What your poo says about you

Think you know your shit?

It might be every four-year-old’s favourite topic, but as adults we shy away from toilet talk. The fact is, our bowel movements are a treasure trove of information about our digestive health. So don’t flush without a second glance.

When it comes to frequency, colour, shape and size, there is no real normal – just what’s normal for you. Some people go twice a day, others only twice a week.

Poo is made from water, fibre, bacteria, bile and dead cells from the inside of the intestinal tract. It smells because of the trillion bacteria involved in aiding digestive and metabolic processes.

Constipation can be caused by a change in diet, such as a drop in fibre or not drinking enough water, or a change in physical activity level that has slowed metabolic processes down. Certain medications, such as iron supplements, can also cause constipation. Eating a healthy diet that is high in fibre, drinking lots of water and getting exercise is the key to good gastrointestinal health.

You need to aim for 20-25 grams of fibre per day by eating lots of wholegrain cereals, fresh vegetables and fruits, and nuts.

A floating poo is a sign that your diet is high in fibre. The fibre attacks bacteria, which creates gas and allows the poo to float in the water.

Bristol Stool Chart

The Bristol Stool Chart is a medical scale designed to classify human poo. It was developed at Bristol University and is used as a research tool to treat various diseases of the bowel. Types 3 and 4 are the ideal poo types as they indicate neither constipation or diarrhoea.

Bristol Stool Chart


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