Bristol Stool Chart
The Bristol Stool Chart was developed at the University of Bristol as a tool to help determine bowel health. It is a good reference to determine normal stools vs constipation or diarrhea.
Use the chart as a reference only. Note whether there are any other signs of constipation or diarrhea. In combination with other symptoms, this chart can help you determine if intervention is necessary.
Again, this is only a tool. It is well used by the medical community but it is only a tool, to be used in combination with a physical assessment and a symptom assessment.
It may, however, help you convince your elderly loved one that even if they are having bowel movements only 3 times a week, they may not be truly "constipated".
Most physicians are familiar with this assessment tool and can help you interpret the data and any interventions that need to be done.
Types 1 and 2 are most often associated with constipation. "Normal" includes types 3 and 4, while types 5 through 7 tend to indicate diarrhea.
Elderly people can often become bowel fixated and the overuse, and abuse, of laxatives has a long term negative impact on the body.
Use laxatives only when absolutely necessary and never use daily unless ordered by a physician.
Using this chart can aid in the understanding of actual constipation and not just infrequent bowel movements.
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