Pebble poop: Causes, remedies, and when to see a doctor – Medical News Today

People often pass pebble poop in small, hard, separate lumps. However, the stool can also appear as a solid piece that looks as though it consists of pebbles. Both types are a sign of constipation.
Constipation is a common problem that most people experience from time to time. Chronic constipation can be painful, and it may indicate an underlying health problem.
In this article, learn about the causes of pebble poop, as well as the possible treatments and home remedies.
Pebble poop, or pellet-like stool, may occur when very hard stool breaks apart into smaller pieces.
This breakage can happen during digestion, or it may take place in the anus immediately before a person has a bowel movement. It can be more difficult to pass these small pellets than a normal stool, and a person may strain to poop.
Most people have a regular bowel movement pattern, passing stool from between three times a day to once every 3 days. People with longer digestion periods and less frequent pooping may develop hard stools.
When food passes through the digestive system, the colon absorbs some of the water that the food contains. Food that passes more slowly than usual spends too much time in the colon. As a result, the colon absorbs too much water, and the stool may become hard.
Some other symptoms that a person might experience in addition to pebble-like stool include:
The Bristol stool chart is a tool that helps people identify problems with bowel movements. Pebble poop is type 1:
Hard, pebble-like stool is a sign of constipation, which can happen for many reasons. Certain lifestyle and dietary factors can make constipation worse.
For example, constipation is more prevalent in seniors due to the changes in muscle tone and nervous system function that typically occur with increasing age. An older adult who does not eat enough fiber or takes medications that may cause constipation has an even higher risk of hard stools.
Some other risk factors for constipation include:
If the symptoms are mild, or the constipation is not chronic, a few lifestyle changes may help a person treat pebble poop at home. Medication can also help them manage occasional hard stools.
These strategies may help:
When a person has chronic constipation or a serious underlying medical condition, symptoms may only improve with medical treatment.
The right treatment will depend on the reason why a person has constipation. For example, a person with pelvic floor dysfunction may not have sufficient strength to pass stool, slowing digestion and causing pebble poop. A doctor may recommend pelvic floor physical therapy.
For people with IBS, a doctor may advise eliminating possible trigger foods from the diet one by one to see if this helps resolve the symptoms. If a person identifies a particular food that seems to cause issues, they can avoid or limit their intake of it going forward.
Pebble poop can be distressing for babies and young children. They may fear that passing the stool will hurt, and they might, therefore, refuse to have a bowel movement. Holding in stool can slow digestion, causing the stool to become even harder.
Over time, children who hold in bowel movements may develop stools that are very hard and painful. These stools can partially block their intestines and may cause bed wetting and other types of incontinence.
Parents and caregivers should seek treatment for children with chronic constipation or persistently hard stools.
People can try these home remedies to help an infant or child pass hard stool:
It is essential not to give constipation medicine to a baby or child without first talking to a doctor.
The following strategies may help babies:
People may wish to see a doctor about pebble poop if:
Hard, pebble-shaped poop is a common frustration. The occasional pebble poop usually means that a person did not get enough fiber or water that day.
Minor stomach problems and infections can also temporarily slow digestion, causing constipation.
When pebble poop lasts for days or weeks, however, it may be a sign of a serious problem. Chronic hard stools can also be very painful, triggering anxiety about having a bowel movement.
In many cases, a quick consultation with a doctor can help resolve the problem. Even when the cause of pebble poop is more serious, prompt medical care can stop the problem from getting worse.
Last medically reviewed on September 24, 2019