This Poop Chart Identifies Different Types of Poop And What They Mean (2023)

  • Paying attention to your poop can help you build a stronger gut, check your organ function and boost nutrient absorption from the foods you eat.
  • The color, shape, texture and consistency of your poop tells you a lot about your digestive system and whether your diet needs adjusting. (Just glance in the toilet. This is not a hands-on exercise.)
  • Check out the poop chart below to see where your bowel movements fall on the spectrum. Then, get tips to improve your digestion and gut health.

Right now, you may be ignoring one of your body’s informational super-sources: your poop. Your poop can tell you all sorts of things about your digestive health, including if you should adjust your diet, drink more water or see a gastroenterology specialist. Next time you’re in the bathroom, take a look in the toilet and then check the Bulletproof Poop Chart (below).

A small change could help you build a stronger gut, absorb more nutrients from your food and improve your good gut bacteria—positive changes that can lead to an even bigger impact on how you feel.

Read on to learn what different types of poop and bowel movements mean about your body. Then, learn how you can make adjustments to improve your health.

Table of Contents

  • What does healthy poop look like?
  • Different types of poop and what they mean
  • Poop color meaning
  • Tips on keeping your poop healthy
  • What does it mean if your poop floats?
  • Poop smell
  • Constipation
  • Factors that affect bowel movements
  • When to talk to a doctor

What does healthy poop look like?

What should poop look like, ideally? There are different characteristics to consider, including color, consistency and size. Here are a few ways you can assess whether you have healthy poop.

Color

Your poop should be brown in color, which comes from the combination of bilirubin (a pigment compound formed when red blood cells are broken down) and stomach bile.

Shape

Poop comes in many shapes. However, a log-like one is what you should be shooting for.

Size

Healthy poop is typically a few inches long. If it comes out in pellets, that could be a sign that your digestive system isn’t totally in sync.

Consistency

The firmness of your poop suggests a wealth of information about your body. So, is your poop soft, hard or runny?

You’ve probably already noticed the extremes, like runny or hard (which may be accompanied by constipation or hemorrhoids). Now, notice the subtleties: Is it lumpy or smooth? Are there ragged edges or clear-cut edges? Does it come out in soft blobs or more solid pieces?

Compare the consistency with each poop chart meaning for more insights into what your poop says about your health.

Length of time

How long should a poop take? It should be easy to pass, generally within a few minutes.

Frequency

The final thing to note about your poop is frequency: one or two poops a day, or only three times a week?

  • Less than three times a week: Take magnesium to help your body send more water to your bowels.[1]Speaking of water, drink lots of it. Get your thyroid checked if things don’t become more regular.
  • Three or more times a day: You should probably eat more fiber from vegetables. Fiber slows down food passage through your digestive system, which gives you more time to absorb precious nutrients. If you’re getting lots of veggies and still pooping three or more times a day, see a doctor.

If you’re on a fairly regular schedule with your bowel habits, that’s a sign that your digestion is strong. Your poops should also generally feel “complete.” That means you feel like you’ve evacuated everything, and there isn’t more to come out.

Different types of poop and what they mean

The Ultimate Guide to Poop

1

This Poop Chart Identifies Different Types of Poop And What They Mean (1)

Separate, hard lumps

(Video) Poop and Health: What Different Colors and Shapes Mean

The Problem: You’re constipated it’s probably dehydration, stress or a magnesium deficiency. It may be a thyroid issue.

How to fix it:

  • Get plenty of water and take a magnesium supplement
  • Take a teaspoon of Brain Octane Oil

3

This Poop Chart Identifies Different Types of Poop And What They Mean (3)

Solid, sausage-shaped with cracks on the surface

The Problem: None. Your poop is in the green zone and odds are your gut is in good shape, too. If you’re pooping less frequently than you like, drink more water and eat more healthy fats.

4

This Poop Chart Identifies Different Types of Poop And What They Mean (4)

Smooth, like a soft sausage or snake

The Problem: None. This is right where you want to be – it’s a sign of strong digestion and a good diet. Well done. You’ve reached pooping perfection.

(Video) Surprise About Your Poops? Here Are 7 Types Of Poops Tells About Your Health!

5

This Poop Chart Identifies Different Types of Poop And What They Mean (5)

Soft blobs with defined edges

The Problem: Not enough fiber. Maybe not enough good gut bacteria.

How to fix it:

  • Eat more veggies
  • Slowly add resistant starch, like green banana flour or raw potato starch

6

This Poop Chart Identifies Different Types of Poop And What They Mean (6)

Mushy, ragged edges

The Problem: Inflammation, possibly from leaky gut or eating a suspect food.

How to fix it:

  • Eliminate grains, seeds, legumes, gluten and alcohol
  • Eat sweet potato, carrots and asparagus
  • Experiment with fermented foods
  • Take collagen daily

7

This Poop Chart Identifies Different Types of Poop And What They Mean (7)

(Video) 12 Things Your Stool Says About Your Health

Liquid stool

The Problem: Severe inflammation. If this happens regularly, please consult your healthcare provider.

How to fix it:

  • Check with your healthcare provider if this happens regularly

If you’re curious about what your poop is trying to tell you, take a look at the Bulletproof Poop Chart. Based on the Bristol Stool Chart, this chart pairs examples with actionable tips.

Here’s a rundown what different types of poop mean, along with their key identifying characteristics:

1. Marbles

Separate, hard lumps indicate constipation, likely due to dehydration.

2. Caterpillar

Dry, lumpy, sausage-shaped poop suggests mild constipation.

3. Hot dog

A sign of optimal poop health? Solid, sausage-shaped stool with cracks on the surface.

4. Snake

Smooth and snake-like poop is a strong indicator of a well-balanced diet and healthy digestion.

5. Amoebas

Soft blobs with defined edges signify a lack of fiber and potentially not enough good gut bacteria.

More Gut Health From Bulletproof

Restoring Gut Flora: How To Balance Gut BacteriaInside Bulletproof: You Already Know About Prebiotics and Probiotics—Time to Meet Postbiotics6 Ways to Boost Digestion—And Beat the Holiday Bloat

6. Soft service

Producing mushy, fluffy poop with ragged edges? The Bristol Stool Chart says inflammation is the problem.

7. Jackson Pollock

Watery, liquid stool indicates severe inflammation. If it persists, speak with your healthcare provider.

Poop color meaning

This Poop Chart Identifies Different Types of Poop And What They Mean (12)

Keep an eye on your poop’s color. It tells you how well your body is processing the food you eat and can provide clues about your digestive health.

More Gut Health From Bulletproof

  • Restoring Gut Flora: How To Balance Gut Bacteria
  • Inside Bulletproof: You Already Know About Prebiotics and Probiotics—Time to Meet Postbiotics
  • 6 Ways to Boost Digestion—And Beat the Holiday Bloat

Black

Black stools with a foul smell indicate a problem in the upper digestive tract, which may necessitate a visit to your healthcare practitioner. Your poop could also appear black if you consumed black licorice, blueberries, blood sausage, activated charcoal, Pepto-Bismol or iron pills.[2]

Green

Generally, poop ranging in shades of brown to green is a good sign. Consuming large amounts of green veggies could impact the color of your stool. However, green poop could also indicate that food moved through your gut too quickly.

(Video) Types of Stool : Size, Shape & Color – Stool Analysis by Dr.Berg

Orange

Beta carotene, a compound that gives foods like sweet potatoes and carrots their orange color, could be the cause of orange stools.

Pale

Light gray, clay-like feces can suggest a problem with your digestion.[3][4]If your poop is regularly pale and gray, get yourself to a healthcare professional.

Red

Did you eat beets recently? If so, that may explain the change in color. Beets and some other red foods can cause your healthy stool to change colors because of their pigments. But if you haven’t eaten beets and you see red stool in the toilet, see a doctor about these irregularly colored bowel movements.[5]

Yellow

If your poop looks more yellow than brown, looks greasy and smells bad, it could be a sign that your body isn’t digesting fats well. It could also be a result of overconsumption of fatty and greasy foods.

Tips on keeping your poop healthy

This Poop Chart Identifies Different Types of Poop And What They Mean (13)

How can you support healthy digestion and an optimal pooping experience? Here are some strategies to consider that can keep things moving in the right direction.

Eating foods that support healthy digestion

Feed your biome with prebiotic-rich foods like sweet potato, carrots and asparagus. Experiment with fermented foods like kombucha, sauerkraut and (if you tolerate dairy) grass-fed kefir. These fermented foods contain bacteria and yeasts that may be beneficial for your gut and gastrointestinal health—but keep in mind that fermented foods don’t work for everyone.

Drinking plenty of water

Staying hydrated keeps the stool in your large intestines soft, which makes it easier to pass. Not sure where to start? Check out our tips to stay hydrated.

Eating on a schedule

Following a consistent eating pattern could help your digestive system get accommodated to breaking down food at certain times of the day.

Exercise

Among its many benefits, exercise helps move food and gas through the digestive tract. So, if you want healthy poop, make movement a consistent practice.

Stay on top of colorectal cancer screenings

The American Cancer Society recommends that people at average risk of colorectal cancer start screening at age 45. You can do stool-based tests at home, but they have to be done more often than structural exams with scopes or x-rays.[6]

What does it mean if your poop floats?

Your stool’s buoyancy is especially useful info when you’re eating a lower-carb, high-fat diet like the keto diet because it’s a good test of whether you’re metabolizing and absorbing the fat you eat.[7]

Generally, poop should sink. If your poop is solid and occasionally floats, it could just be that you ate an especially large amount of fiber that day, which isn’t anything to write home about. But if your poop floats regularly, it could be a sign that you aren’t digesting fat. Watch for:

  • Regularly soft, floating poop
  • Oil slicks from the poop that coat the toilet bowl (like the grease left in the box when you pick up a piece of pizza. Yeah. That’s gross. Sorry.)
  • Mucus in your poop or white stools

If your poop is oily once in a while, it could just be a side effect from eating too much fat. If it happens regularly, check your diet. Did you just switch over to a higher-fat diet? If so, your body can take a couple of weeks to start producing enough lipase, the enzyme you need to break down fat. To help in the meantime, taking lipase for a few days as a digestive supplement may help.

Poop smell

Poop naturally has an unpleasant smell. However, especially foul-smelling stools could indicate a problem with your digestive system. Malabsorption or an infection in the intestines from contaminated food typically result in stools that are runny and smell putrid.

Constipation

Occasional constipation could stem from a number of factors. Not consuming enough fiber may impact your pooping frequency. Or, you may not be staying adequately hydrated. Staying active and managing stress can help support a healthy gut and potentially provide some relief with occasional constipation.

Factors that affect bowel movements

This Poop Chart Identifies Different Types of Poop And What They Mean (14)

Your daily habits can have a major impact on where you land on a bowel movement chart. Here are some factors that affect your digestive health:

  • Food choices
  • Fiber intake
  • Hydration
  • Stress
  • Medication use
  • Travel

When to talk to a doctor

If you haven’t changed anything and your poop floats in an oil slick on a regular basis, visit a doctor to get ahead of any serious conditions.[8][9]

If you’re grappling with chronic constipation, you should also speak to your healthcare provider. Constipation is one of those situations that can have many different causes, from under-producing thyroid hormones to lack of bile production or nutrient malabsorption.

The bottom line: Poop is a treasure trove of information about what’s going on inside your body. It may seem strange, but taking note of your poop gives you valuable insight into your digestion, organ function, gut bacteria and more. Keep tabs on your poop (or keep a poop journal, if you’re hardcore). It’s a great indicator of how small changes in your diet affect your gut—and healthy stool lets you know if you’re moving in the right direction.

If you’re feeling bloated, fatigued or just off, it may be time to check in on your gut health. Read on to learn about signs your gut is unhealthy and how to fix it.

This article has been updated with new content.

FAQs

What does different types of poop tell you? ›

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.

What the color of your poop means chart? ›

Stool color chart and what does it mean
ColorPotential cause
BrownNormal color.
YellowDiseases of the pancreas, malabsorption, celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, Giardia infection
Clay, pale yellow, or whiteLiver or biliary disease, lack of bile in the stool
BlackGI bleeding
5 more rows

What is Type 6 and Type 7 stool? ›

Type 6 – Mushy consistency with ragged edges, looking more like a pile than clear separate stools. Type 7 – Liquid in form, containing no solid pieces.

What is healthy poop look like? ›

The color of your stool depends on a couple of things: your diet and how much bile is in it. Bile is a yellow-green fluid that helps digest fats. A healthy stool, then, should reflect a mixture of all the colors of the food you eat and that bile. Almost any shade of brown, or even green, is considered OK.

What does stress poop look like? ›

Anxiety poop may also be linked to an underlying condition, Eid says. Warning signs to look out for include: blood in your stool. black, tar-colored stool.

Should your poop float or sink? ›

Healthy Poop Should Sink in the Toilet

Floating stools are often an indication of high fat content, which can be a sign of malabsorption, a condition in which you can't absorb enough fat and other nutrients from the food you're ingesting, reports Mount Sinai.

What does ulcerative colitis poop look like? ›

Stool-related symptoms of ulcerative colitis include: diarrhea. bloody stools that may be bright red, pink, or tarry. urgent bowel movements.

What does soft mushy stool mean? ›

When mushy stool occurs, it is often hard to control the urge or timing of the bowel movement. This form of stool has passed through the colon quickly, due to stress or a dramatic change in diet or activity level.

Is peanut butter colored poop normal? ›

A normal stool is one that is soft, well-formed, and easy to pass. Generally speaking, a stool should be brown to golden brown in color and cohesively formed with the texture of peanut butter.

What is abnormal poop? ›

Abnormal poop

pooping too often — more than three times daily. not pooping often enough — less than three times a week. excessive straining when pooping. poop that is red, black, green, yellow, or white. greasy, fatty stools.

Why is my poop a light beige color? ›

If your liver is not producing enough bile, or if the flow of the bile is blocked and not draining from your liver, your stools may become pale or clay-colored. Having pale stools once in a while may not be a cause for concern. If it occurs frequently, you may have a serious illness.

What does Type 3 stool mean? ›

Types 1 and 2 indicate constipation, types 3 and 4 are healthy stool, while types 5–7 suggest diarrhea and urgency.

What do poop shapes mean? ›

But in terms of accuracy, the ones comparing poop to logs are probably the closest. The healthiest shape for poop is a long cylinder. When poop takes on other shapes, it may indicate something could be going on with your digestive system.

What does Type 1 poop mean? ›

Type 1. They've spent a long time in your bowel and are tough to pass. If your stool looks like this, you're probably constipated. If it lasts longer than a couple of weeks, see your doctor to find out what's causing it.

What does high fiber poop look like? ›

"A diet rich in fiber tends to have more formed, brown stools, most commonly seen in Bristol Stool Chart Type 4," says Dr. Lee. If your diet's low in fiber and water, you might find your poops more consistently look like Types 1 through 3, she adds. But it's not just diet that changes how your poop looks.

How do I completely empty my bowels? ›

Learn how to empty your bowels without straining.
...
Drink enough water
  1. Drink up to 8 glasses of fluid per day e.g. water, milk, soups and juices.
  2. Limit caffeine drinks to 2 per day.
  3. Eat food high in soluble fibre (pasta, rice, vegetables and fruit).
  4. Limit foods high in insoluble fibre (bran and muesli).

How much poop is in your colon? ›

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) the average man in the U.S. weighs 195.7 pounds, and the average woman weighs 168.5 pounds. This means a man of average weight produces about 1 pound of poop and a woman of average weight produces about 14 ounces of poop per day, contained in your large intestine.

Why is my poop long like a snake? ›

A diet that is low in fiber or fluids increases the chance of constipation. As a result, the stool can be less bulky and shrinks in size, taking on a stringy appearance. Chronic constipation often leads to blockages that develop in the colon, leading to the passage of thin, stringy stools.

What does cortisol in poop indicate? ›

We hypothesize that cortisol levels in saliva reflect real-time blood levels of cortisol and can be used to detect acute stress whereas cortisol levels in feces reflect levels over a longer time frame and may be indicative of chronic stress.

What Colour is a healthy stool? ›

Poop is normally brown. The color is the result of what you eat and how much bile is in your stool. Bile is a fluid your liver makes to digest fats. It starts out as a yellowish green color.

What poop tells you about your health? ›

Your poop can tell you if you're eating enough fiber and drinking enough water, or if your digestive system is processing food too slowly or too quickly. Also, lasting changes in your bowel habits or the appearance of your poop can be a sign of a medical condition that requires treatment.

Should your poop float or sink? ›

Healthy Poop Should Sink in the Toilet

Floating stools are often an indication of high fat content, which can be a sign of malabsorption, a condition in which you can't absorb enough fat and other nutrients from the food you're ingesting, reports Mount Sinai.

Is Type 5 stool normal? ›

Experts generally consider these types to be the most healthy and typical stool forms. Type 5 stools are soft blobs with clear-cut edges that a person can pass easily. Some may also consider this type to be typical in those without bowel issues, while others may suggest it is too loose and may imply diarrhea.

What does high fiber poop look like? ›

"A diet rich in fiber tends to have more formed, brown stools, most commonly seen in Bristol Stool Chart Type 4," says Dr. Lee. If your diet's low in fiber and water, you might find your poops more consistently look like Types 1 through 3, she adds. But it's not just diet that changes how your poop looks.

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