A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic

The scoop on poop: What’s normal for you

Toilet talk isn’t just for parents of potty training toddlers.

A peek at the shape of your poop can tell you a lot about your health and if you need to see your doctor.

What’s normal?

Sausage-shaped stool generally indicates healthy bowel habits. Frequency varies by person and can range from four times a week to three times a day.

Watch for change

The main thing to watch for and bring to your doctor’s attention is sudden changes in your bowel patterns, like severe diarrhea or constipation that doesn’t subside, said Dr. M Khalouck Abdrabbo, a Marshfield Clinic gastroenterologist.

Diarrhea can be a sign of bowel inflammation or infection.

Hard, lumpy stool might mean you’re constipated if you’re having fewer than three bowel movements a week, straining, not feeling completely cleaned out after using the bathroom or relying on laxatives.

To learn more about how you can keep your poop in proper form, take a look below.

Bristol stool chart infographic

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