After the body has absorbed all the nutrients from a delicious meal, the gut, when working well, becomes a garbage disposal unit.
It effectively rids the body of what it doesn’t require, which results in a trip to the loo.
Health experts state it is not always necessary to poop every day to be regular, but a normal healthy bowel movement could be anywhere between three times a day to thrice a week.
But the type of poos you're producing can tell you a lot about your health – and could indicate serious diseases lurking in your body.
Back in 1997, doctors from the Bristol Royal Infirmary developed a chart to help people classify what healthy poos look like.
Dr Ken Heaton and Dr Stephen Lewis developed the Bristol Stool Chart which was published in the Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology.
While more recent research has questioned the usefulness of some parts of the chart, it is still widely used today and respected by medical practitioners all over the world.
The chart is said to be particularly helpful for people who are concerned about changes in their stools and what could spark a major health concern.
According to the chart, there are 7 different types of poo:
- Type 1 – Separate hard lumps which are difficult to pass and could indicate constipation
- Type 2 – Shaped like a sausage with smooth, irregular bumps, which could indicate slight constipation
- Type 3 – Shaped like a sausage with a smooth but cracked surface, indicating normal
- Type 4 – Shaped like a smooth and soft sausage with no cracks, also indicating normal
- Type 5 – Soft blobs with clear cut edges that are easy to pass, indicating the body may be lacking fibre
- Type 6 – Mushy stool with fluffy pieces and ragged edges, indicating inflammation
- Type 7 – Primarily liquid with no consistent solid pieces, also indicating inflammation.
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Lacking in fibre could mean an unhealthy digestive system, which can lead to both short and long-term health complications.
Low-fibre diets have been linked to dangers such as cancer and unhealthy cholesterol levels.
Having high levels of inflammation in the body can become serious health conditions over time, too.
Some research suggest that chronic inflammation could play a role in a range of conditions from cancer to stroke.
Bowel cancer warning
Bowel cancer is a general term for any cancer which develops in the large bowel.
It may also be referred to as colon or rectal cancer.
About one in every 20 people in the UK will develop bowel cancer at some point in their lifetime, warns the NHS.
It is often diagnosed much later because symptoms can easily be mistaken for something less serious.
Experts warn any sudden or persistent changes to your bowel movements should be a cause for concern.
Signs of bowel cancer
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One of the major first indicators of bowel cancer includes blood in your poop.
The colour is not always a bright red colour but can also be more maroon, dark brown or black.
Long, thin narrow stools sometimes referred to as “pencil poo” are other changes to be aware of.
Other early symptoms include experiencing diarrhoea or constipation, abdominal discomfort, feeling as if your bowels have not emptied completely, weakness or fatigue and unexplained weight loss.
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