Mixture in a Bowel Movements

This post is a response by a doctor to a question one of our community members asked.

Alice Asks:

Mixture in a bowel movement normal stool and a narrow stool. Nausea feel like incomplete stool. Pressure in the anus and sometimes gas. Many years diagnosed with acid reflux, IBS. What could it be?

Dr Nitesh’s reply:

Bowel habits vary from among population. While one sector of population pass stool just once a day other sector may pass multiple stools in a single day. Normal stools are easy to pass and have typical brown colour, although colour of stools can vary with type of food you eat. As per the studies, going more than three days without stools is considered abnormal. Changes in consistency of stool include abnormally hard or dry stool, mucus or fluid around stools or loose stools. Physician consultation must be sought if you do not have bowel movement for more than three days or if diarrhoea lasts more than one day.

Wide variety of causes can lead to changes in bowel movements. Acute and short lasting changes are usually as a result of infections and they respond to well to medications and other supportive measures. Recent use of antibiotic can also cause changes in bowel habits. You should let your doctor know about any recent medication intake or laxative use. Low potassium levels in your blood can also lead to sluggish peristaltic movements of your gut leading to constipation.

More chronic changes in bowel habits could be caused by Irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, thyroid abnormalities etc. Your doctor will take history regarding changes in bowel habits. Making a diagnosis may require examination of your stool sample and some blood tests. If these non-invasive tests are inconclusive then further management may require colonoscopy for examination of inner part of your colon and rectum, biopsy from inner lining of your colon may be taken for further evaluation. In colonoscopy doctor will look for any polyps, diverticula or ulcers. CT scan or X-ray of the abdomen may be warranted as per the need to confirm the diagnosis.

For a start you may be asked to make some changes in your diet like drinking more water and increasing dietary fibre content. Some life style changes that are known to normalise bowel habits include exercise and quickly responding to urge to go the bathroom, do not wait to pass stools.

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