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What Is the Bristol Stool Scale?

What Is the Bristol Stool Scale?

I think the majority of us can agree that talking about our poop can be a little embarrassing! Being a nurse, stool discussions happen often, but certainly not about my own! However, it is important to education yourself on your gut-health and what all the different stools symbolize. The Bristol Stool Scale is a chart that explains your stool health. It includes the size, shape, color, and consistency just to name a few. It also helps you better explain your stools to your physicians.

7 Types of Stool on Bristol Stool Chart

Type 1: Hard, lumpy, “rabbit pellet”-type, and difficult to pass stools.

Medical professions say this is typically someone who is VERY constipated. It is suggested to drink at least 40 ounces of water a day and increase fiber-rich foods. Many medications can also be the culprit of constipation.

Type 2: Sausage-shaped, lumpy, and similar to number one.

This type also correlates with constipation.

Type 3: This stool is considered a fairly normal stool.

It is sausage-shaped, but more well-formed than type two. There should be minimal straining during a bowel movement with type three.

Type 4: Soft and smoother than type-three and is also considered a normal stool.

This stool typically does not break apart. Multiple factors create smooth stools, such as drinking plenty of water and eating foods that are high in fat.

Type 5: This stool is also soft and smooth, but does not involve straining and tends to break apart.

Professionals say it’s neither normal nor abnormal, and should not last more than a few days.

Type 6: Considered a loose stool, this type is not normal.

It is not considered diarrhea, but more like mush. Multiple factors could cause this to happen, such as antibiotics, lactose intolerance, as well as other medications and conditions.

Type 7: This type is considered diarrhea; basically liquid.

I believe a lot of us can relate to this type! Similar to type six, this can also be the culprit of many factors, not to mention it’s miserable!

I know how humiliating it can be to discuss your bowels with your physicians, but it is very important for our well-being. If you think something is off, have it checked out!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

  1. Women’s Health: What The Bristol Stool Scale Can Tell You About Your Poop. Accessed 06/30/2018 at:


  • DorisE
    2 years ago

    Well poop is really the byproduct of food we have eaten so that is how I view it. I think because it contains germs, we have to consider it “bad.”
    As my IBS is mostly 7 now and a lot if time is spent cleaning myself, the washroom, clothing…. it is now part of my life. I finally saw a Naturopath and am having a SIBO test, but that involves taking a laxative!
    If I feel a need to discuss my problem with anyone other than medical person, I first ask if that person wants to hear about it or not. Sometimes others will then open up and discuss their own bowel problem. Others, like my adult children who no longer live with me, dont want to know…guess its too close to home!

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