When examining the appearance of faeces we use the Bristol Stool chart2 which classifies seven different types of poop, making it easier for you or your doctor to determine what is going on with your health.
This is what the shape of your poop means:
Soft smooth sausage shaped poop
The appearance of your poop is a nice smooth and soft sausage with a slight bend that passes with ease. This is an ideal shape. It means that your fibre and water intake is perfectly balanced. Well done!
Slightly cracked sausage-shaped poop
The appearance of your poop is sausage-shaped with slight cracks around the edges but is soft. This is considered one of the ideal consistencies of faeces (nice and normal), but the cracks suggest that you can still increase your intake of water.
Poop that looks like small, soft balls with clear edges
The appearance of your poop is shaped like small blobs with clear edges. This is not ideal and indicates that you need to increase your intake of water and fibre ASAP!
Lumpy sausage-shaped poop
The appearance of your poop is sausage shaped but hard, dry and lumpy. This is indicative of mild constipation which could lead to a serious case of constipation if not dealt with immediately. Again, increase your fibre intake and be sure to drink a healthy amount of water before you reach pellet shaped stools…
If the appearance of your poop is shaped in small, dry, round and often hard balls (similar to nuts or animal droppings) and is hard to pass, this is often a clear indication of constipation. You may be left feeling bloated and experience abdominal discomfort.
To improve the situation and avoid it in future, try to eat more fibre based food such as wholegrain bread as well as fruits and vegetables. Be sure to drink a healthy amount of water each day – this is generally considered as being between 6 and 8 glasses.
If constipation is ongoing and severe thereafter, you should visit your healthcare provider.
Very soft poop with rough edges
The appearance of your poop is mushy or very soft with lots of rough ragged edges. This is not good. It is a clear indication that you are on your way to the very unpleasant severe diarrhoea shape. Try to balance out your fibre and water intake.
Runny liquid poop with no solid pieces
The appearance of your poop is completely watery with no solid pieces. This is not good at all and means that you have severe diarrhoea. This is often linked to bacterial imbalances, food intolerance and food poisoning, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD).
If a runny stools persist for more than a few days or occur often, you should visit your healthcare provider right away and remember to stay hydrated by drinking lots of fluids.
Your poop floats and is difficult to flush down the toilet and is greasy. This can be a result of malabsorption of nutrients and healthy fats caused by many factors including stress.
Other causes of greasy floating faecal matter include inflammation of the gut, food intolerance and the consumption of certain drugs.
Your poop sinks to the bottom quickly and leaves thick marks on the side of the toilet. This can be a result of too much oil in your stool due to the malabsorption of fatty oils.
Food in your poop
Your poop appears to have bits of food in it. This is the presence of food that has not had the chance to be digested. Food like corn can be difficult to digest and break down and seeing this is often normal.
If, however, you notice other bits of food in your stool, it could be an indication that you are not chewing your food properly. Make a point to chew more thoroughly and examine your poop again.
White speckled poop & an itchy bum
Your poop has little white spots (eggs) and your anus is very itchy. This is an indication that you are infected with a parasite. You should visit a healthcare provider immediately.
Parasites can be passed from person to person, so you should increase your bathroom hygiene by washing your hands thoroughly with water and soap every time you use the loo.
2. Nice. 1997.Bristol Stool Chart. Available at: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg99/resources/cg99-constipation-in-children-and-young-people-bristol-stool-chart-2 Accessed [23 November 2017]