Hard stools even though I have a great diet, any help?

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OK I've had dry or hard stools for so long I can't remember and I have spent so much time searching websites /forums for new answers with no specific answers I decided to post a thread here (sorry it is a bit long) in the hope of getting something more than the usual 'increase your fibre/ water' etc intake. So maybe 4 years or more ago my bowel function went from perfect and slowly changed till my stools became harder/drier until they caused much pushing and inevitable hemarrhoids. To be precice it's only the first part of the stool which acts like a plug and literally bungs you up. I first thought I had generic constipation and looked at my diet and fluids but Iv'e always had a great diet, mostly vegetarian and drunk a good volume of water.  I started to research the importance of probiotics and prebiotics and started to eat fermented foods and made my own sourdough, which is the best thing to have happened in this long and sorry saga! Although I continue to eat well this made no difference except for a brief respite. I tried cutting out gluten and lactose for 2 years while watching my wife eat cake and lattes at the coffee house. So I gave up when this made no difference and went to the doc who, long story short did a rectal exam' and said all seemed ok but sent me for sigmoidoscopy to be sure because I mentioned the dreaded word 'blood', but I know it was the result of straining as there was nothing in the stool itself but he advised to go to be sure and after one of the most painful experiences of my life - ('must have sensitive bowels' came the retort from the NHS Doc, that's for sure!). Anyhow put all that behind me it was all clear and I have now given up with conventional practices and I'm trying acupuncture (a joy after the sigmoidoscopy). So my question is, sorry for the rambling here it's taken so long to get to this point (over 5 years) all the advice about intake of more fluids and fibre is meaningless, does anyone have other similar experience or been prescribed something I haven't mentioned here - I've gone from 8 glasses a day to double that with no effect. I have tried a high fibre diet both soluble and insoluble. Ive tried milk-thistle to increase bile and lubrication, I've tried taking a spoon-full of olive oil in the morning, Ive tried linseed oil and seeds, Ive tried prunes, am I boring you!?  What's the point of a laxative that is a life sentence? Did I mention I take stool softeners - (Macrogol), which work but even though I've been told they are safe longterm - dependent for the rest of your life?? What has made this an obsession now is that I have searched the internet for years and can't find anyone else who has this problem or the few that have just get fobbed off with the usual and frustratingly predictable advise about more water and fibre.  Am I missing something here? I later realised regularity isn't an issue its water retention. I believe the large intestine absorbs water in the gut so it seems to be doing too good a job.  Really hope someone out there either knows of someone else or has themselves suffered in this way and has some real advice to give. Oh I recently had some acupuncture sessions too -  no effect so another expensive dead-end.

Anyone got any real advice or suggestions to give?Thanks for listening.

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7 Replies

  • Posted

    so,are you drnking more water now?
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    • Posted

      Yes, as i say i've explored different water intakes - what's weird is like my wife drinks half as much as I do if that and has no similar problems. Water alone is supposed to be the great softener right?

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  • Posted

    Water isn't the answer. It is something beyond that.

    Have you checked thyroid? Hypothyroidism and subclinical hypothyroidism can affect the gut and cause constipation.

    I don't believe one gets these kind of issues without dietary changes or fluid intake decrease unless there is something else underlying it.

    I have colonic inertia and gastroparesis, secondary to multiple chronic health problems. I have similar issues with evacuating my bowels. My mum calls it dry bowel! The stool is not soft or moist enough. It is like small rocks or pellets. (TMI) I take masses of movicol and fybogel in order to have a bowel movement. If I don't, I get an impaction as I would only go once every few weeks at the most. It doesn't matter what I eat or how much I drink, it literally has no impact at all other than increase or decrease of volume. So I seem to have a frequency issue (that's the inertia of the colon) and a stool dryness issue.

    Things to try if you have not -

    Magnesium

    High dose vitamin C

    Olive oil on a spoon drunk down (1 tsbp followed by a cup of hot tea worked for me, I can no longer do it due to the gastroparesis)

    Goats milk kefir - I am looking into this as it has a lot of amazing reviews for helping people with various issues. I think there is an issue with the gut perhaps. So far I did not do well on fermented foods, but do well on probiotics. It makes me nervous to retry kefir.

    Anyway, you are not alone and I am sorry you are suffering too!

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    • Posted

      Thanks for your thoughts. Yes i have tried magnesium through diet and as extra supplements without change. Also olive oil every morning and kefir although not goats, it was nice tasty stuff but alas no gut improvement. I like the idea of fermented foods as they seem to vastly improve good bacteria although they dont seem to affect the moisture content of stools I will still take them. As for hypothyroidism I'm going to check that out - is that over or under-active I wonder or both affect the gut?

       I feel for your condition there is always someone worse off than yourself it seems.  All the best and thanks again.

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    • Posted

      Hypothyroidism would be under active. The overactive usually makes people have too loose and frequent stools.

      If you are interested in it then have a look at thyroid UK, which is a UK charity. The NHS tests don't always pick up cases that are subclinical or developing - people can be very symptomatic years before blood tests show it severely.

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  • Posted

    Similar saga (but loads of more pain, vomiting for my girl):

    We have to be on Movicol to keep stool soft,

    also Magnesium (1 teaspoon a day).

    Thyroid normal (everything including antibodies and iodine in urine checked)

    and still the guts from stomach to rectum are hardly moving.

    We have a condition called 'EDS' with gastrointestinal manifestation. Nothing can heal it. Only conservative or invasive symptom relief.

    My girl's colon is too long, hanging down AND not moving in normal speed. Bad combo.

    Have you ever seen your colon?

    The longer the colon, the longer the food get's its water resorbed.

    (At a point she might need colon resection as a conservative measure and also a hole into stomach to drain any fluids, bypassing with tube into jejunum, things can get really nasty with gastroparesis)

    We tried too endless diets, so over them as it didn't matter if oh so loved FODMAP, milk free, grain free (not only gluten free), egg free, low histamine and fiber, omg, no fiber. If one sufferes gastroparesis, slow transit also in the bowels, and a connective tissue disorder, this 'fiber' can really go so wrong.

    We have to do low fiber diet to  keep vomiting at bay (faster emptying), but still not the Philosopher's stone. But more fiber definitely worse!

    If you search internet, you might find pages, that promote exactely the oposite to what is said to constipation and is worth a trial, why not!

    Probiotics definitely, we try now the LGG (L.rhamnosus). Combined with a fungi boulardii.

    There are also autoimmune gastrointestinal manifestations, that can slow it down, you might check out 'AGID' or AAG, often diarrhea but for some it is constipation.

    Downside: no one in Australia knows about it, only USA. duh.

    But upside: very rare.

    All the best!

    It is highly frustrating!

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    • Posted

      And yes, we tried acupuncture and the herbal teas for many months, (other than a copper intoxication) nothing happened.

      Mainstream gastroenterologist had the idea of hypnotherapy for gastric tract, after 1000s dollars again: nothing, no effect.

      We also had to see a psychologist! Of course: no effect.

      Good luck, tell me please if you find anything helpful, that is not in the trial and error list already!

       

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