Did you know that your bowel movements can reveal a great deal of information about the health of your gut & body?
It’s all here on the Bristol Stool Chart: a guide that uses stool shape & consistency to determine motility & transit time.
TYPES 1, 2 & 3
Signs of constipation, not enough water left residing in the stool or too much has been drawn out indicating that it has been residing in the colon for too long. Common causes include fibre imbalance, drastic changes to diet, or medication/supplements (eg. iron).
The gold standard in poop! There is optimal water, waste & bulk to form a healthy stool indicative of a healthy diet & digestive system.
TYPES 5, 6 & 7
Identified as diarrhoea – watery, mushy, urgent, and sometimes tap like. Can be indicative of infection, illness, high stress, food intolerance or drastic dietary change. Seek medical advice if it continues longer than 3 days.
A healthy bowel should produce a Type 4 daily movement that is easily passed without pain or discomfort. It is NOT normal to go a few days without a bowel movement, nor is it healthy having too many loose or hard stools
A few common reasons you may experience less than ideal bowel habits can include:
- Alcohol intake
- Low fibre intake
- Too much fibre
- Low water intake
- Activity levels (or lack thereof)
- High stress
- Nutrient Deficiencies
- Food Allergies / Intolerances
- Hormonal changes / imbalances
- Microbial imbalance
- Medications / Supplements
Here are some key tips for getting your bowel movements back on track:
- Ensure you’re meeting minimum daily fluid requirements (your weight kg x 30-35).
- Supplement with electrolytes, magnesium, digestive enzymes & a quality multivitamin.
- Eat enough fibre (min 30g men, 25g women) in a 1:1 ratio insoluble & soluble.
- Eat a variety of fresh minimally processed whole foods.
- Ditch the alcohol, gluten, dairy, artificial sweeteners & refined sugars.
- Manage stress, sleep & avoid overtraining.
If you’ve covered all of these off & are still feeling out of balance, consider further investigation with a practitioner.