What’s the Scoop on Your Poop?

Before we get into this article, I just want to make it clear that checking out your poop before you flush is perfectly normal. So, don’t you dare feel like a weirdo because you like to play Inspector Gadget. It’s actually recommended that you do because your stool can tell you a great deal about your diet and digestive tract. If you’re concerned about the shape, color, frequency, or consistency of your feces, there’s actual research to give you a better idea of what it’s trying to tell you.

First thing’s first. There is no such thing as “normal” poop. What should be considered normal is whatever is the most common for you as an individual. This means that there is no ideal number of times each day you should be visiting the porcelain throne, although the standard of daily “regularity” is the widely accepted standard.

It’s not uncommon for people to need to expel three to four times a day, but it’s also not uncommon for others to go three to four times a week. The food that you eat also plays a major role in how often you go and in the way your stool looks and smells, so again there’s no “perfect” poop.

Doctors have what is called the Bristol Stool Chart. This chart is used as a reference for the shape of your stool. It ranges from small, hard lumps to stool that is