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Vacation Constipation

The Poop Chart

By October 24, 2008 4 Comments

In case you’re not so keen on dissecting your real-life poo, here’s a convenient virtual chart. Why would you possibly need to know what your poop looks like?! Read on…


To rate your poop on the Poop Chart, first consider a typical bowel movement. ‘Typical’ does not mean post-Thanksgiving dinner poops (but by all means, go ahead and examine that one, as it will probably contain all sorts of fun foliage and cornucopia).

Assess the poop that occurs at the same time on most days of the week. THAT is your typical poo. Now, what does it look like on the chart? If you have no idea, are embarrassed or just plain terrified of peering at your poops, then a good question to ask yourself is: “why am I so afraid of myself?” Just kidding. Ask yourself: “What does it feel like when I pass my bowels?” Knowing what your “typical poop” is will help you assess how far off you are during vacation.

For example, on a regular basis, my typical poops look like Type 3-4. On vacation, I’m lucky if I get Type 1’s…

And now, deciphering the chart.

Type 1: “Doodie Dots” (aka, “pellet poop”) is a phrase invented by my mother and aunt. Although young and restless when they coined it, the girls still have fun in their 50s sharing the size, color, shape and smell of their doodies. No comment. This type of movement is hard to pass because the dots are very dry. This is because there is little water in Type 1s, and the dots can be as few as one to two. They may occur at various points throughout the day. See diet suggestions.

Health-o-meter: Unhealthy poopgut; infrequent bowel movement; irregular.

Smell-o-meter: PHEH! PEE-YEW!

Type 2: The “Hearty Sausage” is deceiving in that its heartiness doesn’t mean healthiness. Sometimes, a sausage can be tough to evacuate. As a result, you may find some blood on your t-paper. Not to worry, your anus will heal in no time. Plus, the “Hearty Sausage” means you’ve lightened your load, albeit with more exertion than humanly possible. See diet suggestions.

Health-o-meter: Still a poopgut; infrequent. If you are giving labor to Mr. Sausage everyday, you’re probably seeking advice from Again, kidding. That website is not real, but I bet you clicked on it, didn’t you!

Smell-o-meter: Sausages do have the tendency to smell horrid. This is because they fester in the colon for days. Since there is little water in Type 2 poops, the odor-potency of your sausages can be high. Note to yourself, keep the floral bathroom spray in stock.

Type 3: “Lincoln Logs” are getting more common nowadays. People are eating more fiber, getting adequate fluids and doing exercise on a daily basis. The problem with a Lincoln Log is that it may be tough to pass due to its large size. If you’re eating grains, veggies, and fruits, it’s easy to come by one of these toilet-pounders. This is because those foods are bulk-forming and expand your colon. Just beware of the pa-dunk splash.

Health-o-meter: Frequent (one time per day) and adequate fiber (25-40g fiber each day).

Smell-o-meter: Depends on what you’ve eaten, but usually, “Lincoln Logs” won’t have the rotten stench that occurs in types 1 and 2. If your logs smell, then check your diet for any over-consumption of certain dairy products, beans or products with “added fiber.”

Type 4: “Smooth Snake.” The name says it all. You are a smooth-fecal operator. Your poopies are easy to pass, they happen at least one time per day, and they rarely even smell like poop! (Well, let’s just say the odor tends to be on the subtler end as compared to a tiny stinkball doodie dot). Your wipes don’t waste much TP, either. Even more incentive to eat a diet rich in whole foods and fiber—save money on toilet paper!

Health-o-meter: Frequent (normal transit time through the GI tract ranges from 18-48 hours. Everyone’s different and thus it can take varying amounts of time). Your fiber is adequate at 25-40g fiber each day.

Smell-o-meter: Neutral, aka, the smell of micro-waved veggies.

Type 5: “Chicken Nuggets,” look and smell like chicken nuggets. They’re probably just as chewy, too… But hopefully you’ll never know 😉 They are certainly NOT your cleanest of wipes, so be sure to have at least half a roll of toilet paper and lord help you if you’re busy wiping your bottom in a crowded public bathroom. If you’re making chicken nuggets everyday, take a look at what you’re popping into your mouth. If it’s bite-sized, comes from a fun little box, and smells like corned-beef or a derivative thereof, you may find that your poops come in various shapes, too.

Health-o-meter: Frequent; fiber may be adequate, but you may not be getting enough of the bulk-forming, soluble types that come from oatmeal, apples and bran. Soluble fibers are what give you the nice form-fitting-to-your-colon doodie shape, as that in “Smooth Snake.”

Smell-o-meter: These can get a little smelly—it’s with “Chicken Nuggets” that you will often smell many biproducts of colonic bacterial action from the sulfur organic compounds, skatole, mercaptans and indole.

Type 6: “Mish-Mash,” is not dissimilar to a 3D version of your kid brother’s brown finger paintings… And sometimes, it can even look a little Jackson Pollack with bits of random corn and smatterings of black sesame seeds. An encounter with “Mish-Mash” can be quite memorable. Perhaps it happened before a big track race or after a night out in K-town eating spicy Kimchi. Regardless, one would hope “Mish-Mashes” are rare for your pooping-lifestyle. This is because you are expelling too much water with your poops and you may not be absorbing all of the nutrients, vitamins and minerals important to keeping your body healthy.

Health-o-meter: Something’s up with your colon and it’s trying to tell you that whatever you’re doing, you’re doing it WRONG! Pooping is supposed to have water in it for proper evacuation; however, it cannot be too soft since it may be a sign that the body is not digesting and absorbing food appropriately. Your small and large intestines have a lot of work to do: they need to absorb the important nutrients, vitamins and minerals from the foods you’re eating, and in addition, they have to encapsulate the fats, inorganic salts, live/dead bacteria and dead intestinal cells (villi that line our intestines). If there is too much “Mish” to your “Mash,” you may not be absorbing everything your body needs.

Smell-o-meter: Odoriferous. Provide face-masks for both you and innocent bystanders.

Type 7: “The Runs,” is slap-your-thigh hysterical when it isn’t happening to YOU. When it is, you call it diarrhea and you’re not smiling. Your colon is doing it’s best to rid itself of a harmful bacteria, so let the faucet run its course. If you try to stop the diarrhea with meds and do so without understanding its cause, you are trapping the harmful bacteria inside of your colon. Not good. The body is ejecting the thing and you want it to do its job! If you are not suffering from a bacterial cause, then you could be dealing with a serious GI disorder, such as Celiac, Crohn’s or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). On the other hand, if you are self-inducing diarrhea by taking laxatives, osmotic agents or stool softeners, make sure this is for a good reason and under the care of a doctor. LAXATIVE WARNING: Long-term laxative use can damage nerve cells in the colon and can interfere with the colon’s ability to contract. This leads to chronic constipation and laxative dependence.

Health-o-meter: Unhealthy; if this is occurring on a regular basis, seek medical advice.

Smell-o-meter: Do NOT go in there. WHEW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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