What your poop says about your health and how to poop properly

Poo — What It Says About Our Health and How to Poop Properly

As the makers of poo stools, it’s only natural that the health of our, well, poo stools is of utmost importance to us. In fact, it’s so important there’s even a chart. You must have heard of it; the Bristol Stool Chart?

For all of you poop nerds out there, here’s some interesting info about the Bristol Stool Chart. The chart was developed by Dr Ken Heaton and Dr Chris Steele in the late 1990s as a way of standardising the way colonoscopies were performed — it helps doctors know what they should be looking for when they examine patients’ colons, and how to interpret the results. The chart is so good as a clinical assessment tool that it’s now pretty standard to see it almost everywhere. And while used by medical professionals, it’s also pretty helpful for anyone wanting to monitor and improve their bowel movements.

Several years ago, British health and wellness retailer, Holland & Barrett, decided the chart needed a bit of a revamp and commissioned three artists to create their version of the ‘Beautiful Stool Chart’. You can check out their updated, easy-on-the-eyes creative interpretations here.

Despite the fun outcomes, the motivation behind the retailer’s illustrated project was to encourage conversations about the importance of gut health based on research indicating that 60 percent of adults in the UK are too embarrassed to talk about gut issues and bowel health. And while 72 percent of the population have experienced gut health concerns, almost half (at 44 percent) do nothing about it. Here at PROPPR HQ we are pretty sure those stats would be reflected across most countries. So, let’s get into the conversation and talk ‘crap’!

According to the Bristol Stool Chart there are 7 types of stool:


Beautiful Bristol Stool Chart

Type 1: Separate hard lumps (hard to pass)

Type 2: Lumpy, hard, sausage-shaped

Type 3: Sausage-shaped with cracks on the surface

Type 4: Sausage-shaped or snake-like; smooth and soft

Type 5: Soft blobs with clear-cut edges (easy to pass)

Type 6: Fluffy pieces with ragged edges; mushy

Type 7: Entirely liquid, watery, no solid pieces

Now that you’ve undoubtedly checked out the chart, you’ve likely thought about what your last motion may have looked like?! If you’ve realised that yours isn’t sausage or snake like (as per types 3 and 4 which are ideal), then here are our top five tips for healthy, good looking, easy to move poos:

  1. Eat plenty of fiber: A combination of both soluble and insoluble fiber is an essential part of a diet that keeps your bowels healthy and regular. Try eating more fruit, vegetables, whole grains and nuts.
  2. Drink plenty of water: Water helps your digestive system function properly, so make sure you drink enough of it each day. Aim for at least 1 litre or 10 glasses per day (or more if you’re thirsty, sweating a lot or exercising more).
  3. Exercise regularly: Regular exercise, even a light 30-minute walk, helps ensure that your muscles are working properly and enables your body to better absorb nutrients from the food you eat. It also helps release endorphins — chemicals in the brain that boost mood and relieve pain — which boost energy levels while reducing stress levels as well. So, get moving! You’ll feel so much better when you do!
  4. Get enough sleep: A lack of sleep can lead to constipation — so make sure you get enough hours between your head hitting the pillow at night until you wake up in the morning! Aim to be in bed before 10pm and have seven or eight hours per night minimum; with 9–10 hours optimal (we know, we know; we all wish!!).
  5. Prop those feet: Get a PROPPR under your feet when you sit down on the toilet to release. By propping your feet on a PROPPR toilet foot stool you unkink the bottom section of your sigmoid colon. So instead of going into combat with the kink, gravity kicks in and your poops will slide on out.

Why do I need to use a toilet foot stool?

As supported by the science, the key reason for using a toilet foot stool is to simulate a squat position on the western style pedestal toilet. Ideally you want your knees as close to your chest as possible, to mimic a full squat, however at the very least, you need your knees to be higher than your hips. This postural position unkinks your colon, creating more of a slide — rather than pushing that s#!t uphill — so to speak.

We will admit that changing your position after years of sitting at 90 degrees on the toilet may come with a little discomfort to start with, as it changes the position of your bottom on the toilet seat. It can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks for your tushy to adjust. Butt (sorry, couldn’t resist!) once it’s re-trained, you’ll never go back. Your body will be thanking you for pooping in the PROPPR position with less pushy poop time and a full ‘evacuation’.

If you do experience any discomfort, we do encourage you to persevere. In time you’ll find sitting on the toilet with your feet on a toilet stool the comfortable norm. And when you’re without it you’ll be looking for the next best thing to prop those feet up and get things moving!

The right height to poop, aka the PROP Zone

We’ve had our stylish and award winning PROPPR toilet foot stools on the market for a few years now, initially developed at a height to work with Australian toilets - about 42–46cm (or 16.5–18 inches) tall, including the seat. To meet the needs of our US friends, where toilet heights tend to be a little lower at 14-16 inches (36-40cm), we launched our Acer Starter PROPPR in clear for comfort, and especially helpful for those just starting to PROP or for those taller in stature.

The PROPPR was designed so that the gap between the top of the lid and the top of our poop stool is at least 20cm (8 inches). We call this area the ‘PROP’ zone. The ‘right’ height for a toilet stool is therefore one that gets you into this PROP zone, and is really more of a minimum height. While you could sub in something from home, many of the options end up being too short, that is, they don’t get your knees above your hip line to replicate the squat position to poop. The important thing is to get into that PROP zone and get used to easier, healthier and quicker #2s!