Shhh … listen for just a moment. Listen to your body. What is it telling you? After you eat your meals, what does it say? Do you feel sluggish and tired? Bloated? Does your belly distend and cramping ensue? Do you get diarrhea often, or constipation? Or both? Is that gas that’s coming out of your body able to take out anyone in the near vicinity and put them into a deep sleep? These things, and many more, are SIGNS! They are messages from your body! Wake up! Your body is trying to tell you that things are not okay!
I can’t tell you how massively important it is to be aware of what a good and healthy bowel movement is. As Hippocrates stated more than two thousand years ago, “All disease begins in the gut”, and I must tell you I strongly concur.
Do you have any idea how many bowel diseases are running rampant through our world today? And even more telling, it’s only been in the last 100 years that they’ve become so devastating. There was a time not long ago when terms like “Crohn’s disease” or “leaky gut” or “irritable bowel syndrome” weren’t in the English language. There was a time when we seemed to be better connected to our bodies, and we knew what good and proper nutrition was. But times have changed, and we’ve lost touch.
I just can’t stand watching the world’s health get flushed down a big giant toilet bowel anymore. Maybe it’s because I’ve struggled so much with my own digestion that’s caused me to become so passionate, I’m not sure. All I know is that I don’t want people to suffer unnecessarily and I’ll do whatever I can to help whoever needs it.
So what is a healthy poo? Let’s take a look.
Below is the Bristol Stool Chart, a medical aid designed to classify the form of human feces into seven groups. It was developed by Heaton and 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.
Basically, Type 1 has spent the longest time in the digestive canal, and Type 7 has spent the least. Type 4 and 5 are considered normal.
I’ve looked around for an interpretation of the above chart, and in my research found Mr. Konstantin Monastyrsky from Gut Sense, someone I’ve come to trust and highly regard. He is extremely well educated on the matters of the gut and better yet, has successfully healed and cured his own digestive problems that had plagued him for years.
Excerpted from his amazing book Fiber Menace, here are his interpretations:
Type 1: Separate hard lumps, like nuts
Typical for acute disbacteriosis. These stools lack a normal amorphous quality, because bacteria are missing and there is nothing to retain water. The lumps are hard and abrasive, the typical diameter ranges from 1 to 2 cm (0.4–0.8”), and they‘re painful to pass, because the lumps are hard and scratchy. There is a high likelihood of anorectal bleeding from mechanical laceration of the anal canal. Typical for post-antibiotic treatments and for people attempting fiber-free (low-carb) diets. Flatulence isn‘t likely, because fermentation of fiber isn‘t taking place.
Type 2: Sausage-like but lumpy
Represents a combination of Type 1 stools impacted into a single mass and lumped together by fiber components and some bacteria. Typical for organic constipation. The diameter is 3 to 4 cm (1.2–1.6”). This type is the most destructive by far because its size is near or exceeds the maximum opening of the anal canal‘s aperture (3.5 cm). It‘s bound to cause extreme straining during elimination, and most likely to cause anal canal laceration, hemorrhoidal prolapse, or diverticulosis. To attain this form, the stools must be in the colon for at least several weeks instead of the normal 72 hours. Anorectal pain, hemorrhoidal disease, anal fissures, withholding or delaying of defecation, and a history of chronic constipation are the most likely causes. Minor flatulence is probable. A person experiencing these stools is most likely to suffer from irritable bowel syndrome because of continuous pressure of large stools on the intestinal walls. The possibility of obstruction of the small intestine is high, because the large intestine is filled to capacity with stools. Adding supplemental fiber to expel these stools is dangerous, because the expanded fiber has no place to go, and may cause hernia, obstruction, or perforation of the small and large intestine alike.
Type 3: Like a sausage but with cracks in the surface
This form has all of the characteristics of Type 2 stools, but the transit time is faster, between one and two weeks. Typical for latent constipation. The diameter is 2 to 3.5 cm (0.8–1.4”). Irritable bowel syndrome is likely. Flatulence is minor, because of disbacteriosis. The fact that it hasn‘t became as enlarged as Type 2 suggests that the defecations are regular. Straining is required. All of the adverse effects typical for Type 2 stools are likely for type 3, especially the rapid deterioration of hemorrhoidal disease.
Type 4: Like a sausage or snake, smooth and soft
This form is normal for someone defecating once daily. The diameter is 1 to 2 cm (0.4–0.8”). The larger diameter suggests a longer transit time or a large amount of dietary fiber in the diet.
Type 5: Soft blobs with clear-cut edges
I consider this form ideal. It is typical for a person who has stools twice or three times daily, after major meals. The diameter is 1 to 1.5 cm (0.4–0.6”).
» Type 6: Fluffy pieces with ragged edges, a mushy stool
This form is close to the margins of comfort in several respects. First, it may be difficult to control the urge, especially when you don‘t have immediate access to a bathroom. Second, it is a rather messy affair to manage with toilet paper alone, unless you have access to a flexible shower or bidet. Otherwise, I consider it borderline normal. These kind of stools may suggest a slightly hyperactive colon (fast motility), excess dietary potassium, or sudden dehydration or spike in blood pressure related to stress (both cause the rapid release of water and potassium from blood plasma into the intestinal cavity). It can also indicate a hypersensitive personality prone to stress, too many spices, drinking water with a high mineral content, or the use of osmotic (mineral salts) laxatives.
» Type 7: Watery, no solid pieces
This, of course, is diarrhea, a subject outside the scope of this chapter with just one important and notable exception—so-called paradoxical diarrhea. It‘s typical for people (especially young children and infirm or convalescing adults) affected by fecal impaction—a condition that follows or accompanies type 1 stools. During paradoxical diarrhea the liquid contents of the small intestine (up to 1.5–2 liters/quarts daily) have no place to go but down, because the large intestine is stuffed with impacted stools throughout its entire length. Some water gets absorbed, the rest accumulates in the rectum. The reason this type of diarrhea is called paradoxical is not because its nature isn‘t known or understood, but because being severely constipated and experiencing diarrhea all at once, is, indeed, a paradoxical situation. Unfortunately, it‘s all too common.