Your bowel movements may hold the secret to your health


You can tell your health by looking at your bowel movements. This might sound like a joke but we’re being very serious. Scientists have found a new link between the diversity of bacteria in the gut and the condition of your bowel movements. We will be looking at three things: Frequency, form, and color.


For most people, the normal frequency of bowel movement is once per day, but that is not true for everyone. The normal range for bowel movement is around 3 times a day to 3 times a week. Some people have bowel movements 2-3 times a day. This can be because of faster metabolisms, more good bacteria in your digestion, or the quantity of food you eat.

It might also depend on your health condition. For example, people with diarrhea may have 3 bowel movements a day, while people with constipation might have less than 3 bowel movements in a week. Bowel movements are one of the body’s most important way to eliminate toxins and acids, so it’s best to do daily.


To identify your bowel movement form, you can use the Bristol chart:

  • Type 1: Separate hard lumps, like little balls (hard to pass);
  • Type 2: Sausage-shaped, but lumpy;
  • Type 3: Like a sausage but with cracks on its surface;
  • Type 4: Like a sausage or snake, smooth and soft;
  • Type 5: Soft blobs with clear cut edges (passed easily);
  • Type 6: Fluffy pieces with ragged edges, a mushy stool;
  • Type 7: Watery, no solid pieces. Entirely liquid.

If your bowel movement is at type 4, congratulations, you have healthy bowel movements! If you are close to type 1, you may have constipation, or if you are close to type 7, you may have diarrhea. Between constipation and diarrhea, diarrhea is more complicated and harder to treat. Having diarrhea can lead to malabsorption of nutrients.


Believe it or not, color matters! An ideal color would be medium- to dark-brown like milk chocolate. Color might be affected by the food you eat, for example if you eat beet, your stool might come out red. Leafy vegetables can cause green stool, while certain medications can make your waste look white or clay-colored. However, you will need to watch out for jet-black stool. It could be a sign of bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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