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Types of Poop: Health Indications Based on Shape and Color

Medically reviewed by Janie-Vi Villamor Ismael-Gorospe, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Nikita Bhalla · Updated Apr 20, 2022

    Types of Poop: Health Indications Based on Shape and Color

    Make a face or frown at the mention of it, cringe when you see it, or pinch your nose in disgust when you smell it – whatever be your reaction, ‘it’ is an inseparable part of our lives. Wonder what we are talking about? Well, it’s poop, if you haven’t guessed it already! Poop or feces is an essential part of our health and anatomy. Did you know that there are as many as 7 types of poop? Yes, you read that right. And a range of shapes, sizes, and consistencies that tell stories about your health.

    Poop contains 25% solid matter and 75% water. The solid matter is a combination of bacteria, inorganic products, and indigestible food. On average, it takes food consumed about three days to pass through your system and form waste products known as poop, stool, or fecal matter. 

    Let’s get talking about poop so that we know the telltale signs of ‘bad poop’ and visit the doctor immediately.

    Types of poop according to its shape

    The Bristol Stool Form Chart is used medically to classify the consistency and shape of poop. There are 7 categories. Let’s take a look at these types.

    Poop Type 1: Pebble Poop

    This type of poop is like hard lumps that are difficult to pass. This is the type that is common during constipation. These are as small as nuts or pebbles, which is where they get their name from. It has stayed in the large intestine and colon for a prolonged time, which has caused it to be ripped of water and nutrients. As a result, it has hardened like pebbles.

    The extra time in the intestine and colon has also taken away the healthy bacteria that the colon comprises. This bacteria specializes in holding water in the poop. So, when the healthy bacteria gets removed, automatically the poop loses its water retention quality.  

    Poop Type 2: Firm Poop

    Firm poop has a form and is cylindrical-shaped like sausages, but it is lumpy in consistency.

    This, too, is a result of a prolonged stay in the intestines for about a couple of weeks. This is way beyond the average span of three days.

    Hence, it has dried up but not enough to break down into smaller pieces – evidently another sign of constipation. The large and dried form makes it difficult to pass this poop.

    Poop Type 3: Cracked Stool

    This poop is cylindrical like sausages again, but shows cracks on its surface. It is also referred to as organic constipation that is caused due to poor lifestyle and unbalanced diet.

    This is a clear sign of an unhealthy diet and a lifestyle devoid of sufficient physical activities. Cracked stool spends at least a week in the intestines before being removed from the body. It requires exertion of pressure to be passed but it isn’t painful.

    Poop Type 4: Healthy Poop

    This poop is again cylindrical like the previous two types, but smooth and soft. It appears like soft-serve ice cream. Healthy poop usually has the diameter of a banana.

    It stays intact even when you flush it, implying it has the right balance of undigested material, bacteria, and water. This also means that it has not overstayed its time in the intestines. 

    Poop Type 5: Soft Blob Poop

    This poop is of a soft shape but has clear edges, and can be passed easily. It can be excreted without pain or stress. The lack of shape of the poop is because it gets removed from the body two or three times in a day, usually after every major meal. 

    Poop Type 6: Mushy Stool

    Out of all the types of poop, this kind has a pudding-like consistency with soft edges. It is indicative of the early stages of diarrhea. The bowel movement, in this case, is generally accompanied by frequent and urgent visits to the washroom. The mushy form happens due to a sudden and complete change in the type of food intake, excessive stress, or activity level.

    These factors affect the intestines, making them pass the poop much quicker than the normal pace. The usual process of extracting water, indigestible material, and healthy bacteria from the waste does not get completed. Hence, the poop does not get sufficient time to form a shape. 

    Poop Type 7: Liquid Poop

    Poop can be completely watery in consistency, devoid of any solid pieces. It is a clear indicator of acute or chronic diarrhea. Intestinal infection forces the waste, along with the water content, to be removed before the digestive process can be completed. The result is explosive, uncontrollable diarrhea.

    Types of poop according to its color

    types of poop

    We’re done discussing the shapes and consistencies of poop. Now is the time for color, which says volumes about the type of food and nutrients consumed. So, let’s get started. 

    Brown Poop

    This color, varying in shades from dark to light brown, is due to a pigment called bilirubin. This pigment is produced when hemoglobin gets broken down in the liver. Next, bilirubin enters the intestines and gets combined with the poop to give it the brown color.

    This color of poop is healthy and normal.

    Green Poop

    The natural color of bile in the gallbladder is green. When poop passes through the intestines at a pace that is quicker than normal, it does not get time to lose the green color and then blend in with the bilirubin.

    Green poop is generally normal. It may also be caused by consuming green vegetables or green-colored foods. However, if it is accompanied by other symptoms such as diarrhea or vomiting, please consult a doctor. This could be a sign of Crohn’s disease.

    Black Poop

    This color is a sign that the poop contains dried blood. Internal bleeding in a part of the body away from the intestine, far away enough for the blood to dry up by the time it reaches the intestine and combine with the poop, gives the poop its black color.

    If this is your consistent poop color for a few consecutive days, visit a doctor immediately. It may be a symptom of an underlying medical condition. 

    Yellow Poop

    When the fat content from the poop does not get absorbed, it turns yellow.

    This occurs due to diseases that cause inflammation in the pancreas, parasites, or congenital illnesses. See a doctor if your poop is yellow for more than two days.

    White or Clay-coloured Poop

    The lack of sufficient bile salts mixed into the poop in the intestines gives it pale or white shades. This may occur due to liver problems, bile duct blockages, and gallstones. More than white poop, pale and clay-colored poop is a cause for concern. 

    Blue Poop

    Consumption of edible blue dye in large amounts will blend in with the poop to give it this color. However, there is a difference between blue and blue-green. If it is the latter, consult a doctor immediately. 

    Red Poop

    Bleeding in the lower intestine, usually due to hemorrhoids, produces red poop. Seek the advice of a doctor urgently if this happens.

    Learn more about maintaining your digestive health, here.


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Janie-Vi Villamor Ismael-Gorospe, MD

    General Practitioner

    Written by Nikita Bhalla · Updated Apr 20, 2022

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