Q. Are changes in bowel habits and varying stool consistency pointing towards IBS?

Answered by
Dr. Ankur Jindal
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Jan 15, 2017 and last reviewed on: Sep 03, 2019

Hi doctor,

I am a 37 year old male. My only diagnosed health issues are mild hypertension and acid reflux. I take medicines for both. Over the past three months, I had been experiencing a change in bowel habits. It starts with normal stool, then a bout of constipation or hard stool and then loose or thin stool then normal again and it keeps changing. Sometimes, the abnormal stool would occur with abdominal discomfort and cramping. I had a normal colonoscopy about four years ago. I also recently had a normal KUB x-ray to check for any significant blockages.My gastroenterologist did not seem to be concerned with these symptoms and suggested a fiber supplement. I tried Benefiber (wheat dextrin) and that did not have much of an effect. About one week ago, I switched to Metamucil (psyllium) and within a few days of starting, I passed a large amount of stool. Since then, I have felt much better. There is no cramping and I have been passing stool about three to five times a day. 

The last piece of the puzzle, though, for me, is that the stool I have passed over the past week has been of varying size and consistency. Some stool looks normal and in between, there are thin, firm and unusual rubbery strands formed together. I am concerned about these unusual stools and I have attached a photo. Is what I am describing consistent with IBS? Or could this be a parasite? Should I be concerned about this more serious?

Dr. Ankur Jindal

Medical Gastroenterology


Welcome to icliniq.com.

  • It is a standard description of functional bowel syndrome, probably IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). But, there is no alarming symptoms are present like weight loss, lump or blood in stools.
  • Parasites will not cause these symptoms.
  • Continue taking psyllium husk as required and do not worry about stool consistency.
  • Take plenty of water, high fiber diet and small frequent meals.
  • Nothing appears dangerous, although if still bothering, then get a repeat colonoscopy. Try to reduce your weight and do physical exercise as tolerated.

For further information consult a medical gastroenterologist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/medical-gastroenterologist

Was this answer helpful?


Ask a QueryAsk a Query Consult by PhoneConsult by Phone Video ChatVideo Chat
Also Read Answers From:

Comprehensive Medical Second Opinion.Submit your Case

Related Questions & Answers

I feel like an insect is moving on my skin. Why?

Query: Hello doctor, Other than a psychiatric condition such as delusional parasitosis, are there any known real pathogens that can produce the sensation of loads of tiny insects residing and moving upon the skin that can spread or move throughout the body and causing intense itch? If so please provide n...  Read Full »

What are the specific ways to bring down the symptoms of IBS?

Query: Hi doctor, Please say about the specific ways to reduce the IBS symptoms.  Read Full »

Please suggest some ayurveda medicine for IBS.

Query: Hi doctor, I am getting diarrhea for five days in a month. Also, I always have loose stool. When I consulted my doctor I came to know that it is irritable bowel syndrome. I would like to get it cured through ayurveda medicine. Please suggest me a treatment.  Read Full »



Ask your health query to a doctor online?

Ask a Medical Gastroenterologist Now

* guaranteed answer within 4 hours.
Enter Your Health Query
You can upload files and images in the next step.



Disclaimer: All health Q&As published on this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice or treatment by a trained physician. Seek the advice from your physician or other qualified health-care providers with questions you may have regarding your symptoms and medical condition for a complete medical diagnosis. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this website.