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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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What causes ribbon-like stool?

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Dr. Panagiotis Zografakis

Internal Medicine Specialist

Practicing since :1999

Answered : 3594 Questions

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Posted on Fri, 16 Oct 2015 in General Health
Question: I have been having a change in bowel movements for about two weeks. The same thing happened about a year ago, but only for a few days. I seemed to pass some sort of "sludge", and then the symptoms went away. I increased my fiber intake and for the past year have been more regular than I have in my entire life. (Who knew fiber could do so much!!) I am only concerned this time because the duration . I saw this symptom which seems consistent with what I am experiencing...Changes in the consistency, volume or appearance of your bowel movements, such as repeatedly passing narrow, ribbon-like stools or loose, watery stools
doctor
Answered by Dr. Panagiotis Zografakis 28 minutes later
Brief Answer:
has to be clarified

Detailed Answer:
Hello,

the cause of your condition has to be clarified. It could be an 'innocent' cause like irritable bowel syndrome, usually associated with psychological stress, but it could also be a serious diagnosis like cancer. Since you've had the same symptoms in the past the first diagnosis sounds more likely but nobody can exclude the latter.

You haven't mentioned your family and personal history. Did you have any bowel problems in the past? What about your family members? Any tumor at a young age (lower than 40) ?

If the symptoms persist you'd better have it checked. A colonoscopy would be the best test to exclude serious causes. Checking the stool for hemoglobin is another useful test, but it can't substitute the colonoscopy.

I hope you find my answer helpful!
You can contact me again, if you'd like any clarification or further information.

Kind Regards!
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Panagiotis Zografakis 33 minutes later
family history is negative for tumors prior to age 40. I am in good health, never had bowel problems in the past. Using the high fiber diet has just provided more volume in the stools, and more consistency. do you think taking a laxative or something like that would help??
doctor
Answered by Dr. Panagiotis Zografakis 17 minutes later
Brief Answer:
I doubt that

Detailed Answer:
You've mentioned that you had loose stool. Laxatives are not supposed to help in this case. If you had rock-hard stool, there would be some point in using laxatives. This kind of symptoms are usually caused by the irritable bowel syndrome. A sensation of incomplete defecation is common.

If the symptoms persist, I would suggest a colonoscopy.

Kind Regards!
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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