I want harder poop
June 16, 2007 9:18 AM   Subscribe

Is there a pill or powder that has the opposite effect of a stool softener? I eat lots of fiber and I need something to negate its effects.

I'm on a diet that includes a lot of fiber. Fruits, veggies, oatmeal, etc. I feel great and I know the food I am eating is much healthier. The only problem is, I now have loose stools all the time. Is there a pill I can take to make make them into more of a hard....log? Squishy pooh requires too much cleanup and my buns are getting raw. Plus, I sometimes have trouble holding it in when I need to.

A pill or water-soluble powder would be great because there's no prep required and no extra calories. Any ideas?
posted by GardnerDB to Health & Fitness (25 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
i thought fiber was supposed to make your stool more solid, not loose

am i wrong about this?
posted by Salvatorparadise at 9:20 AM on June 16, 2007

Carbon tablets.
posted by Memo at 9:21 AM on June 16, 2007

I thought that's what Immodium did. Maybe I'm getting that backwards, though.
posted by DMan at 9:24 AM on June 16, 2007

Liquid calcium. Iron supplements. But your body will probably adjust soon.
posted by peep at 9:25 AM on June 16, 2007

That is what Immodium does, but it does it very very very well and you don't want to take it if you don't have to. Going a lot is better than not going for several days unless you're really ill and in danger of dehydrating.
posted by The Bellman at 9:29 AM on June 16, 2007

Response by poster: I would love to take a dump and have it squeeze of clean. This is gross, but sometimes I have to wipe for several minutes. I think if you eat a lot of fats then fiber will help your stools be more solid. But apparently too much fiber will do the opposite. I can't figure this out.
posted by GardnerDB at 9:32 AM on June 16, 2007 [1 favorite]

Bananas work on babies.
posted by monkeymadness at 9:36 AM on June 16, 2007

Seconding iron.
posted by benign at 9:50 AM on June 16, 2007

Maybe the problem is excess fiber. You need to gradually increase the amount of fiber in your diet in order for the body to get used to it. Check out this link 8658 Fecal Incontinence

posted by shr1n1 at 9:56 AM on June 16, 2007

(Bananas do help babies with diarrhea but are a fiber and usually a bowel-mover for adults.)
posted by girlhacker at 9:58 AM on June 16, 2007

thought fiber was supposed to make your stool more solid, not loose

am i wrong about this?


Loose stool is not necessarily a bad thing. It often comes with a healthy very high fiber diet. To counteract that eat rice, white rice, white bread etc. plus lean meat; they will give you stool like cement. Immodium works too, but it really is too powerful for anything other than a bad case of diarrhea, and it should not be taken long term, so for you Immodium is contraindicated.
posted by caddis at 10:13 AM on June 16, 2007

posted by bruce at 11:13 AM on June 16, 2007

Here is a table that might help with consistency (of answers, not poop).

I think you are talking about a 4 or a 5, and I think it is something you just learn to live with. Certain subtle changes in diet can definitely effect it.. I'm not sure exactly what the correlations are though..

Certain foods, like a big hunk of steak, will knock it down to a 2-3 for me.. I keep trying to think of it in terms of scientific measures, like glycemic index and fiber/protein/fat, but it never really makes enough sense. I'm tempted to say that it is the protein in the steak, but other kinds of protein don't seem to have the same effect - cheese has almost the same protein/fat/carb profile as steak.. Just guessing if it is hard/easy to digest seems more informative..

So, eat a few things that are harder to digest?!!? I'm really just stabbing in the dark here..
posted by Chuckles at 11:16 AM on June 16, 2007

I think more insoluble fiber in your diet will help firm things up. Fruits have a lot of soluble fiber, like pectin, that holds onto water.

BTW, kayopectate isn't kayopectate anymore( in the US, at least), it's basically the same thing as peptobismol, only in a different shade of pink)
posted by Good Brain at 12:03 PM on June 16, 2007

I second Good Brain's suggestion of more insoluble fibre. A friend recommended psyllium, which is often used to treat constipation, but also works to firm up stools. Make sure to drink LOTS of water with psyllium.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 1:00 PM on June 16, 2007

Yeah, what happened to kayopectate? I used to swear by it when I had diarrhea.
posted by treepour at 1:05 PM on June 16, 2007

Insoluble fibre thirded. Try more oatmeal or cereal.
posted by misha at 3:17 PM on June 16, 2007

Not exactly what you asked, but until your problem is solved these will make you like much easier. (Or any baby wipe will do).
posted by kimdog at 3:35 PM on June 16, 2007

often used to treat constipation, but also works to firm up stools

How can it do both? Is it magic?
posted by kirkaracha at 4:01 PM on June 16, 2007

magic fairy dust
posted by caddis at 4:27 PM on June 16, 2007

"often used to treat constipation, but also works to firm up stools"

How can it do
both? Is it magic?

kirkiracha: I know, it seems weird to me too. But from what I've read, psyllium turns into a gel-like substance when it's mixed with water. So it helps constipation by adding bulk and moisture to hard stools so they can move along the digestive tract more easily. But the same bulk and binding properties would also help hold loose stools together and make them more solid. So while gel is softer than a hard mass (constipation), it's also more solid than a liquid (diarrhea or watery stool). Helpful for everyone, yay!

Oh man, I never thought I'd be writing an analysis of poop on the internet. :-)
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 4:53 PM on June 16, 2007 [2 favorites]

"often used to treat constipation, but also works to firm up stools

How can it do both? Is it magic?

Fiber adds some bulk and some water to the stool. Constipated people need the water to soften the stool, people with diarrhea need the bulk to firm things up.

After a few months of eating fiber your poop should firm up some. Cut back on caffeine - it makes everything move faster. A slower trip thru the large intestine means more time for water to be reabsorbed, thus firmer poop. (Chuckles was right above, about hard to digest things leading to firmer stool.)

Iron will firm things up, but I don't like this idea, especially if you are a guy. There's recent research that iron supplementation increases risk of cardiac problems in men, so you'll notice that men's multivitamins pretty much never contain iron. It's also pretty easy to overdose on iron.

Pepto-bismol should work and it comes in tablets as well as the pink liquid. I'm also a huge fan of probiotics (acidophilus tablets that augment the good bacteria in your gut).
posted by selfmedicating at 4:56 PM on June 16, 2007

I find that at least temporarily one Tylenol No. 1 does the job. Then again, you can get them over the counter here.
posted by watsondog at 8:42 PM on June 16, 2007

Tylenol no 1 is tylenol with codeine here in the US. It's the codeine that's doing the trick. Immodium is actually a chemical cousin to codeine, so that's an over-the-counter way to get basically the same result. You don't even have to take the full dose of immodium - just half or a quarter might do what you need.
posted by selfmedicating at 5:18 AM on June 17, 2007

Last time this came up here: mudbutt.
posted by mendel at 9:00 PM on June 17, 2007

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