If you haven’t taken a peek at your #2 recently—you might want to take a look next time you go. The size and shape of your stool can reveal a lot about your digestive health. Hard, soft, mushy, or dry, here’s your ultimate guide to poo shape and size.
Your poop is: hard, dry, or painful to pass. If you’re struggling to go and it feels, er, unpleasant, you could be constipated. It’s perfectly normal to backed up from time to time, but if you have three or fewer bowel movements within a week, you may need to take some action. Eating high-fiber foods (fruits, veggies, and grains), drinking plenty of water, and getting enough exercise can help keep things moving. While it’s not important that you go #2 every single day, if it’s not getting better or is a consistent problem, check with your doctor. (Avoid these foods that can make constipation worse.)
Your poop is: soft, has cracks, or is easy to pass. If you look into the bowl and see something that resembles a sausage or a snake, congrats! You’ve got yourself a healthy poop, which is a sign your digestive system is running smoothly. Bonus points if it passes in under a minute. *insert smiley poop emoji here*
Your poop is: watery, mushy, or you have an intense urge to go. Loose or watery stool could mean you have diarrhea, which is often caused by bacteria or parasites found in food and water. For some people, diarrhea lasts just a few days, but for others, it may last for weeks. Thankfully, in most cases you can treat diarrhea at home by eating small meals throughout the day (instead of three large ones), and boosting your intake of salty foods and foods with potassium to help keep the sodium levels in your blood regulated. It’s also important to drink a lot of water so you stay hydrated, since having diarrhea usually means you’re losing a lot of fluid. If a child has diarrhea, contact a health professional. It’s more serious and it’s treated differently.
It’s normal for the shape of your poop to change, but if a certain shape or symptom is sticking around, it’s a good idea to check with your doc. Isn’t it, uh, cool to know your stool?
Constipation. Bethesda, MD: MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2016. (Accessed on December 24, 2021 at https://medlineplus.gov/constipation.html)
Diarrhea. Bethesda, MD: MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2016. (Accessed on December 24, 2021 at https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003126.htm)