What Does It Mean If Your Poop Is Orange

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Different types of poo. And at the same time, it can be taboo to discuss your bowel habits – sometimes it’s necessary. The Bristol Stool Chart can make it much easier to describe your bowel movements (and find out if they are healthy or not) to your healthcare provider. It’s useful if you have digestive or bowel problems, and it can help your doctor correctly diagnose your symptoms or condition.

What Does It Mean If Your Poop Is Orange

What Does It Mean If Your Poop Is Orange

“Your gut is the only true marker you have of your GI health,” says Anish Sheth, MD, a board-certified gastroenterologist at Penn Medicine’s Center for Digestive Health. Becoming familiar with what’s normal for you in terms of stool shape, texture, and consistency can help you take better care of your body and pick up on any changes that might signal a bigger problem.

Types Of Poop And What They Say About Your Health

If something isn’t right with your digestive health, being able to refer to the Bristol stool chart ensures that both you and your doctor are on the same page about exactly what went down the toilet, without having to bring a stool sample with you. Here’s what you need to know about this handy reference guide — and what your poop says about you.

The Bristol Stool Chart, aka Bristol Stool Form Scale or Bristol Stool Scale, is a visual guide to the different types of stool you may have. “We use it to classify the stool and the nature of the stool,” says Rudolph Bedford, MD, a gastroenterologist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, CA.

The chart is “well-validated” and divides poop into seven different types based on consistency, “from hard and pellet-like to soft and squishy,” says Randall Meisner, MD, a gastroenterologist with Spectrum Health. “It describes a variety of what are considered normal bowels,” he adds.

Hard stools often come out in separate lumps and can be painful to pass. When the poo has this consistency (resembles pebbles), it is a sign that it has been sitting in the large intestine and colon for a period of time. In other words, this type of stool often signals that you are constipated.

Reasons Your Stool Is Red

If this is usually what you see in the toilet — and you don’t suffer from another disease that comes with these side effects — you may have a gastrointestinal condition called chronic idiopathic constipation, or CIC. Drinking more water, making exercise part of your daily routine and slowly adding more fiber to your diet can help.

Solid stools that are connected but also lumpy can also be a sign of constipation. This signals that your waste has been stuck in the gut long enough to be dry, but isn’t

Long enough that it’s dry enough to break into smaller pieces, according to experts at UnityPoint Health. You can try eating more of these constipation-relieving foods to get things moving, but if nothing seems to help, ask your doctor if prescription medication is right for you.

What Does It Mean If Your Poop Is Orange

If this describes what you’re used to seeing when you go to the bathroom, then congratulations! This is considered a healthy stool, according to the Bristol Stool Chart, a tool used by doctors and dietitians. However, the cracks indicate that you may be a little dehydrated. Gastroenterologist Robyn Karlstadt, MD, suggests drinking six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily to keep your GI health in tip-top shape.

What Does Your Poop Tell You About Your Body & Your Health?

Doctors consider this type of stool (think: sausage-shaped or snake-shaped) to be the gold standard, especially when it’s also medium to light brown in color and remains intact while emptying. If your poop looks like this, give yourself a pat on the back because it’s a sure sign that you’re eating a healthy diet and staying nice and hydrated.

This is considered a somewhat loose stool, but it is quite common for people who have bowel movements two or three times a day, usually after eating a main meal, say the medical experts at UnityPoint Health. (If this is normal for you, and it’s smooth and comfortable, consider it A-OK.)

According to the Bristol Stool Chart, loose, loose stools may indicate inflammation of the bowel or inflammatory bowel disease such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease. It may also indicate a major change in your diet. Check with your doctor to make sure there is nothing to worry about. (Obviously, it can be like an embarrassing conversation, but it’s always better to err on the side of caution and doctors are used to these types of questions).

This advanced stage of diarrhea occurs when the small intestine is irritated. There are many causes of this type of stool, including viruses and bacteria, digestive disorders and lactose intolerance. Sometimes it can be caused by eating or drinking things high in fructose or artificial sweeteners, or starting a new medication, according to the Mayo Clinic. If your diarrhea lasts more than two days, see your doctor.

What The Color And Consistency Of Your Poop Says About You

The Bristol Stool Chart helps doctors and patients speak the same language when talking about bowels, explains Lukasz Kwapisz, MD, assistant professor of medicine, gastroenterology at Baylor College of Medicine. “It really helps doctors—in most cases gastroenterologists or primary care physicians—to understand what bowel movements patients are having,” he says. “This allows doctors to tailor a treatment plan to improve consistency and help alleviate patient anxiety.”

Typically, patients are shown the chart and asked to identify the number of the stool they had. “It’s hard to describe poop,” says Ellen Stein, MD, a gastroenterologist and associate professor at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. “It’s much easier to show.”

Everyone has their own stool consistency that is considered “normal” for them. But in general, type 3 or 4 is better, says Dr. Stein. “Four is kind of a sweet serving consistency,” he explains. “It’s easy to pass and smooth. It’s considered ideal.”

What Does It Mean If Your Poop Is Orange

Having this poop indicates you’re well hydrated, but it’s not runny like diarrhea, which indicates you’re moving things through your GI tract too quickly, he says.

What Is A Healthy Bowel Movement?

If you have a type of stool outside of the “normal” range, you may want to consider taking steps to improve your digestive or bowel health.

A simple way to improve gut health is to add more water and fiber to your daily diet. “Fiber and water work together to keep things moving smoothly and easily through the digestive system,” explains Nichole Dandrea-Russert, R.D.N., author of

. (P.S. Find more tips in our 14 Day Challenge for Better Digestive Health). Adding more movement to your daily routine can also help – consider a post-meal walk or a daily yoga flow to promote digestion and regular bowel movements. But these recommendations depend on what’s going on inside – for those with diarrhea, more fiber isn’t always the best option. So talk to a doctor before changing your diet.

Again, everyone’s normal gut is different. Because of this, experts say it’s hard to say for sure what kind of poop should send you running to the doctor.

Constipation: What To Do If You Can’t Poop

“A good rule of thumb is if there’s a change in bowel habits—whether it’s stool frequency or consistency—that’s been going on for more than a few days, this would be a good time to see your doctor to discuss,” says Dr. . says Kwapisz. But, he adds, if there are “red flag” symptoms like bloody stools, fever, unexplained weight loss, uncontrollable vomiting and diarrhea, or if you can’t poop at all, you should see your doctor first.

Dana Leigh Smith is currently the director of health for HearstMade, overseeing all branded health, fitness and wellness content in the Hearst portfolio, including Women’s Health, Cosmopolitan and Good Housekeeping. She specializes in producing nutritional and health content and enjoys the outdoors with her dog and husband.

Associate editor, has a background in health writing from her experience as an editorial assistant at WebMD and from her personal research in college. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Biopsychology, Cognition and Neuroscience – and helps with strategies for success in all of them.

What Does It Mean If Your Poop Is Orange

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Increasing evidence suggests that the health of your gut—home to trillions of bacterial microbes—has the ability to influence many aspects of your physical and mental health, including how you feel.

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