Bowel cancer warning: Should your poo soft or hard? The ‘ideal’ stool consistency revealed

Bowel cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in the UK, said the NHS.

Most people diagnosed with bowel cancer are over 60 years old, and it describes any cancer that begins in the large bowel.

Common bowel cancer symptoms include persistently finding blood in your stool, a sudden change to your bowel habit, or having a never-ending stomach pain.

But, you could also reveal your chances of bowel cancer by analysing the texture of your bowel movements.

Softer, more loose stools could be a warning sign of bowel cancer if you’re used to a slightly firmer stool.

Any change to your toilet habits should be checked by a doctor, whether it’s looser stools or simply going more often.

Having a mushy poo, with ragged edges, could be a sign of inflammation, revealed Trevor Lockett, of The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.


But, on the other end of the spectrum, separate hard lumps of poo is a sign of serious constipation.

“As a rule, softer but not watery stool forms are best,” Lockett wrote on The Conversation.

“Ideally, stools should be easy to pass without straining and without any intense sense of urgency.

“Any change of bowel habit that leads to the sustained production of drier stools and a sense of incomplete emptying – or watery stools and a feeling of urgency – should be discussed with your doctor.”

Finding blood in your stool could be a warning sign of bowel cancer, added the NHS.

Look out for dark red-coloured stools. Blood from higher up in the bowel goes dark, and can make the stools look like tar.

This type of bleeding is linked to bowel cancer, and you should speak to a doctor straight away.

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A healthy stool, however, should look like a smooth, soft sausage, or a sausage with cracks on the surface.

The exact cause of bowel cancer isn’t entirely known, according to the NHS.

But, you could be at higher risk of the condition if you are overweight, or eat a lot of processed meat, it’s been claimed.

There are two types of bowel cancer screening for adults in England, offered on the NHS.

A faecal occult blood test requires a home-stool testing kit, while a bowel scope screening involves using a thin instrument to look inside the bowel.

Speak to a GP if you’re worried about the signs and symptoms of bowel cancer.

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