What Kind of Poop Do I Have?

Medically Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian, MD on January 16, 2022
1 min read

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.

Bristol Stool Scale

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.