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Can inadequate fibre and fluid lead to small stools?

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Dr. Michelle Gibson James

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2001

Answered : 16356 Questions

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Posted on Tue, 9 Oct 2018 in Digestion and Bowels
Question: When I go to the bathroom my stools are small button size?
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Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 1 hour later
Brief Answer:

Sometimes related to fluid and fibre intake

Detailed Answer:

Hi,

Small stools can sometimes indicate an inadequate amount of fluid or fiber.

There are also some medications that can affect bowel movements as well eg iron supplements, some blood pressure medications, anti-acids, antidepressants.


There are also some systemic diseases that can affect bowel movements and stool size eg diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), thyroid disease (low levels of thyroid hormone), inflammatory bowel disease

Treatment would involve- (1)increasing fluid intake to at least 8 glasses a day if this is allowed (persons with heart or kidney disease may not be allowed)

Alcohol and caffeine products do not count since they cause the body to lose excess fluids.

(2)increasing fibre intake with at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, whole grain products.

Some persons may need to add a fibre supplement such as Metamucil or Citrucel or Benefiber to make sure that they get enough fibre

(3)physical activity

Laxatives should never be used too often because they stop the bowel from working well on its own when used a lot.

Eventually, the use of too many laxatives can cause constipation.

If you suspect an underlying problem or already use enough fluid/ fibre, may need assessment by your doctor.

Examination and blood tests can be done to rule out some of the conditions mentioned eg thyroid disease, diabetes etc

Hope I have answered your query.

Take care

Regards,
Dr Michelle Gibson James, General & Family Physician
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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