What's with the little poops?
June 5, 2009 7:08 AM   Subscribe

Little poops? A rather gross question.

In the last year, I've noticed I no longer take a one-or-two clump dump, but that I'm pooping out many small, hard stools. They're a little smaller than the size of cherry tomatoes (but normal poop color). These little poops are often difficult to pass, and I usually have to 'help things along' (basically, I do what's described in this question: http://ask.metafilter.com/49893/Helping-things-along-Okay-or-No-Way) by inserting a clean finger into my vagina and pressing against the back wall of the vagina to 'push' the poops down and out.

So, are these tough little poos normal? Is it something in my diet (or not in my diet)? Might this 25 year old female have a colonoscopy in store? Anyone have any similar experience and find out what it was and how to correct it, if necessary?

Throwaway email: littlepoopsmith@gmail.com
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (21 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
young poopsmith, have you tried a fiber supplement? no, that is not normal, if it's happening all the time.
posted by liketitanic at 7:11 AM on June 5, 2009

That's a sign of constipation.
posted by nitsuj at 7:14 AM on June 5, 2009

I would try a few things before I scheduled an appointment. It very well could be your diet.

For one week do this and see what happens:

Breakfast: oatmeal or raisin bran with milk, fresh fruit

Lunch: piece of fresh fruit, salad with lots of veggies, cup of high fiber soup (black bean, lentil, etc.)

Snack: yogurt with fresh fruit

Dinner: repeat lunch

Drink enough fluids and increase your fiber. It sounds like you need more bulk. You may not be eating enough and your food probably doesn't have enough fiber.
posted by Fairchild at 7:16 AM on June 5, 2009

I didn't mean to omit lean meats from above suggested menu. Include them if you eat meat.
posted by Fairchild at 7:17 AM on June 5, 2009

You're constipated.

Bristol Stool Chart
posted by dunkadunc at 7:19 AM on June 5, 2009

Eat more fiber, fresh fruits, beans, rice, whole wheat foods, prune juice if needed. Avoid cheese and stuff that will bind you up.
posted by Mastercheddaar at 7:33 AM on June 5, 2009

Yes, n-thing the constipation. But if I ate the diet fairchild suggests, I would be constipated. Everyone is different. For me, I eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies and NO grains if I am constipated. I eat meat and eggs too. Grains plug me up like crazy! Once I get things moving along I can eat them again, but I have to be careful. Beans work, but give me gas. So do crucifierous veggies. A bowl of berries works the best and doesn't irritate my gut.

One thing that works for nearly everyone though is probiotics. Get a good probiotic supplement or some of that activia yogurt from the store.

Your goal should be to get your lazy ass bacteria to do its job, not to scour your intestines with fiber supplements. Inuit who eat ONLY meat and no fiber have regular bowel movements.

I was told for years that I had iBS and needed metamucil and low-fat high-whole grain diet. I still had problems, with alternating constipation, gas, and diarrhea. FInally, I had a doctor that told me that it certainly wouldn't hurt to ditch the cereal and start eating things like avocados, berries, coconut, big salads. He also suggested an omega-3 supplement. I did and I no longer have IBS problems unless I eat crap things like hot dogs and potato chips. Your gut is almost like a second brain and needs fats to function properly.

You should experiment and find what works for you. Potential gut irritants include, but are not limited to:
- gluten
- lactose
- fructose
- caffeine
These can keep your gut bacteria from performing their job.

A typical day for me is:
Probiotic lactose-free yogurt and big berry smoothie for breakfast, maybe some nice warm oatmeal if it is cold outside
Veggie soup and big huge salad with greens, avocado and carrots for lunch
Coconut-crusted salmon, sprouted buckwheat salad for dinner
Lots of tea during the day
posted by idle at 7:36 AM on June 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

Fiber, as already suggested. An over-the-counter stool softener might help, too.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:37 AM on June 5, 2009

I had the same thing change for me in my mid-twenties (just a few years ago), and it was when I started eating healthier. Oatmeal for breakfast every day, diet composed almost entirely of fruits and veggies and whole grains, smaller portions than during my high school and college years, lots of water... Despite following all the advice above to a T, that's when I started having rabbit poops. But on days when I overindulge, say by eating a big juicy hamburger, or a ridiculous amount of mashed potatoes, or a giant piece of cake, I'm back to one "normal" clump the next day. Have you cut way back on fat in your diet recently? Changed the amount of exercise you're getting?
posted by Inconceivable! at 7:38 AM on June 5, 2009

Seconding what everyone else has suggested -- you need more fiber and more water in your diet.
posted by puffin at 7:46 AM on June 5, 2009

Increase consumption of oatmeal, pumpkin and probiotics.
posted by flabdablet at 7:53 AM on June 5, 2009

What's Your Stool Telling You? (from Salon magazine).

I like the line about it entering the water like an Acapulco cliff diver.
posted by willmize at 7:56 AM on June 5, 2009

An increase in iron intake can also cause constipation. Have you recently started taking an iron supplement for being anemic?
posted by WeekendJen at 8:50 AM on June 5, 2009

I agree with everybody about more water and fiber but wanted to add that you should try to get them from your diet rather from supplements.
posted by sadtomato at 8:56 AM on June 5, 2009

take a fiber supplement, maybe while your at it, one with calcium and vitamin D, since more calcium is always a good idea, especially for people with vaginas.
posted by jrishel at 9:07 AM on June 5, 2009

Certain medications can cause constipation. If you're on any meds, check to see if that might be the case.
posted by jocelmeow at 10:12 AM on June 5, 2009

As Inconceivable! mentioned: If you eat very little fat, that can cause constipation. If you already have enough water and fiber, and if you normally avoid fat, try adding some back in.
posted by wryly at 10:13 AM on June 5, 2009

Try cutting out all dairy (including yogurt). That is what worked for a friend of mine who's main source of dairy was daily yogurt.
posted by Vaike at 11:52 AM on June 5, 2009

do you take paracetamol (acetaminophen) / or codiene based painkillers regularly? These do that.
posted by nunoidia at 11:56 AM on June 5, 2009

Eat a handful of nuts a day, and some form of oats - either muesli or porridge - for breakfast. Works like a dream for me.
posted by essexjan at 3:30 PM on June 5, 2009

Florastor: the Number One Probiotic Worldwide

Apples, bananas, peanuts, figs, dates, and oats are great things to keep in your daily diet for any number of reasons.
posted by aquafortis at 10:01 PM on June 5, 2009

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