Stool with a stringy appearance — where the poop itself resembles strings — isn't that uncommon and closely associated with several medical conditions (more about that later), but strings in poop? That's a bit more unusual.
One member of the SteadyHealth community noticed exactly such a phenomenon, was understandably startled, and reached out for help by writing:
I noticed some stringy type things in my poop today. The poop was solid, but when it came out, each piece was attached to the next one with yarn like strings. They were the same color as the poop. It looked as though I had eaten brown yarn and it was running through the poop.
They also provided an extra bit of pretty important information — this person has irritable bowel syndrome, one of the very things that will sometimes cause stool to have a string-like look:
I have had stomach pain and slight constipation lately... but I have IBS and my stomach always hurts and I am often constipated. Should I be worried about this?
Questions the original questioned prompted others to ask included:
- Should I be worried about this?
- is there any vegitables she she should avoid?
- your saying its banana strings?
- Tell me what type of home treatment will remove, hemorroids, colon acidity, and parasite feces--while getting rid of the worms at the same time.
- We're they worms or you was just constipated
Other people came out of the woodwork with similar symptoms:
- I had a very strange bowel movement this morning.
- I have had stomach pain and slight constipation lately.
- Regardless even if one has worms when you see it in your stool they are usually dead and your body is getting them out on its own.
- I also have conspation.
- I been feeling a lump underneath my stomach that feel like there needlles.
What could this be?
Discussion participants also had some suggestions as to what may be causing the "yarn-like strings" in someone's bowel movements:
- I had a very strange bowel movement this morning.
- But there was a long, thin string of fecal manner hanging from my anus.
- It was very fibrous like strains of celery.
- I have now my second string.
- You could have intestinal candida.
Among the advice given to people with "strings" in their stool was:
- • Add fiber slowly to prevent gas and bloating.
- Do not skip meals.
- Meditation, deepbreathing, aerobic exercise, and sharing your concerns with another person can all help todecrease stress.
- There ARE homeopathic and natural remedies that can help.
- I have a similar problem and found drinking water frequently (warm to be absorbed more easily)and taking acidophilus relieved the pain and decreased the constipation.
Several people suggested MMS, laxatives, and herbal or probiotic supplements, as well.
Strings in poop: The SteadyHealth team reacts
What could possibly lead to the appearance of yarn-like structures within stool? The list of options is short, but not at all uninteresting:
- Parasitical worms appear to be by far the most plausible explanation.
- Trichophagia is a psychological condition in which a person has the compulsion to swallow their own hair, often after pulling it out equally compulsively, in a related ailment called trichotillomania. Hair is indigestible, and if sufficient amounts were swallowed, it could bind together to create a yarn-like appearance that held bits of stool together in the manner described. People with this condition would certainly know they had it, and immediately know what caused their bowel movement to look like it did, though.
- Consuming other indigestible items, whether things like banana peel, corn leaves, elastic bands, or indeed actual yarn could likewise lead to the described problem.
- Mucus may also have a slightly string-like appearance, but most people would know that they were looking at mucus.
Doctor Sasa Milosevic, our "in-house doctor", quite agrees. When asked what could possibly cause yarn-like strings in a bowel movement, he wrote:
"I really can't think of anything else yarn-like in the stool. You pretty much covered all most likely cases. It's really hard to guess, but unless the person has been eating some indigestible fibers (pretty much anything of what you mentioned), I would bet it's some type of parasitic worm. They need to get their stool tested, that's the only valid suggestion that can be given to this person."
Intestinal worms: Signs and treatment
Roundworm, tapeworm, pinworm, and hookworm are all among the intestinal worms that can infect a person's gut. All these respective worms have different appearance, as well as different ways in which you're most likely to end up with them — but as a general rule, contact with contaminated feces, water, soil, or eating undercooked meat are things that may place a person at risk of such an infection.
Symptoms that you're dealing with a parasitical worm infection may include:
- Abdominal pain, bloating and gas
- Diarrhea, and blood or mucus on your bowel movements
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Weight loss
- Fatigue or feelings of weakness
- And of course, the visible presence of worms in your stool
The obvious thing to do here is to make an appointment with your doctor, who will ask for one or more stool samples. If you test positive for a parasitical infection, you'll be treated with antiparasitic drugs that will clear your nasty problem up.
What about stringy poop?
Stringy poop — stool that is itself thin and string-like — has different possible causes, such as:
- Colorectal cancer
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Celiac disease
It may also, however, just be "one of those things", that is, something specific to a person that doesn't have a particular medical cause.