Bristol stool table review


The Bristol Stool Chart is a tool used to evaluate human feces (feces) based on its shape and how well formed or loose it is.

You can also hear about a tool called:

  • Bristol stools
  • Bristol chair shape scale
  • Meyers scale

Stools are numbered 1 through 7, from heaviest to loosest.

The scale was created in 1997 by a group of medical professionals from the British Royal Infirmary in Bristol, England.

Since then, it has become a useful tool for diagnosing gastrointestinal (GI) problems such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) .

In this article, we will discuss:

  • How the scale classifies stool.
  • How it is used by healthcare professionals
  • How and why it is used in research.
Get Medical Information / Jessica Olah

Bristol stools

Your healthcare professional will likely ask you to look at the table and enter the number that most closely matches the appearance and shape of your bowel movements:

  • Type 1 : hard and loose hits (hard to pass)
  • Type 2 : lumps, sausage
  • Type 3 : Sausage shape with cracks on the surface.
  • Type 4 : In the form of a sausage or snake; smooth and smooth
  • Type 5 : Soft drops with clear edges (go on easily)
  • Type 6 : fluffy products with ragged edges; gentle
  • Type 7 : Completely liquid, aqueous, no solids

Types 3 and 4 describe the stool that has good shape and comes off easily. They are considered the most healthy and ideal.

Types 1 and 2 describe hard-to-pass stools that may indicate constipation . Bloating and abdominal pain can be accompanied by these types.

You may have complete problems with your stool. This can stress your bowel movements and lead to hemorrhoids .

Types 5 and 6 are loose stools, which may indicate a lack of fiber in the diet or mild diarrhea .

Type 7 describes very loose stools or completely watery diarrhea. You may feel the need to have a bowel movement, and you may not be able to keep up with this type of bowel movement.

You can also become dehydrated or exhausted if the diarrhea persists.


Your stool is rated on a 7-point scale that describes its shape and consistency. This could indicate gastrointestinal problems like constipation and diarrhea.

How to use the Bristol stool table

Your healthcare provider may use the Bristol Stool Chart if you have unusual bowel symptoms or if you notice changes in bowel habits or the appearance of your stool.

These include problems like:

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Switch between diarrhea and constipation
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Bloating and gas
  • Nausea or feeling full
  • Steatorrhea (greasy, floating stools)
  • Other symptoms that indicate malabsorption or inability to digest and absorb nutrients.

Your healthcare professional may ask you to look at your stool and compare it to the Bristol stool table. Then you can discuss any changes in your gut and new bill on your next visit.

During your visit, your healthcare provider may ask you how often you usually have a bowel movement and whether you have more or less bowel movements than usual.

They may also ask you other questions about your chair, for example:

  • How much do you normally excrete with each bowel movement?
  • What does stool smell like and what color is it most often?
  • Have you noticed blood or mucus in your stool?
  • Does the stool stick to the toilet and how easy is it to flush the rest of the stool?

Your healthcare provider may also examine your stool sample and order other tests as needed. For example, they can do a stool culture to find out what bacteria, if any, are present in the stool.

They can also use the Rome Criteria to determine if their symptoms match those of a functional gastrointestinal disorder such as IBS.

A bowel movement is considered regular in most cases if it occurs one to three times a day, or only three times a week. But what is considered a "normal" bowel movement varies from person to person, and many factors influence your habits.

A person's bowel habits are influenced by many factors that can change from day to day.

For example, your gut may change due to:

  • Diet
  • Stress
  • Trip
  • Dehydration
  • Medicines
  • Changes with age
  • How active you are or how much you exercise
  • Illness like stomach flu
  • Changes in hormone levels, such as during pregnancy or menstruation.
  • More serious health problems, such as inflammatory bowel disease or colon cancer.


Your healthcare provider will use this tool to better evaluate your bowel movements and bowel habits. This can help identify what may be causing or aggravating gastrointestinal problems. The results may also indicate the need for additional tests to determine the root cause of these problems.

Bristol stool table in research

The Bristol Stool Table is often used in research as a way to measure the rate of passage of food through the digestive tract and to study problems with gastrointestinal function.

The researchers also used a table to measure how well different treatments work for people with certain gastrointestinal problems.

This scale has been used in studies of alternative therapies such as acupuncture .

A modified version of the children's diagram can also be used. It includes pictures that children can use to describe their stool when tested for intestinal problems such as constipation and contamination.


The Bristol Stool Chart is a tool that your healthcare professional uses to evaluate your stool. The 7-point scale helps you describe the shape and consistency of your stools.

Based on the results, your doctor can evaluate your bowel pattern and habits and, if necessary, order additional tests to find out what may be causing your gastrointestinal problems.

The scale is also used as a research tool to examine gastrointestinal disorders and how effective different treatments are for these problems.

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