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What is The Bristol Stool Chart?

One easy way to evaluate somebody's gut health is by just looking at their stool.

So today want to share a little bit about the Bristol stool chart or otherwise known as The Poop Chart. As you can see in the picture.

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So we have seven types on the poop chart and in a couple of subtypes (8 and 9). Let's go through the top and the bottom of the chart and talk a little bit about what this might mean.

Now there are laboratory tests that you can get done on your stool to help evaluate it to better give us some more indicators of what might be going on further up in the gut.

It is important to know that certainly, our gut spanning really from our mouth to our anus is our gastrointestinal tract. But just one stool sample I think gives us some clues but also might not tell us everything about what's going on in our small intestine or higher up.

So it's just meant as another tool for information to kind of pull together with all the symptoms somebody is having as well as the kind of looking at their stool on a day-to-day basis. Because as you guys know that can and does change day to day.

So let's look at the Bristol stool chart here. On the top, you see we have hard-small pellets, so constipation, the extreme cases, it's people who go days or even weeks without having a bowel movement.

The longest I've heard of was a couple of weeks when I was working in the intensive care unit at a hospital. This fella did not go stool for a couple of weeks and we're using some aggressive measures at that point.

And then the bottom of it is liquid. There's liquid diarrhea. We've had clients at Oswald digestive clinic with this too, where they're just having, liquid stool all day, every day for weeks on end. Sometimes for over a decade, people struggle with diarrhea. Just know that oftentimes there are things that we can do to help with this and our clients often can get relief from both ends of this, diarrhea and constipation.

So then we have these couple of subtypes. The first one is that odor-floating stool which can be a sign of steatorrhea or fat malabsorption that can have different possible root causes to it.

And then the other is undigested food particles. Now there are some foods like corn that nobody fully digested and absorb different fibers that are meant to pass through. But if somebody is seeing a lot of different types of foods and things in their stool, that can be a sign of something going on higher up that's preventing the proper absorption of the food.

The last move back up to the one to seven on this chart and really where you want to be, what a healthy stool is that 3-4, you should be having at least one formed bowel movement today, 1 - 3. If you're eating a lot of produce, a lot of plant products, you're going to have more stool cause you're eating more fiber.

A lot of that fiber's not getting absorbed, it's passing through and so you're going to have just more quantity of stool as long as it's formed sinking that's healthy and normal. Now that Chinese medicine doctors or acupuncturists will say that the perfect poo looks like a snake. It looks like a snake in the bowl.

It's fine if it might break, but the 3 - 4 is really what you're trying to go for and if you find yourself swinging too far to the top of the chart or the bottom of the chart, then that's something that we should use as information, again, along with all the symptoms that you might be experiencing to kind of pull together this whole picture and figure out what those root causes might be.

Because as Hippocrates has subsided, and who's known to be the founder of modern medicine, it all starts in the gut, and that's certainly what we see at Oswald Digestive Clinic, if we can improve gut health through using food modification, really targeted high-quality professional supplements and lifestyle changes.

We a lot of times see symptoms improvement with things that people had no idea might have been related to the gut because that is so important for nutrient absorption. Nutrients are really important for processes in the body to function properly for the Kreb cycle to function properly, or the electron transport chain, and all these different things that we certainly want to optimize so that we just feel our best and live the best life possible.


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If you'd like to explore any of this information further or obtain an individualized nutrition plan, you can schedule an initial appointment at our clinic. We also take insurance and some of our clients get full coverage, which is great.

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Or you can just start by downloading our FREE GUIDE: 5 WAYS TO IMPROVE GUT HEALTH

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