Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The Bristol Stool Scale

Critics of science always point to the A-bomb, weaponized anthrax, and silicone boobies as evidence that science is a blight on mankind. But they forget to count the counterexamples, the things that science has given us that immeasurably enrich our lives.

For example, the Bristol Stool Scale, which I reproduce here for convenient reference (stolen from Wikipedia).


The Bristol Stool Scale or Bristol Stool Chart is a medical aid designed to classify the faeces form into seven groups. It was developed by Heaton and Lewis at the University of Bristol and was first published in the journal Scand J Gastroenterol in 1997. Because the form of the stool depends on the time it spends in the colon, there is a correlation between the colonic transit time and the stool type.

The seven types of stool are:

* Type 1: Separate hard lumps, like nuts (hard to pass)
* Type 2: Sausage-shaped, but lumpy
* Type 3: Like a sausage but with cracks on its surface
* Type 4: Like a sausage or snake, smooth and soft
* Type 5: Soft blobs with clear cut edges (passed easily)
* Type 6: Fluffy pieces with ragged edges, a mushy stool
* Type 7: Watery, no solid pieces (entirely liquid)

Types 1 and 2 indicate constipation, with 3 and 4 being the "ideal stools" especially the latter, as they are the easiest to pass. 5-7 being further tending towards diarrhoea.

Thanks to Mike Taylor for the tip.



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