Bristol Stool Chart

Most of us would probably prefer not to examine our ‘number twos’ all that closely. We’d rather flush and forget.

But getting familiar with the shape and consistency of our bowel movements can help us better manage our health. So, how can we learn about our health from our stools?

That’s where the Bristol Stool Chart can help us.

The Bristol Stool Chart is a 7-type scale that can help you assess your bowel health. You can use it to help identify likely problems like constipation or diarrhoea.

Understanding the Bristol Stool Chart

The Bristol Stool Chart groups stools into 7 types, based on relative firmness and appearance.

  • Type 1: Separate hard lumps like nuts.
  • Type 2: Sausage-shaped but lumpy.
  • Type 3: Sausage-shaped but with cracks on the surface.
  • Type 4: Sausage-shaped or snake-like; smooth and soft.
  • Type 5: Soft blobs with clear-cut edges. Passes easily.
  • Type 6: Fluffy pieces with ragged edges; mushy stool.Opening your bowels less often than usual
  • Type 7: Entirely liquid, watery, with no solid pieces.

If your stool is hard and difficult to pass (types 1 and 2), you are likely constipated. If your stool is loose and watery (types 5 to 7), you may be experiencing diarrhoea. Normal stool consistency stool is well-formed and easy to pass (types 3 and 4).

This is a guide only. For medical advice or diagnosis see your doctor.


Stefan’s Stuhl Chart

Let’s face it, the idea of looking at your stools can leave some of us feeling a bit… yuck.

The Coloxyl Bristol Stool Chart — brought to you by Stefan the stool expert — helps to make it easier. Here are the 7 types of stools according to Stefan:

coloxyl stool chart
  • Types 1 and 2 you may have constipation, and you may want to consider a constipation remedy. No one should have to endure an uncomfy stool.
  • Types 3 and 4 are generally considered normal stool types. As comfortable and reliable as your favourite chair.
  • Types 5-7 indicate likely diarrhoea. There is such a thing as too spongy when it comes to stools. If you are using a constipation treatment, it’s recommended you speak with your doctor before making any changes.

This is a guide only. For medical advice or diagnosis see your doctor.


Health Implications

Stool shape and consistency can vary, even between individual bowel motions. It’s important to pay attention to what your stools look like to get a general idea of what’s normal (and not normal) for you. It’s recommended that you discuss changes in stool texture and colour with a medical professional. If you have any of the following, check in with a doctor:

  • Constipation (hard, lumpy stools that are difficult to pass) for more than a few days
  • Diarrhoea (loose or watery stools) for more than a few days
  • Bloody stool
  • Black or tarry stool
  • Pale or fatty stool

These symptoms can be caused by medical conditions, infection or medication side effects. Your doctor can help to determine the underlying cause of your symptoms and recommend appropriate treatment.

You can also follow the tips below to help you maintain healthy bowel function.

Tips for Maintaining Healthy Bowel Function

There are a number of things you can do to maintain healthy bowel function, including:

  • Eat foods high in fibre. Fibre helps to keep stool soft and regular. Good sources offoods high in fibre include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Water helps to keep stool soft and regular. Aim to drink 1.5L–2L of water per day, or more if you are active or live in a hot climate.
  • Get regular exercise. Exercise helps to stimulate the digestive system andpromote regular bowel movements. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderateintensity exercise most days of the week.
  • Listen to your body. Don’t ignore the urge to go to the bathroom. Holding in stoolcan lead to constipation.
  • Avoid straining. Straining during bowel movements can put unnecessary pressureon the back passage (rectum and anus). If you are having difficulty passing stool,try taking a warm bath or using a stool softener.

By noticing the shape of your poo, you’ll help keep your bowel in great shape. You can check your stools every few days against the Bristol — or Stefan — Stool chart, to learn what’s normal for you. The stool chart can also help you learn what’s not normal.

Download the Bristol Stool Chart

Download the Stefan’s Stuhl Chart

If you have any concerns about your bowel health, be sure to talk to your doctor.


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Which Coloxyl is right for you?


What is the Bristol Stool Chart and why was it created?
The Bristol Stool Chart is simply a tool that helps you assess your bowel health. It groups poo into seven different types of stool, ranging from type 1 (hard, lumpy pellets) to type 7 (watery diarrhoea). The chart was created by a group of doctors in the 1990s to help people describe their stools to their doctor in more detail. This detail can help your doctor diagnose and treat bowel problems.
How often should I refer to the Bristol Stool Chart?
You don’t need to refer to the Bristol Stool Chart every time you do a poo. Just check in with it every few days to get a general sense of your bowel health. If you notice any changes in your stool type, frequency, or consistency, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor.
Do medications or specific foods affect stool types?
Yes, both medications and specific foods can affect stool type.

For example, certain medications, such as opioids and iron supplements, may cause constipation. Other medications, such as antibiotics and laxatives, may cause diarrhoea.

Some foods, such as dairy or excess fibre, can also trigger diarrhoea.

What immediate actions should I take upon identifying an unhealthy stool type?
If you notice a sudden change in your stool type, or if your stool is consistently unhealthy (for example type 1-2 or 5-7), speak with your doctor. They can help you work out the underlying cause of your symptoms and suggest appropriate remedies.
Are there other medical tools or charts that complement the Bristol Stool Chart?
The Bristol Stool Chart is one way to assess your stool. You and your doctor may also want to note:

  • How often you poop: the normal frequency of bowel movements for adultsranges from 3 times a day to once every 3 days.
  • How long it takes you to poo: your poo should be easy to push out within aminute or so from sitting on the toilet. If it’s taking longer than that, check withyour doctor.
  • Your stool colour: healthy poo is a woody-brown colour. Tell your doctor if yours isgreen, pale, grey, red or black.

If you’re worried, your doctor can order stool tests to check for infection, blood, or other problems.

How does hydration influence stool formation?
Hydration is key for healthy stool formation. When you’re dehydrated, your stool can become hard and lumpy, making it difficult to pass. Aim to drink 1.5L – 2L of water per day to stay hydrated and help keep your stools soft and regular.
Are there age-specific variations in interpreting the Bristol Stool Chart?
The Bristol Stool Chart can be used to assess bowel health in people of all ages. However, there are a few age-specific variations to keep in mind:

  • Infants and toddlers may have more frequent bowel movements and their stoolmay be looser than that of older children and adults.
  • Older adults may be more likely to experience constipation.