What Kind of Poop Do I Have?

How can you describe your bowel movements (BMs) to your doctor without bringing in a sample?

The Bristol Stool Scale is a way to talk about shapes and types of poop, what doctors call stools. It's also known as the Meyers Scale.

poop chart

The chart is designed to help doctors measure the time it takes for food to pass through your body and leave as waste. The shape and form of your poop may also point your doctor toward a diagnosis of some digestive problems.

  • The ideal stool is generally type 3 or 4, easy to pass without being too watery.
  • If yours is type 1 or 2, you're probably constipated.
  • Types 5, 6, and 7 tend toward diarrhea.

Ken Heaton, MD, from the University of Bristol, developed the chart in 1997 with the help of 66 volunteers. They changed their diets, swallowed special marker pellets, and kept a diary about their BMs: weight, shape, and how often they went.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on October 29, 2017

Sources

SOURCES:

Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology/University of Bristol: "Bristol Stool Scale."

GP Notebook: "Meyers Scale."

© 2017 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.