What Is The Bristol Stool Chart? (+ Bristol Stool Chart PDF Download)
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We all know that digestive health is important for our overall health, and although it may seem odd, examining your stool can be a beneficial way to help you understand what's going on in your digestive system.
You may have heard about or seen the Bristol stool chart before, but are you familiar with how to utilize it?
Well, in today's video, we are going to review what the Bristol stool chart is, how to use it, and what it may be able to tell you about your health.
I'm Katie Bailey. I'm a functional nutrition gut health dietitian at Oswald Digestive Clinic, where we help individuals improve in the resolve their bothersome gut issues.
If you're interested in learning more about gut health, I've linked our free guide 5 Ways to Improve Your Gut Health here. All right, let's get started on today's topic.
What is the Bristol Stool Chart?
The Bristol stool chart was developed in the late 20th century by a team of doctors in the UK.
Its aim was to provide an easy and effective way to identify stool in what they may mean.
The chart has now become a globally recognized medical tool used by many different healthcare providers to help monitor bowel health and determine if there's any potential issues with digestion or absorption in the digestive tract.
It's a visual guide where it starts with type one to type seven with additional subtypes included as well.
Each type provides insight into transit time as well as the content of water in your stool.
Transit time is just the amount of time it takes to get from when food is ingested to the time that it is excreted, and this tool is not only used or beneficial for healthcare providers, but you can also use this tool at home to monitor your health.
Okay, so now let's take a closer look at what the stool chart looks like:
As you can see, the chart consists of seven types of stools and two subtypes each with its unique characteristics and implications for health.
Bristol Stool Chart Type 1
Type one is separate hard lumps that are difficult to pass.
Bristol Stool Chart Type 2
Type two is lumpy looking with a sausage shape, also difficult to pass.
Bristol Stool Chart Type 3
Type three is cracked looking with a sausage shape. This one is easy to pass.
Bristol Stool Chart Type 4
Type four is smooth with a sausage shape, also easy to pass.
Bristol Stool Chart Type 5
Type five is separate. Soft lumps, easy to pass.
Bristol Stool Chart Type 6
Type six is a very soft mushy stool, very easy to pass, and
Bristol Stool Chart Type 7
type seven is entirely liquid, very easy to pass.
Bristol Stool Chart Subtype A
Subtype A as you can see is fatty or floating stool, which fat in your stool is called steatorrhea. It's also lighter in color and foul smelling.
Bristol Stool Chart Subtype B
Now, subtype B is when there is a visible undigested food particle or particles seen in the stool.
Now these subtypes can be seen combined with any of the other types of stool.
How to use the Bristol Stool Chart?
Using the chart is quite simple.
After you've had a bowel movement, examine your stool and compare it to the chart.
Identify what it most resembles for a type and consider what this might mean for your health.
Now remember, our bowel movements vary slightly from day to day, depending on factors like our diet, our fluid intake, as well as medications and supplements that we may be on.
However, if you notice a consistent pattern towards one end of the chart or the other, or a sudden change that lasts more than a week, it may be time to consult with a healthcare professional.
The chart is not a diagnostic tool on its own, but can provide you with valuable information.
It can help you identify patterns or any potential issues that may need further investigation.
What the different stool types may mean for your health
So type one and type two indicate constipation, suggesting that you're not getting enough fiber or water in your diet or that your gut transit time is slow, which can be impacted by many different factors.
Type five, six and seven suggest a faster gut transit, time or diarrhea, and this can be caused by factors such as infections, food intolerances, stress, or other health conditions.
Type three and type four are considered your normal stool, which are indicative of a healthy digestive system that has a good balance of fiber and hydration.
To wrap up our topic for today regularly checking your stool can help you identify early signs of issues such as dehydration, dietary issues that may need to be addressed or gastrointestinal concerns.
The Bristol stool chart can be a beneficial tool to help you do just that.
Although it may seem odd at first, becoming comfortable with assessing your stool can play a significant role in maintaining your overall health and help you figure out any potential issues before they become serious.
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Thanks for watching. I'll see you next time.
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.
Or you can just start by downloading our FREE GUIDE: 5 WAYS TO IMPROVE GUT HEALTH