|
|Type 5||Soft blobs with clear cut edges (easy to pass)|
|Type 6||Fluffy pieces with ragged edges, a mushy stool|
|Type 7||Watery, no solid pieces, entirely liquid|
Here are a few things you can learn about your health just by looking at your poop.
1. Not consuming enough water and fiber
A healthy individual should be able to poop on a regular basis. Poop is a waste and your body needs to get rid of it every single day, or else, the old, rotten stools will stick to your colonic walls and start releasing toxins into your system.
However, if you’re not drinking enough water or low on dietary fiber, your poop may not come out as an ideal type 3/4 “sausage or snake-like” form (as classified on the BSS). Instead, you’ll pass hard lumps of stool after constant straining. If this is the case, you’re likely suffering from constipation due to dehydration and poor fiber diet.
2. Having IBS-predominant Constipation (IBS-C)
Another reason that your poop is hard, lumpy, or pellet-like could be IBS-C. With IBS-C, you’ll also likely experience belly cramps and bloating.
3. Having weak GI muscles
Your gut has muscles that squeeze to move things forward along your intestines. If these muscles are not strong enough to do their job, your poop will sit in your large intestine for a longer time. The longer your poop stays in your large bowel, more water is drawn from it, making it lumpy and hard.
4. Having IBS-predominant Diarrhea (IBS-D)
Provided that food poisoning has been excluded, passing watery stools on a regular basis can be a sign of IBS-predominant diarrhea (IBS-D), SIBO, or food sensitivities. If you’re passing this type of poop, be sure to talk to your doctor to address the underlying cause.
5. Indicating serious bowel issues
Sometimes, your poop may be harder or mushier to pass due to more serious causes like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or colon cancer.
6. Revealing the health of your Gut Bacteria
More interesting is the relation between the look of your poop and the makeup of your gut microbiome. Diving into this fact, Dr. Vandeputte and fellows reveal how the consistency of your poop reflects major alterations in the composition of your gut bacteria. According to these experts, your poop changes as the makeup of your gut microbiome changes.  People with a balanced gut flora will likely have normal type 3 or type 4 poops as opposed to those with unhealthy gut microbes.
7. Signaling a serious GI bleed
A change in the color of your poop is also important. Passing black, tarry, sticky, shiny poop may indicate an upper stomach bleed. However, be sure to exclude more trivial causes beforehand, in particular, the intake of medicines like Pepto-Bismol or iron supplements. Similarly, a bright red poop could be a red flag for lower GI bleed.
Support your Gut Microbiome and bowel health
The type, shape, color, and consistency of your poop can give you a whole lot of insight into your gut health. Any poop types other than the type 3 or 4 on a BSS, are not normal and require more work to be done. Besides, if you’re spending more time in the toilet or running to make it just in time, your bowel movements are not normal and need to be addressed. Hence, we recommend touch-basing with your doctor whenever you have an alteration in your bowel habits that is outside of the norm.
Moreover, since an imbalance in your gut bacteria can also contribute to dehydrated or diarrheal stools, it’s important that you balance your gut flora with a high-quality probiotic like that of MicrobiomePlus. Likewise, consider ridding your body of the waste stacked up within your bowels by using the Microbiome Plus+ Colon Cleanse and Detox.
- Lewis SJ, Heaton KW. Stool form scale as a useful guide to intestinal transit time. Scand J Gastroenterol. 1997;32(9):920-4.
- Vandeputte D, Falony G, Vieira-Silva S, Tito RY, Joossens M, Raes J. Stool consistency is strongly associated with gut microbiota richness and composition, enterotypes and bacterial growth rates. Gut. 2015;65(1):57–62. doi:10.1136/gutjnl-2015-309618.