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Hello all,Back again, just curious this time. Usually what happens is I will have a fairly normal sausage-shaped stool, but usually I don't feel empty after that. What follows is a lot of straining, and spasming in the lower abdomen. The result of that is almost always a bunch of twisted pieces, or ribbon shaped stool--sometimes I can get a lot of it out, but it's almost always shaped like that.I am 28 years old, I've had these ribbon-like stools following a normal shaped stool for 2 or even 3 years straight now. Is this suggestive of some kind of growth, polyp, fistula, or something like that? Or is it most likely from IBS or "spastic colon" ?Would love to hear back from anyone (hopefully Kathleen as well),Bill Z
 

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It is IBS (and things that happen to totally healthy people when their stools are a bit soft, like if they ate too much fruit). A recent paper looked for what data there was for this idea that one cause (or the only possible cause) of funny shapes of stools is tumors, growths, etc.There is zero data that tumors, etc. change stool shape. Seems logical, and some guy in the 1800's thought it sounded logical and everyone has repeated that over and over until we believe it is true.Again, he had ZERO data for this, it was a bit of logical speculation, not cold hard fact.All data we do have indicates that when stool isn't quite firm enough to hold it's shape, it can be squished and come out looking thin, squished, etc.
 

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I don't think it's true that any defecation abnormality is IBS. You didn't mention diarrhea, constipation or painful cramps throughout the abdomen. IBS has some pretty specific criteria listed here.Since your BM gets off to a good start, it sounds like some problem with the rectum or anus, and I have never heard of IBS being described as solely in those regions. There could be a bump in the rectum positioned such that after one stool, the rest has to squeeze through. Or it could be muscular or nerve. Of course, it would be best to ask a doctor, they can do a finger rectal exam. Let us know what he/she says, I know I'm curious.
 

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You do not need to have either watery diarrhea or rabbit pellet constipation and everything in between is NOT IBS.IBS requires a change in stool consistency or frequency, not some specific consistency or the extremes of consistency and frequency changes. Usually IBS is closer to normal than some of the "not IBS" things.The information from a recent paper in a medical journal says funny shape is from consistency, NOT a tumor or growth in the rectum or colon. The idea the only thing that malforms stool is a tumor is a medical myth that is often repeated, but has no data to support it. It seems logical, but it doesn't not seem to have any truth to it.All the straining and spasming would count as "pain or discomfort" in my book but maybe I'm just crazy. :)That being said, if he never saw a doctor he should, but so far sounds like all the other IBSers around here more than anything else.
 
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