Types of poop: the Bristol Stool Chart


The types of poop, or stools, can vary greatly from one person to another, influenced by factors such as diet, lifestyle, and health. One widely used tool to classify the types of stool is the Bristol Stool Chart, which breaks down fecal matter into seven distinct types. This chart helps doctors and patients discuss bowel health without the need for overly technical terms. Here’s a breakdown of the chart:

1. Type 1: Separate Hard Lumps

  • Appearance: Hard, separate lumps resembling nuts, which are hard to pass.
  • Indication: This type suggests constipation. The lumps are hard because they’ve stayed in the large intestine and rectum for a long time, leading to water reabsorption.

2. Type 2: Sausage-shaped, but Lumpy

  • Appearance: A sausage-shaped stool but with lumps. It’s not as severe as Type 1 but still indicates constipation.
  • Indication: The lumpy texture suggests that the stool is somewhat processed but still spent too much time in the colon.

3. Type 3: Like a Sausage but with Cracks on its Surface

  • Appearance: This type is similar to Type 2 but with a smoother form and with cracks on the surface.
  • Indication: Considered normal, it usually is easy to pass without being too watery.

4. Type 4: Like a Sausage or Snake, Smooth and Soft

  • Appearance: Smooth, soft, and snake-like, this stool type is considered ideal. It suggests a healthy balance of fiber and fluids in the diet.
  • Indication: It is the gold standard of normal poop, indicating that the person’s diet and hydration are well-balanced.

5. Type 5: Soft Blobs with Clear Cut Edges

  • Appearance: These are small, soft blobs with clear-cut edges that are passed easily.
  • Indication: Generally considered normal, especially if passed once or twice a day. It may suggest a lack of dietary fiber.

6. Type 6: Fluffy Pieces with Ragged Edges, a Mushy Stool

  • Appearance: Fluffy and mushy, with ragged edges. This type is more on the liquid side and doesn’t form a solid sausage shape.
  • Indication: It indicates mild diarrhea or a possible transition state between constipation and diarrhea. It may also suggest an increase in pressure in the intestines or a hastened bowel transit.

7. Type 7: Watery, No Solid Pieces

  • Appearance: Entirely liquid with no solid pieces.
  • Indication: This type indicates diarrhea. It’s typically passed in a hurry and can be a sign of infection, irritation, or a reaction to food intolerance.

The Bristol Stool Chart serves as a useful guide for monitoring bowel health and identifying potential issues. It’s important to note that occasional variations in stool types can be normal, but persistent changes or the presence of symptoms like pain, blood, or mucus in the stool should prompt medical consultation. Diet, hydration, and lifestyle adjustments can often help manage and improve bowel health, but underlying health conditions should be addressed by healthcare professionals.

Last update: 10 April 2024, 09:45


Gastroenterologist - Hepatologist, Thessaloniki

PhD at Medical School, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece

PGDip at Universitair Medisch Centrum Utrecht, The Netherlands

Ex President, Hellenic H. pylori & Microbiota Study Group