What your poo tells you about your health

healthy poo & constipation help blog image

Have you ever wondered why on some days your poo may float or change colour? Or some days it is hard to push out but on another occasion you have a sense of urgency? Understanding this important body function helps to reveal a lot about your state of health. Although it’s often an awkward subject to discuss, I encourage my Kinesiology clients to tell me about their bowel movements. During a Kinesiology treatment the bowel often tests up as the priority energy to support.

The Bristol Stool Chart or the Bristol Stool Scale is a medical aid designed to classify the faeces form into seven groups or types.  It was developed by KW Heaton and SJ Lewis at the University of Bristol and was first published in the Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology in 1997.  The form of the stool depends on the time it spends in the colon.  The seven types of stool are described as follows:

Type 1:         Separate hard lumps, like nuts, and is hard to pass.

Type 2:         Sausage-shaped, but lumpy.

Type 3:         Like a sausage but with cracks on the surface.

Type 4:         Like a sausage or snake, smooth and soft.

Type 5:         Soft blobs with clear-cut edges, and passed easily.

Type 6:         Fluffy, with ragged edges, a mushy stool.

Type 7:         Watery, with no solid pieces, entirely liquid.

Types 1 and 2 indicate constipation caused by: dehydrating foods and drinks, e.g. processed foods high in/too much sugar and salt, and dehydrating coffee and alcohol; excessive transit time often linked to lack of fruit, vegetables, and whole grains in the diet; insufficient intake of water; and other pathological causes of constipation.  As a consequence, these high-density stools will be fast sinking in water.  Hard pellet stools can also be a sign of adrenal exhaustion, and emotional blockage.

Types 3 and 4 are the ‘ideal stools’ especially Type 4 as these are appropriately formed and are comfortable and easy to pass.

Types 5, 6 and 7 are tending towards diarrhoea (or are actual diarrhoea) caused by pathogens, irritation, inflammation, stress, drugs, laxatives or other pathological causes.  The body is certainly telling us something is wrong and must never be ignored.

Mucus in the stools is indicative of an irritated colon caused by: lack of digestive enzymes, e.g. poor carbohydrate digestion; a diet high in mucus-forming foods, e.g. wheat and dairy (leading to mucoidal plaque); pathological disorders, e.g. ulcerative colitis or irritable bowel syndrome; or pathogens, e.g. parasites.

The colon will produce excessive mucus mostly for its own protection, or in order to increase the elimination of toxins and waste.  Chronic constipation, mucus-forming diets and excessive meat in the diet lead to the bowel becoming impacted.  This in turn leads to a narrowed passage for stool elimination and therefore is one of the causes of the formation of narrow stools, which may also be indicative of a spastic colon.  This narrowing means that sometimes bowel movements become ribbon-like.  The colon will often feel sore.  Other causes of narrow and ribbon-like stools include lack of fibre, stress, allergies, and structural/functional issues.

Undigested foodstuff in the stools may be indicative of poorly chewed food, lack of digestive enzymes, insufficient friendly bacteria and pH being too alkaline thus causing constipation to occur.  One of the main causes of pH above 7 is undigested protein caused as the result of poor digestion and intestinal flora imbalance.

Check your stools to learn more about the state of your health! Your body has the answer.

To understand more read ‘The Colon Hydrotherapy Training Manual’ by Richard Knight which gives you a insight in to the industry that deals with stools on a daily basis. Or ‘The Poo In You’ by Annie Clarke can help you understand what your body is communicating via it’s waste.

Colour of stools
Brown Normal stool
Yellow, floating, greasy, foul-smelling Undigested fat in the stool, pancreatic and/or bile insufficiency, gall bladder
Green Rapid transit time, dysbiosis, Crohn’s disease
Grey/pale or clay coloured Undigested fat and/or protein in the stool, pancreatic and/or bile insufficiency, pancreatitis or pancreatic cancer
Dark red/maroon Intestinal bleeding in the colon.  Refer to GP for investigations.
Black, tarry, foul-smelling Intestinal bleeding higher in the GI tract (stomach or upper small intestine), ulcer, iron.  Refer to GP for investigations.