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Stringy stools are not very common. There are several conditions that may cause stringy stools but it is hard to diagnose the exact cause without proper lab tests. Patients are often confused about what exactly is wrong with their stool. Some people think there are worms in their stools while others think there are parasites. No doubt, parasites may be seen in the stools as strings but not always.

Some common causes of stringy bowel movements are:

  • Constipation

  • Parasites

  • Lactose intolerance

  • Irritable bowel syndrome

  • Bacterial overgrowth

  • Pancreatic insufficiency

  • Pseudomembranous colitis

  • Celiac disease

  • Overuse of broad spectrum antibiotics

Constipation is one of the most common causes of stringy stools. Chronic constipation is known to damage the internal lining of the colon (large intestine) which starts to produce excessive mucus. When present in excess, mucus is seen coming out with the stools. It is usually yellowish-white in color. These stools can mimic a parasitic infection because the streaks of mucus on the stools look like worms.

The best way to treat chronic constipation is through diet and exercise. Having your meals on time and taking more fluids is extremely effective and it relieves constipation efficiently. Adding few hours of exercise every week is also found to be helpful.

Many kinds of parasites are known to invade the human gastrointestinal tract and lay eggs. Pinworms are the most common intestinal parasites. They may remain asymptomatic (no symptoms) except long white or brown strings in the stools. Some patients, especially children, develop abdominal pain because of an infection caused by parasites. There is nothing to worry about with this condition because a general practitioner can easily treat it. It can also be treated with the help of over-the-counter anti-parasitic medications. It is advised to complete the whole course of medication because an incomplete course may result in the recurrence of the same parasite.

Your everyday meals play an important role in the production of your stool. You may notice undigested food coming along with your stools. Bananas, spicy foods, and excessive coffee may also result in stringy bowel movements.

Excessive stress and broad spectrum antibiotics are also known to cause stringy stools.

Stringy bowel movements are not a sign of severe disease. However, it should be kept in mind that it is often misdiagnosed.

Therefore, it is advised to see your doctor if you are experiencing unusual bowel movements for more than a week.

It is best to get lab tests done at the recommendation of your doctor. Sometimes, a doctor will advise a colonoscopy or an endoscopy to rule out cancer or some other fatal disease.

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