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.
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
#

Hi,

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

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