Human feces

Human feces (or faeces in British English) is the solid or semisolid remains of food that could not be digested or absorbed in the small intestine of humans, but has been further broken down by bacteria in the large intestine.[1][2] It also contains bacteria and a relatively small amount of metabolic waste products such as bacterially altered bilirubin, and the dead epithelial cells from the lining of the gut.[1] It is discharged through the anus during a process called defecation.

Human feces photographed in a toilet, shortly after defecation.

Human feces has similarities to the feces of other animals and varies significantly in appearance (i.e. size, color, texture), according to the state of the diet, digestive system and general health. Normally human feces is semisolid, with a mucus coating. Small pieces of harder, less moist feces can sometimes be seen impacted in the distal (final or lower) end. This is a normal occurrence when a prior bowel movement is incomplete, and feces is returned from the rectum to the large intestine, where water is further absorbed.

In the medical literature, the term "stool" is more commonly used than "feces".[3]

Human feces together with human urine are collectively referred to as human waste or human excreta. Containing human feces, and preventing spreading of pathogens from human feces via the fecal–oral route, are the main goals of sanitation.


Share this article:

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Human feces, and is written by contributors. Text is available under a CC BY-SA 4.0 International License; additional terms may apply. Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.