Pooing can often be a real pain in the butt, especially if you’re constipated or have diarrhoea. The consistency of our poo can tell us a lot of interesting things about our health, including whether or not we need more fibre or liquid in our diet.
So how do we know what constitutes a healthy and not-so-healthy poo? Read on to find out more.
What is healthy bowel function?
On average, Australians eat around 1,100 kilograms of food each year. Our digestive system cycles through and processes that food day in and day out to give us the nutrients we need. Whatever our bodies don’t absorb exits the body in the form of a poo.
So how do you know if your bowel and digestive system are healthy? It’s important to note that healthy bowel function is different for everyone, and it’s not necessarily about how regularly you poo. The idea of “being regular” will mean something different to each of us; for some, it’s healthy and normal to poo three times a day while for others, it might be three times a week. The most important thing to look out for is colour and consistency.
What does a healthy poo look like?
If you want to know what the perfect poo should look like, look no further than the The Bristol Stool Scale. The scale is designed to classify your poo into seven different groups and can help determine a good poop from a bad one. Take a look below to learn more.
Type 1: Hard lumps that are hard to pass
Type 2: Shaped like a sausage but lumpy
Generally speaking types 1 and 2 indicate that you’re constipated. This could be due to taking certain medications, not having enough fibre in your diet as well as not drinking enough water.
Type 3: Shaped like a sausage with some cracks on the surface
Type 4: Shaped like a banana or snake that is smooth and soft
Types 3 and 4 are considered the ‘best types’ of poop as you should be able to expel these easily because they’re solid and smooth.
Type 5: Soft blobs with clearly defined edges
Type 6: Fluffy pieces with no edges
Type 7: Watery with no solid pieces
If you’re experiencing types 5, 6 and 7, this is considered to be diarrhoea. If this looks familiar, remember to keep up your fluids to avoid dehydration.
When should you see a doctor?
Most changes in the consistency of your poo aren’t cause for concern, but a change in consistency that sticks around for 2- 3 days should be brought up with your doctor.
If you do find blood in your poo, visit your doctor to discuss the potential cause. Haemorrhoids, anal fissures and certain digestive diseases can all cause bleeding, but in serious cases, blood in your poo could indicate bowel cancer.
Got some other burning questions about your health like how to deal with mozzie bites? Check out our Burning Questions page here.