On a scale of 1 to 7, What’s Your Poop Type?
Gut health is a cornerstone to all health, and to qualify your gut health, one tool we use is the Bristol Stool test, developed in 1997 by British doctors. The Bristol Stool Test defines the shape and consistency of bowel movements, and allows you to compare the observations to different times in your health and even to your friends, if you want.
It all started in the 1970’s when physicians researching stools noted the variations between people’s poops and what these variations meant to their health. Originally, Dr John Wyman and colleagues at the Bristol Royal Infirmary persuaded participants to swallow 25 radiopaque pellets of barium-impregnated polythene… and the researchers monitored their stools to time when the pellets re-appeared. The fastest re-appearance of pellets was 28 hours later, while the longest delay was 135 hours, or FIVE days.
Yes, constipation means different things to different people.
The study also collected data on stool size, and Wyman’s team wrote of “extraordinary variation in the size of individual stools.”
This was a situation clearly crying out for some kind of classification system, and in 1986 Professor Gloria Davies at the University of Surrey didn’t disappoint, devising an eight-item scale which aimed to define stool consistency ranging from “loose, watery and runny” at No. 1, to “pellets like sheep droppings” at No. 8.
From this and other research, the Bristol Stool Scale was born in 1997 when Dr Stephen Lewis and Dr Ken Heaton at the University of Bristol, classified poop into seven types.
They ranked a “1” to the pellet-like end of the Scale, and a “7” to the soupy end at the other side of the toilet, so to speak. They even illustrated the forms, so people can objectively report on their bowel movements without actually bringing a sample for show and tell. You simply point to the picture, which speaks a thousand words.
The scale has proven so useful, because gut health really is the heart of health, that a team at the Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago commissioned 3-D printed models of the seven stool types, complete with a 10-inch-high model toilet in which they could be plopped.
Even a children’s version of the Bristol Stool Scale has turned its seven types into equivalent ‘kid’ descriptions: rabbit droppings, bunch of grapes, corn cob, sausage, chicken nuggets, porridge, and gravy.
Here’s what you should know:
- Ideally, you’re aiming for # 3 and # 4 on the scale, but we know from experience that there is often a whole lot more going on in your toilet than just these 7 categories. Do you have mucous appearing? Any flukes? Sea horses? Or other interesting things? Many of these things are pretty normal as your health improves or as you lose weight…. And sometimes they are the reasons you’re heavier in the first place. Either way, we’re here to assist.
- At FEWL, we encourage you to look in the toilet and compare your stool to the chart. When you find interesting changes or you ‘notice’ something new, please take a picture and share it with us as well, since this is a great way for us to know better how to help you continue to achieve better gut health.
- Key FEWL supplements used to get your gut to normal faster include:
- Colon Health
- Gut Optimizer
- Vitamin D
- Fungus Killer
- Candida Blaster
- Immune Support
- Parasite Blaster