A) Consistency: Normal consistency – well formed.
|Abnormal Consistency||Expected Reasons|
|Pale, bulky, frothy||Poor fat digestion.|
|Flattened and ribbon like||Obstruction in the lumen of the bowel.|
|Semisolid||Digestive upset, mild diarrhea or after taking a laxative.|
|Watery||Bacterial infection or after taking a purgative.|
|Rice water stools||Cholera.|
B) Color: Normal color – light to dark brown (due to the presence of bile pigments)
|Abnormal Color||Possible Reasons|
|Black||Bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract, or iron administration in a deficiency like anemia.|
|Bright red||Bleeding piles, bleeding at the lower level of the gastrointestinal tract or contamination with menstrual blood.|
|Fresh blood, mucous clay colored||Amoebic dysentery, jaundice or obstruction to the flow of bile to the intestine.|
|White||After barium meal given for X–rays.|
- Round worms.
- Pin worms.
- Whip worms.
- Hook worms.
- Tape worms.
Normal stools are slightly acidic, slightly alkaline or neutral. The pH values range from 5.8 to 7.5.
- Strongly acidic stool (pH below 5.5) indicates an excess of carbohydrates in the diet. It is non–pathologic. But, if fermentation is present, it may be due to lactose intolerance. Then, it is pathologic.
- Strongly alkaline stool (pH above 7.5) indicates an excess of protein in the diet. It is non–pathologic.
- Occult blood: Generally it is not present. If there, it indicates either infection or some disorder of the digestive system.
- Reducing substances: They are generally found in stools of infants suffering from diarrhea.