How doctors grade your poop

What is "normal" poop texture and how should you describe your stool to doctors?

The most commonly known scale for assessing stool consistency is the Bristol Stool Scale, which is a validated method of objectively categorizing the consistency of stool on a 1 to 7 scale:

 Constipation (1-2), Normal (3-4), Soft (5), Diarrhea (6-7)

Constipation (1-2), Normal (3-4), Soft (5), Diarrhea (6-7)

If you're experiencing diarrhea or constipation, using the Bristol Scale to describe the consistency of your stool can be incredibly helpful to your doctor. The scale has been shown to correlate with how fast the colon moves, and can tell you a lot about the diversity of your gut microbiome. Keeping track of the time of your bowel movements and how they score on the scale can be particularly helpful if you're suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) that is mixed-type or unclassified, meaning you do not predominately suffer from just diarrhea or constipation, but a relatively equal combination of both.

A simple scale can give your doctors a wealth of information, and while further testing may elucidate more about your gut issues, it's always helpful to be as objective as possible in how we describe poop.

-The Gut Doc


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