When dry and covered with mucous, it indicates constipation and colitis. When of rank odor (putrid-smelling), it means overeating of animal proteids. When sulphureted in odor, it may be due to sulphur or sulphate of magnesia taken to relieve sluggish bowels.

The consistency may be hard, soft, liquid, mucoid, or bloody. If watery and mucoid, it indicates diarrhea and catarrhal inflammation of the mucous membrane.

When the stools are small, and largely mucous, with much bearing-down pain, the disease is probably flux or dysentery.

When the stools are of peculiar form--small and round, ribbon-like or pencil-like--there may be stricture.

Dark color may be from food or drugs; green, from spinach or other vegetables; or, in infants on milk, it means acidity and indigestion from overfeeding. Green, mucoid stools, studded with white curds, indicate overfeeding. and unless a fast is given, followed with a cutting-down in quantity, the child may be very sick.

Light color, if not from an exclusive milk diet, means lack of bile secretion and sluggish liver.

Blood in the stools may be from piles, ulcer, or cancer. When red, it indicates that it comes from the lower bowels. A local examination should discover whether the bleeding is of the nature of piles or local fissure, ulcer or polypus.

Black blood from the bowels must be considered in connection with other symptoms. Give the patient the benefit of the doubt as to the disease being malignant.

Bismuth may color the stools dark for some time after its administration has ceased.

Typhoid discharge, when the patient is fed, is yellowish and nauseous in odor.

Whitish stools indicate fat; fatty stools indicate that the pancreatic juice is unable to emulsify, or that the juices are cut off.

Sand or gravel in stools indicates that stones in the gall bladder have disintegrated and passed out--a natural form of elimination.