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The British Poo Survey revealed a third of Brits don't know what a 'normal poo' looks like and a quarter pass stools that are not 'medically healthy'.  

The survey asked 2,000 adults to identify their most common poo shapes using the Bristol Stool Chart for guidance. Type 4 is a healthy poo, and type one and two indicate constipation. Type 7 - watery stool - can indicate diarrhoea but could also indicate constipation in children as it could be 'overflow' poo that seeps around a blockage of the bowel. 

Bristol Stool Chart

The survey was conducted by ostomy care specialist Coloplast. Debra Gordon, head of education at Coloplast, said: "Our bowels play a vital role in maintaining our general health, so it’s concerning that most Brits have a very limited understanding of what healthy bowel function is. 

"For instance, constipation is a common problem but the condition is often dismissed, or even laughed off, but if left untreated can lead to more serious health problems.

"We hope this study gets people thinking about their bowel health and gives them a better understanding of whether their stool type and pattern is healthy. 

"For some, it might be that a simple lifestyle change is needed – but for others, the simple two-second stool self-assessment could be life changing.

"If people have any concerns about their bowel health, they need not to be afraid to speak up. 

"If you are worried, we would always recommend booking an appointment with a GP so you can find the right solution for you."

The survey follows Coloplast’s Cost of Constipation report which revealed one in five people are too embarrassed to talk to their GP about issues related to constipation.

Sharron Gibson, ERIC's Helpline Coordinator, said: "It is worrying that so many adults don't know what constitutes a healthy poo. If we don't understand our own bowel habits, how can we understand our children's habits and recognise when there might be a problem?

"I can't stress enough how important it is to keep an eye on your own bowel health, and your children's, so you can spot the signs of a problem developing and intervene at the earliest possible stage.

"If you think your child might have an issue with their bowel like constipation or soiling, please read ERIC's information about constipation and if you need help, please get in touch with the ERIC helpline on 0845 370 8008 or by emailing [email protected]."

Take a look at our pages about children's bowel problems for information about constipation in children and teenagers, including spotting the signs of a problem and seeking treatment.