Many parents are disturbed, confused and even frightened by changes in children’s stool texture. Below is a Caribbean modification of the Bristol Stool Form Chart which enables parents to describe and discuss the little ones “productions” with better understanding from the health care professionals. Types 1-2 are TOO DRY, usually due to staying in the colon for an extended period. Types 5-6 still contain a lot of the fluid from the digestive process and are TOO WET. BSF types 3-4 are ideal stool consistency.
Occasional fluctuation in consistency may occur due to change in diet. High fibre foods usually result in bulky soft to watery stools. Some fruits (eg. prunes) and other foods contain sugars /sugar alcohol such as sucralose, sorbitol and lactulose which pull fluid into the intestinal lumen and result is soft – loose stools.
Any illness associated with a fever may result in increased fluid loss (sweat/ mouth breathing) and decreased fluid intact (with loss of appetite) This is a common cause of acutely dry, hard and painful stools. Foods like RICE; APPLE SAUCE and WHITE FLOUR promote hard dry stools. WHITE FLOUR SNACKS include: white bread, cakes, biscuits, crackers, dumplings and “cheese snacks” (such as Big Foot, Doritos, Cheese Trix etc)
Of course, a real picture is worth a thousand words, and many pictures are not for the faint of heart. Would you like to upload your pictures anonymously for help classifying what you are seeing at home?
For children under 7 years, it is good for parents to observe the stools consistency, frequency and colour. We will continue to address these issues in this blog. Please post or email your specific questions.