You’re here because you’ve been peeping on your plops. Honestly? We’re thrilled. Poop surveillance is an excellent insight into your overall health! Just like you can learn things from going through your neighbor’s trash, you can learn a lot by observing your colon’s trash.
Changes in stool color, texture, volume and odor can all be indicators of something funky going on inside your body. So take a mental snapshot of your scat and read on to learn what healthy stool looks like.
- What Does Healthy Poop Look Like?
- Types of Poop
- Poop Color
- Poop Frequency
- How to Ensure Healthy Poop
What Does Healthy Poop Look Like?
Everybody poops but no two sh*ts are the same. There is a spectrum of fecal factors like color and consistency that indicate your current gut health. The biggest contributors to your poop makeup? Diet, hydration, stress and prescription drugs.
Your stool color is rarely a cause for immediate concern, and it often is a great representation of what you’ve been eating. Brown and green stool colors are considered normal.
For example, green poop is an indication of someone who has been eating lots of green veggies or foods high in iron.
It’s important to note what is “normal” for your body and diet. Having different colored poops does not mean you're bleeding internally or growing your own gallstones. (Take that, WebMD.) Anytime you notice something out of the ordinary, first ask yourself, “what did I eat?” or “did I take any medication recently?”
Normal poop should be sausage or snake-like, with little cracks, bumps, or a smooth texture. Anything that is too lumpy and hard, or too wet and fluffy, is bordering on the line of constipation and diarrhea.
Normal, healthy poop should not come out in little rabbit pellets or marbles, nor should it come out in a splat of liquids. It should be a few inches in length and comfortable and easy to pass.
Your poop will always smell a little like a Vermont farm thanks to the bacteria in the colon that broke your burritos down during digestion. What’s key is paying attention to big swings or variations in stench. Anything that is especially tarry or rotten-smelling may be a sign something’s off. (Other people’s poop will always smell rotten tho.)
This is a time when slightly soft is the most pleasurable! Your poop should be firm enough that it stays together, but soft enough that it passes without strain.
Sinking vs. Floating
All healthy poop sinks. Floating poop contains excess gas and fats, which is generally a sign that it passed through your system before your body could absorb nutrients. While floating poop happens to all of us due to diet changes or a tummy bug, most of our stinkers should be sinkers.
Time on the Toilet
Any poop that takes you longer than 15 minutes to pass likely means you’re constipated. A healthy stool should take no more than a few minutes to pass without much effort.
Frequency (how often)
Anything between triple deuce-ing daily and going every couple days is normal. How often you poop is based on how much/often you eat as well as how quickly your gut digests food. What’s most important to know about poop frequency is to pay attention if you’re not going at your normal rate.
Do you know how long you can go without a bowel movement? If you’re pooping too much, and especially if it’s too liquid, then you’ve probably upset your stomach and gave yourself a case of diarrhea. If you're teetering on the edge of your constipation comfort zone, then you’ll need to help soften up your stool with plenty of fiber, water, and potentially a laxative.
Types of Poop: The Bristol Stool Chart
You know your Zodiac sign, but do you know your poop type? The Bristol Stool Chart identifies the 7 types of poop, from separate hard lumps to full-on liquid, to pinpoint the relationship between what we eat and what we sh*t.
If you ever want to understand the different types of poop and what they mean, pull up ol Bristol for a quick gut-check.
Type 1: Separate and Hard
How’s it lookin’?: Marbles, rabbit pellets, or nuts. They are hard, separate little lumps that don’t pass easily.
What’s it mean?: These little guys are a clear indication of constipation. Meaning these poos have been camped out in your digestive system for a few extra days due to poor diet or lack of exercise. Constipation happens to all of us, but chronic rabbit poos aren’t good for your health.
Type 2: Lumpy
How’s it lookin’?: Lumpy little caterpillar, or log. Hard to pass.
What’s it mean?: This caterpillar is probably constipated too! Type 2 is a milder form of constipation caused by diet issues, a blockage, or hormonal changes.
Type 3: Sausage-like
How’s it lookin’?: Log-shaped or hot dog-shaped with some cracks on its surface. Easy to pass.
What’s it mean?: One healthy log! This should be easy to pass and is a sign of healthy poop. Your digestive system is in its prime.
Type 4: Snake-like
How’s it lookin’?: Snake-like and smooth. Easy to pass.
What’s it mean?: A poop to be proud of! This poop is considered healthy and should happen every one to three days.
Type 5: Soft Blobs
How’s it lookin’?: Amoebas or fluffy blobs with clear-cut edges. They are easy to pass.
What’s it mean?: This poop is missing its best friend, fiber. Try including more veggies or soluble fiber to your diet to prevent your poops from being pushed too quickly through your digestive system.
Type 6: Mushy
How’s it lookin’?: Fluffy and mushy, like soft-serve ice cream. Easy to pass.
What’s it mean?: The consistency of this poop is bordering mild diarrhea. Try drinking water or fruit juice to stay hydrated. Chronic diarrhea can make it difficult to get the nutrients you need from food.
Type 7: Liquid
How’s it lookin’?: Butt-barf, all liquid with no solids.
What’s it mean?: Literally, poop with all gas, no brakes. You’ve got a case of the runs, or diarrhea. Try some serious fiber foods like oatmeal, bananas, beans, and legumes to harden it up.
What Does the Color of Your Poop Mean?
Black stool is normally due to medications that have Bismuth Subsalicylate (like Pepto-Bismol), or certain food types like black licorice or blueberries. More serious reasons may be from bleeding in your digestive tract, like stomach ulcers, or cancerous and non-cancerous tumors.
White, Pale or Clay-colored
White or pale poop usually indicates that bile has not made it to the stool, which would naturally turn it brown. This could be because you’ve been taking certain anti-diarrhea medications like good ol’ Pepto-Bismol, in which case, it might be time to lay off the Pepto and switch to some natural remedies for making your poop more solid.
A little green is considered healthy stool, however, really green usually means diarrhea. This means your food probably went through your gut too quickly, and your fat-digesting, bile buddies didn’t have time to reach it.
Red or Reddish stool can also be from your diet! Do you eat beets? Did you have some tomato soup for lunch or maybe some red jello as a snack? Oftentimes, it’s because of something you ate, but could also mean hemorrhoids or bleeding in the lower intestine.
Yellow poop means a number of things. It can indicate too much fat in the diet, therefore in the stool, malabsorption or celiac disease.
What Does it Mean if You’re Pooping Too Often or Not Enough?
Am I just like, a really efficient sh*tter? If your BMs are outside of your normal frequency and therefore creeping on either extreme of the Bristol Stool Chart, then you’re probably constipated or have diarrhea.
Diarrhea is the result of an inflamed gut. Maybe you ate something that didn’t sit well, or your dose of antibiotics is irritating your digestive system. Either way, it's coming, and it’s coming in hot. To help make your poop more solid, you can take over-the-counter medication or try to enhance your diet with foods like oatmeal, psyllium husks, beans, lentils, fruits, and veggies.
Constipation happens when poo is hard and painful to pass. If you find yourself straining on the toilet, stop it, now! Try using a toilet stool, like the TUSHY ottoman to ease the kinks in your colon and find some relief. If you’re beyond that point, try drinking more water, upping your fiber and getting in more physical activity.
How to Ensure Healthy Poop
Healthy poop means a healthy gut, and who doesn’t love a healthy gut and a healthy butt?! There are lots of ways you can maintain both.
Eat More Fiber
Fiber can be found in foods like oatmeal, beans, and bananas. When your diet is rich in fiber, you will have more formed, brown stools, like Bristol Stool Types 3 and 4. Not getting enough fiber will cause your poops to become too hard, like Types 1 through 3.
Drink Enough Water
When our bodies are dehydrated, they pull water from non-essential places like our GI tract, resulting in hard, constipated poos. Aim to drink 11-15 cups a day – and remember that food counts too! Water-rich foods include cucumber, tomatoes, peaches, lettuce, celery, and obvi watermelon. Avoid sugary drinks or alcoholic bevvies as these can dehydrate your body further.
Poop n’ Probiotics
If you’re someone who finds it hard to maintain a balanced diet, due to medical, health or allergy issues, you can always try incorporating probiotics into your daily diet. These come in forms of pills, capsules, beverages, powders, yogurts, and other foods. Probiotics are a form of beneficial bacteria that help maintain healthy intestines, which are not only great for your gut health, but also your immune system!
If you find yourself still struggling with constipation, magnesium can help increase the amount of water in your intestines, which will help soften up your stool. It has a natural laxative effect and is a great option if you’re not excited about reaching for that enema.
Get More Exercise
Get your body moving and that gut grooving! Healthy poop is a full-body experience and lack of exercise plays a huge role. Sometimes, constipation can be cured simply by taking a walk and helping your body naturally get things going. Obviously, if you have diarrhea it’s probably not a great idea to go for a walk until you’re feeling better, but you get the idea.
Get On An Eating Schedule
Huge gaps in your eating schedule can result in blood sugar dips/spikes as well as indigestion. Eating every 3 to 4 hours gives your stomach the ideal conditions to digest while curbing overeating that could lead to bloating, gas and weird poos. Guts love consistency, so aim to feed yours as regularly as possible.
It is important to know that there is such a thing as healthy poop, and luckily, the indicators are staring at you from the toilet bowl. If you’re feeling uneasy about the color, consistency, or shape of your poop, ask yourself a few questions first.
- What have you eaten?
- What have you not eaten?
- Did you drink enough water today?
- Are you taking any medications?
- Do you have any health issues that might relate?
Anything outside of the healthy stool range is most likely the result of one of the questions above. Some poop variance is normal week to week and month to month. Generally, if you’re not straining to go or struggling to stop the flow, you’re in a healthy poop place.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Best Position For Pooping?
A squat works best to relax your puborectalis muscle (a U-shaped muscular sling around and behind the rectum) and straighten your colon. Since most poopers don’t wanna hover above their toilet bowl, a stool like the TUSHY Ottoman can help put you in a comfortable seated position that creates a laundry chute for your dirty deeds to ease right through. You can also try resting your feet on either side of your bathroom trash can to improvise.
What Does It Mean If Your Poop Is Really Long?
A normal size stool is usually a couple inches in length, ideally between 4-8 inches. If you’ve produced an infinity coil, it might mean you’ve eaten a large amount of food or have consumed an excess of fiber to create a more voluminous, easy to pass stool. Longer poos are preferable to small, separate, lumpy poos.
Is It Normal To Not Poop Every Day?
For some poopers, absolutely. Anywhere between 3x daily and every couple days is considered normal. It takes food around 36 hours to pass through your system, so depending on your metabolism, bowel movement frequency can vary. If you go less than three times a week, you may be constipated.