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Date of last update: 10/15/2017.

Forum Name: Gastroenterology Topics

Question: How to firm up the stool?

 jordan - Fri Aug 27, 2004 4:13 pm

Alright, my last post was an apparent dud, so let me try another approach.

I think one factor contributing to my frequent and urgent bowel movements is the consistency of my stool. When it's soft or wet or loose, urgency and frequency increase. When it's firm and hard and dry, the urgency and frequency decrease.

What can I do to get firm and hard and dry stools? Medicines? Diet? Lifestyle changes?

Suggestions wanted,
 Dr. Tamer Fouad - Sat Aug 28, 2004 7:58 pm

User avatar Hello,
I think your problem is not in making your stools firm but the fact that you have frequency, urgency and soft stools points possibly to infective diarrhea. I think the best thing is to get a stool analysis.
 jordan - Sun Aug 29, 2004 8:42 pm

Thank you, Dr. Fouad, for responding. I've had a stool analysis done twice, both times for parasites (now it could've been for more than just parasites, but my doctors didn't mention anything else). Results: negative. Is there some stool analysis I can run besides the one that checks for parasites?

 Dr. Tamer Fouad - Sun Aug 29, 2004 11:58 pm

User avatar A standard stool analysis would also check for white blood cells and pus cells (bacterial infection) and blood cells that result from bleeding. They will also show if there are high levels of fat in the stools indicating malabsorption. Check to see if your analysis reports these issues. Two additional tests not performed in a standard analysis however, are FOBT (Fecal Occult Blood Test) in cases accompanied with anemia and C&S (Culture and Sensitivity) when white blood cells are found in stools.

Did you get a blood picture done recently?
 jordan - Thu Dec 08, 2005 4:45 pm

It's been a long time, but I thought I'd update. I had all the tests that Dr Fouad suggested before he suggested them, and all of them came back negative. I was discouraged that he recommended what I'd already tried, and sort of quick while I was ahead.

Not long after my post to this forum, I read up on how vegetarians sometimes lack omega 3 fatty acids in their diets. I'm a vegetarian, so I figured I should remedy that. I was told flaxseed would had high percentage of omega 3, so I bought flax seeds, ground them up, and added several table spoons of it to each meal.

I was not expecting it, but my digestion improved with the flax. The stools became firmer and less frequent, more controllable. I know that just because the improvement was accompanied with the flax intake doesn't necessarily mean that the flax caused the improvement. But when I stop taking flaxseed, even for a day, my condition worsens and reverts. Perhaps that's psychosomatic. Not sure how to control for it.

Three other points.

First, I'm skeptical that it's the fiber content in the flax that's helping me, if indeed the flax is helping me. Why? Because I tried fiber supplements and fiber powder for several weeks but with no acceptable results.

Second, the flaxseed oil doesn't work for me. My conditions worsens and reverts with that. Only the powder correlated with improved conditions, for some reason. It's my understanding that the oil has omega 3 contents (the lignans) just like the seeds, so I'm skeptical that the omega 3 content explain the improvement.

Third, I suspect it's coincidence, but the brown flaxseed seemed to accompany better conditions than the golden flaxseed does.

I know that flaxseed also has a good lot of alpha linolenic acid, folic acid, and various other vitamins and minerals. I was wondering if anyone has an idea as to whether any of this is helping my digestion, given that I'm vegetarian.


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