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When they say Pencil Thin Stools?


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#1 stephen37

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Posted 27 August 2010 - 07:16 PM

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When some describe narrow stools as pencil thin , do they literally mean the stool is shaped as small as a pencil?I have been dealing with Narrower then normal stools for about 2 1/2 months. Never as smal as a pencil, probably the smallest has been cigarish size, occasional D, about once every 7 -10 days, but for the most part the stool is long and formed just narrower then normal, about the diameter of a quarter or a little bigger. I have been regular, but just concerned that I haven't had not 1 of those pretty large in diameter I used to think was normal for 2 1/2 months.Is this normal? They are definitely easier to pass as I haven't suffered from a reoccuring fissure issue that use to surface passing the large stools.Can your pattern change to where your stools are just narrower for a consistent period of time? It has just worried me that I haven't had a large stool. Could constipation have caused the larger stool before. What os considered normal for stool size?


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#2 Kathleen M.

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Posted 27 August 2010 - 08:49 PM

Most of the "pencil thin" stuff is more medical myth than anything really dangerous.All stool that tends to the soft side (diarrhea end) of the scale of stool consistencies has a tendency to be a lot thinner than a stool that is smack dab in the middle of normal for stool consistency.It is like clay, the softer it is the more it gets squished and the less able it is to maintain width as it is squeezed alongThe "pencil thin" must mean cancer was discussed in a recent review paper and it started as an idea in the mid 1800's. It is logical, but the guy who "discovered" it didn't do it with data and research but because it sounds logical.So logical people repeat it, even in text books, without checking to see how often (if at all) any tumor has ever turned normal consistency stool into pencil thin stool all by itself.When they say pencil thin, they mean very thin. Stool that is even in the softer end of the normal range will tend to be a tad thinner than a harder stool, and you don't want wide hard stools if you are prone to fissures anyway.I'm not sure if I've seen a perfect width your stool should be data, just that softer stools tend to be thinner (and the softer/looser they are the thinner they are) than harder stools, until the stool dries out so much it starts loosing significant volume then you get to the "rabbit pellet" kind of stool that is in small round pieces.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bristol_Stool_Scale kind of shows relative widths, don't know if that will help.
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#3 stephen37

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Posted 03 September 2010 - 12:03 PM

So it is possible for your stool size to get smaller(again it's not pencil thin, is long and formed, just not as large as the stools used to be) for a length of time without it being cancer or an obstruction?Has anyone had there stool size get narrower for 6 months or longer without it being one of those?I'm just curious as it seems that most GI's from what I'm told will automatically just want to do a Colonoscopy, and at 37 don't want to do it unless I really need too.

#4 Kathleen M.

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Posted 03 September 2010 - 12:42 PM

When I had loose stools for nearly a year on end they were all thinner than a fully formed normal consistency stool.Thickness is about stool consistency, not obstructions or lack of them.There isn't an automatic about colonoscopy doing and a lot of doctors will not do them without cause because all doing a lot of invasive tests on IBS patients has been proven to do is make the IBS worse than before the testing (from all the stress and strain of doing all the tests and stuff).If you have bloody diarrhea for months on end they would do the colonoscopy, but that isn't the same as somewhat thin stools because they are a bit soft
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#5 Magnet

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Posted 03 September 2010 - 07:46 PM

When I had loose stools for nearly a year on end they were all thinner than a fully formed normal consistency stool.Thickness is about stool consistency, not obstructions or lack of them.There isn't an automatic about colonoscopy doing and a lot of doctors will not do them without cause because all doing a lot of invasive tests on IBS patients has been proven to do is make the IBS worse than before the testing (from all the stress and strain of doing all the tests and stuff).If you have bloody diarrhea for months on end they would do the colonoscopy, but that isn't the same as somewhat thin stools because they are a bit soft

Kathleen,I have had pencil stools for years. Doctor keeps prescribing fiber which makes it worse. I have incomplete evacuation. Go little bit, many times, in 1 hour period. It is a chore. And my colon always feels irritable. I have been diagnosed with a pouch inside that traps fecal matter. But not bad enough for surgery. Do not have the pain others have expressed. Doctor says just live with it. Which is frustrating. Have seen doctors for years. IBS-C is most of the time. When I eat I have slow transition through my system.

#6 Jackmat

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Posted 03 September 2010 - 08:14 PM

Stephen, try taking two teaspoons of psyllium husks with 2 glasses of water in the morning, and see if that bulks up your stools.I've had 3 colonoscopies done in my lifetime. Its a piece of cake and nothing to get anxious about. Jackmat
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