Human stools, residual product of the body, can be a very useful element in medical and scientific research. In fact, the stools contain a lot of information on the health of our body, obtained only through their observation.

In 1998, two British doctors developed the Bristol Scale, a scientific classification based on the consistency of feces. The Bristol Scale helps detect any anomalies of the gastrointestinal tract.

Particular attention should be given in the case where the stools are presented as described in the extremities of the scale. Hard lumps separated or united in the form of a sausage suggest a constipation. Stools in the form of soft flakes and pastes or liquids indicate ongoing inflammation. The color is equally important. The doctor should be informed of the presence of blood in the stool or indications of it. The color in these cases tends to be red or black (indication of bleeding). Furthermore, the presence of mucus should be reported to your doctor.


Feca bonsistency and bowel movements

The fecal consistency depends greatly on the bowel movement, or the time interval between the time we eat and the time the first residue is ready to be expelled by defecation.

As explained by Professor Silvio Danese, Director of the Center for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases at Humanitas. “The so-called bowel movement varies a lot from person to person, so there is no general rule”.

The longer it takes someone to eliminate the stool, the more it will become dehydrated and hard. “To speed up the process, there are two key ingredients, fruits and vegetable fibers. These promote bowel movement, and water (75% of feces consist of water in the beginning), which inflates to soften them,” explains the Prof. Danese.


Intestinal bacteria

The research mainly focuses on the study of a bacteria present in the intestines, the so-called microbiome.

It is becoming clear that these microorganisms play a role in many aspects of health. It’s not only true about diseases with an obvious link between the gut and digestion, such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, obesity and diabetes. Surprisingly, it is true even in some diseases with no apparent connection, such as allergies, cancer, autism or rheumatoid arthritis. Just as we do blood tests nowadays, it is likely that someday we will test for intestinal bacteria. For now, however, the information that can be obtained from this type of test are not of much practical use, concludes Prof. Danese.