While finishing your business in the bathroom, you might look at your stool just to make sure everything is okay. While observing stool if you notice that your stool is pencil-thin over a length of time, it might be a sign of a health condition that could be a cause for concern. Here are 4 possible explanations for your thin stools.
While everyone might struggle with staying regular from time to time, it becomes constipation when your bowel movements drop to less than three times a week. While thin stools are not always a sign of constipation, they can be if your stools do not always look that way. Constipation usually occurs due to a lack of fiber and exercise. Other signs that it might be constipation is if your poop becomes hard to pass, hard and dry.
Having thin stools for a period of time is nothing to worry about, though it might require some lifestyle changes. However if looks this way all the time and begins to narrow over time, you should let your doctor know.
It used to be that doctors believed that pencil-thin stools were a sign of colorectal cancer, indicating that some sort of growth was creating a blockage, narrowing the space for stool to pass through.
However, years of research have concluded that stools narrowing over time is usually the sign of a far less serious medical condition.
That being said if your stool narrowing coincides with symptoms such as:
- Blood in your stool
- Diarrhea, incontinence, constipation
- Belly pain or bloating
- Unexpected weight loss
It is advised that you consult a medical professional.
While rare, Thin stools could also be a sign of anal cancer. Anal cancer forms in your anus or the outer part of your rectum. Anal cancer is usually caused by infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV)
If anal cancer is causing your thin stools it might also come with symptoms such as:
- Anal pain, bleeding, and itching of the rectum
- Strange rectal discharge
- Lumps felt around the anus
- Swollen lymph nodes around the anus
If you believe you have these symptoms, consult a medical professional for more information.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Another common cause of thin stools is Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Those who suffer from IBS suffer from stools that change in shape and texture, suffer from diarrhea, as well as:
- Gas, bloating, constipation
- Strong urge to go, mucus in your poop
- Belly cramps
To manage IBS, doctors recommend more fiber in the diet, and to manage your stress levels.
If you or a loved one suffer from thin stools and any of the other symptoms listed above and would like more information, consult a medical professional right away.