Man on toilet bowl

People who know me may say that I often talk a word that rhymes with grit … while I could be offended, it could be said that it is also very true.

While we may knock a quite well know UK health “guru” that takes an unusually keen interest in the topic and seems to like to analyse it, it is in fact a very noticeable and indicative marker of how our digestive system is performing.


(The continuation contains language some may find offensive)

For some, it seems, this is a very uncomfortable topic and many say they don’t look at what is deposited into the s bend.

The famous/infamous Bristol Stool chart gives somewhat of an indication of the various consistencies with Type 4 being the best indicator of normal and healthy.

As a daily indicator of digestive system performance, it is a constant gauge of performance and often our fist “heads up” that something is not right, especially when the presence of blood or mucous is involved.

When I start to ask people shit, what do they say?

“I don’t know, I don’t look”

“What colour? … Pooh colour” … which to you is..…?

“Float or sink? … I don’t know, I don’t take any notice”

“How are your bowels functioning? … Yep, no problem there J

“How often do you go? … Regular? …. Once an hour/day/week/month?

Why do health practitioners put so much emphasis on shit?

Faeces (let’s get technical) is comprised of bacteria, undigested or unabsorbed food, water, mucous and bile. So the colour, composition, texture and consistency tells us a lot about what is happening or not happening within the digestive system. While there may be some inconsistency in colour due to the foods consumed (for example red wine or beetroot can alter it quite significantly). A normal or healthy stool is mid brown, has a uniform texture, is relatively smooth or soft, is somewhat sausage like in shape and passes easily without urgency nor strain and discomfort. There should be a heads up that it is time for you to go and pass but not a “get me there now, right now”. Once the stool has passed there should be some feeling of relief and also a feeling that the contents have been fully evacuated.

What are we looking for to indicate that something is amiss?

Black stools or mucous in the stools indicate a need for further investigation without delay.

Other than that we are looking for …

Colour … should be mid brown, light or yellow is a sign that things are not working effectively and if this is more common than not it is time to get checked out.

Consistency … should be formed and sausage like in appearance, not separate, not hard lumps, not liquid or runny.

Odour … yes everyone’s does stink, however it should not be toxic nor linger for an exceptional amount of time. This also applies to “passing wind” … oh, how polite am I?

Float or sink … Sink is good, float is not so good.

Regularity … NO, once a week is NOT regular. 1-3 per day is ok dependant on consistency and urgency, however if it happens within half an hour of eating with urgency NOT ok. If liquid, NOT ok.

Blood … presence of blood always indicates something, the darker the blood the more urgent the need to get checked out

Mucous … while occasionally the presence of mucous may indicate temporary disruption to the gastrointestinal tract, the presence or sufficient amounts means, “get it checked out”.


Jacinta Harding is a Nutritional Medicine Practitioner, specialising in Allergies and Allergy related conditions and author of the eBook “When No Means Yes: No nonsense guide to saying NO to Gluten, Casein, Lactose and ill health and YES! To Health, Vitality and Wellbeing”. Visit her website for more information