There are seven types of stools according to the Bristol Stool Chart. The Bristol Stool Chart is a medical aid designed to classify faeces into seven groups.
The type of stool or faeces depends on the time it spends in the colon. After you pass faeces, what you see in the toilet bowl is basically the result of your diet, fluids, medications and lifestyle. You can use the Bristol Stool Chart to check what your stools are telling you.
The Bristol Stool Chart shows seven categories of stool. Every person will have different bowel habits, but the important thing is that your stools are soft and easy to pass – like types 3 and 4 below.
Being ‘regular’ is a way of describing good bowel habits or normal bowel function. We often talk about our bowels being regular but this is often misunderstood as meaning that you go to the toilet to pass faeces every day. It’s common for people to empty their bowel once a day, although it’s still normal to be more or less often. Being regular really means that soft yet well-formed bowel motions are easily passed and that this happens anywhere from 1–3 times a day to 3 times a week.
The bowel usually wants to empty about 30 minutes after a meal (commonly breakfast), but this can vary from person to person.
There’s more to good bowel function than just being regular. For example, you should be able to:
People who pass bowel motions at the wrong time or in the wrong place may be experiencing poor bowel control, or faecal incontinence. They may also pass wind when they don't want to.
Poor bowel control is more common than you may think - about one in 20 people experience poor bowel control. It's often not talked about, but both men and women can have poor bowel control. It's more common as you get older, but young people can also have poor bowel control. Sometimes, people with poor bowel control also have poor bladder control and may leak urine.
Make sure to speak with your doctor if you think you have constipation or diarrhoea and urgency. Some treatment options include:
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