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Old 01-15-2004, 12:48 AM   #1
Xan Xan is offline
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stool too soft, wrong color, other strange stuff

I have had a change in my bowel movements that has lasted for, I think, 2 years now. Now that I think about it, I realize that is how long I have been on birth control pills.. HMMMM.... I am starting to get worried, because I am finally eating right(sort of a south beach diet thing..balanced meals and wide variety of healthy foods), and my BM abnormalities have stayed constant. I just never thought much of it because I always think it will go away if I eat fiber and healthy things. It's been almost a month of healthy eating and it is still the same.

My stool is too light in color... Like a pale yellowish brown. They are usually solid, but too soft, and hence, have less girth than they should, too. So I don't have to 'push' as hard as I used to.

When I flush, it never stays solid and always breaks apart into a cloud.

Other abnormalities include particles of food that I can either recognize by smell or looks...even if i only had a tiny bit of vegetables that day. Primarily lettuce and bell pepper is what I notice. I never see corn unless I have way way too much at once. Of course I don't eat like that anymore though.

Also, when I am done on the toilet, there is usually some sort of slimy mucuous substance on the paper. Often solid in spots enough to be called a gel... :-/ Half the time it's clear and even a little watery, and sometimes semi-transparent, containing vegetable food particles, and the same yellow-brown color as my BM.

Over the past 2 years, I have been eating very erratically most of the time, and all of the above symptoms have stayed almost exactly the same, no matter what i eat.

The only change I have noticed was a few days ago, I took a packet of Benefiber. The only difference was just a tad darker in color, and a little more dense and harder to push than usual. still same size and still turned to a cloud when I flushed.. and the mucuous and food particles too...

I am only 20 now, so I was also kind of thinking that your bowels just change when you get older.. ? but.. this still doesn't seem right... Do you think it is due to the BC pill? (orthocyclen).. if so, a harmless, or not-so-harmless side effect? Or could it really be a disease, cancer, intolerance, or something?

Sometime during the first year I noticed this, I did go to the doc and told her. She gave me a testing kit. I couldn't do it.. I just couldn't. I would have thrown up because it involved spooning feces into 3 different containers... I don't even think I could handle 1.

Oh, one other thing... this past year, I have noticed a lot of muscle tension throughout my body. I am so afraid to exercise or even do gentle yoga or any kind of stretching exercises, because any amount of stretching on almost any muscle will make it cramp/pull/knot. And this month, I have had muscle discomfort and accidental pulls/knots in the neck almost every day. I am a laid-back person so i don't think it is stress.. I have been attributing it to my being terribly out of shape. But could this be associated with whatever is keeping my bowels from being normal?

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Old 01-15-2004, 01:12 PM   #2
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stella77 HB User
Re: stool too soft, wrong color, other strange stuff

What you're describing could be symptoms of any number of things ranging from irritable bowel sydrome to food intolerance (dairy and wheat are the most common culprits) to parasites to an inflamed bowel disease. I would definitely consult with your doctor and complete the tests that s/he recommends. The 3-day collection you described was probably that for giardia, a relatively common intestinal parasite that you can get from food and water, including water at the beach or in swimming pools. It's unlikely that your symptoms stem from taking the pill, but if you have any history of antibiotic use, there are intestinal problems (like c. diff.) that you can get during/after taking antibiotics. In any case, it's definitely something you should get checked out by a good gastroenterologist. Good luck!

Old 01-15-2004, 10:06 PM   #3
Xan Xan is offline
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Re: stool too soft, wrong color, other strange stuff

IBS? But I thought the symptoms for that were mainly diarrhea, constipation, cramps and bloating. I don't have any of those, except on occasion... God, I hope it's not any kind of food intolerance. Variety is a big part of what is keeping me eating right. I'll be damned if i have to eliminate an entire food group.

What is usually the treatment for giardia?

I have had a history of antibiotic use. Definitely. I took them a lot through most of my childhood until early teen years. Every time I went to the doctor, they would give me antibiotics, even if i only had a virus. Like a cold or something... Probably only to save their butt in case I got an infection. I'm guessing that, on average, I had a course of antibiotics at least twice a year until I was around 14. Is that considered 'a lot'?

So what is c. diff.? Are you saying the pill could indirectly cause this in people who have taken antibiotics in the past? (Not sure if you were relating the 2 meds or not) I am strongly suspecting that the pill has at least played some supporting role in my bowel changes, because I am sure the changes started very soon after starting the pill.

"In any case, it's definitely something you should get checked out by a good gastroenterologist."

erm.. Are you implying that there definitely is 'something' wrong with me, or could it really be just nothing? Of course, in either case, I'm still going to make a doc appt.

Do you think my muscular problems could be a concern? Could it mean I am not adequately absorbing certain vits and minerals?

About the slight improvement in color and firmness, it was the same way again today, so I think it is morely likely my healthier eating is making a difference, rather than the fiber supplement I took that one time... But I wonder if it could be even worse of a change... The scent concerns me. It isn't horribly foul... just odd and vastly different than before... Though I'm not sure how to describe it... the past 2 years, it has smelled kind of sweet and.. whimpy.. ???.. Not what it smelled like when it was normal... And now the smell has gone to the other end of the spectrum, sort of... It very strong smelling.. but not really awful or foul.. It is definitely a more... loamy scent.. more.. robust...? but still definitely not a normal scent. It's strong, but more peculiar than it is stinky.

Thank you so much for your input, Stella.

Old 01-15-2004, 10:39 PM   #4
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Lightbulb Re: stool too soft, wrong color, other strange stuff

There are 2 kinds of fiber and I think you are not geting enough of the water absorbable kind.The insoluble type does not absorb liquid it just passes through almost unchanged.

The color of your stool is usually controlled by what you eat. Intaking more oils will make your gallbladder empty results in a darker stool.

There is a big difference between rougeage and fiber like grains, potatoes, beans that absorb water and produce a firm bulky stool.

You could start taking a water soluble fiber supplement to bulk up your stools and act as a cleaner for your intestinal mucus. Metamucil or Equate from Wal Mart work fine. Just make sure you drink enough water with each dose.

I wish you well--- Harry

Last edited by Harry; 01-16-2004 at 12:30 PM.

Old 01-16-2004, 12:10 PM   #5
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stella77 HB User
Re: stool too soft, wrong color, other strange stuff

Hi again--
I didn't mean to scare you by recommending a gastroenterologist--since you were posting here about your concerns, I assumed you thought there was something possibly amiss. If you do seek medical attention, I just think it's better to see a GI specialist rather than a general practioner because they have a better idea of what to look for and what to test for. Yes, IBS is normally marked by either diarrhea and/or constipation, but a key component of the diagnostic criteria is a change in bowel habits (which you seem to have experienced) and many IBS patients report the type of mucous you described. But IBS symptoms mimic all kinds of other digestive diseases which is why it is good to have it checked out thoroughly if you are concerned about it.

Giardia is normally treated with an antiparasitic medication called flagyl that you usually take for 10-14 days. Some people require multiple treatments before the giardia are all killed off.

C. diff. is an infection that generally develops during or shortly after using antibiotics. So if you haven't taken antibiotics since you were a teenager, it seems like that is an unlikely culprit. C. diff. symptoms also tend to be more severe than what you are describing, but in some people they are pretty mild.

I don't know much about the scent issue...Probably your doctor would know more there.

If you do see a doctor, let us know what you find out! Good luck!

Old 01-16-2004, 10:11 PM   #6
Xan Xan is offline
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Re: stool too soft, wrong color, other strange stuff

Thank you guys so so much for the info and advice. I am really glad I found this board because of the few people I can talk to about this, they just say go to the doctor.... may be a little while before I can see a doctor because I don't have much money. So it is good to know something I can try in the meantime and what to expect. I have insurance, but I still have to have money for the copay. I wish I could just go straight to a GI doc, but my insurance requires me to see the primary first. So I will end up paying for 2 docs.

I'm going to try insoluble fiber, then. I thought benefiber was the same as everything else. Thanks for bringing that to light, Harry. But about metamucil, is the 'clear' sugar free kind still insoluble fiber? Because Benefiber is clear and sugar free..

I already make sure I eat whole grain bread and cereal, but I guess I'm not getting enough of it since I am a bit wary of carbohydrates. I'll try to be creative and balance my meals more to spread out whole grains and other fiber-y things throughout the day... Because I don't want the glycemic load of any one meal to be too high.

What sort of oils will make my stool darker?

Not to knock your advice, harry, but I can't help but think that changing fiber and oil consumption will only cover up a real problem, if there is one. My diet has been everything from healthy to deadly over the past 2 years, so surely at points I have gotten enough fiber and oils, and my BM's have stayed almost exactly the same no matter what.

Yeah, Stella. That is exactly what I figured about IBS but I wasn't sure. My parents have it, but they have the classic symptoms of cramping and alternating diarrhea and constipation.. not the symptoms I have. I wonder if it is genetic.. But since all of a sudden all these people are being diagnosed with it, I wonder if it is more environmental.

I will let you know if I go to the doc. Thanks again!

Last edited by Xan; 01-16-2004 at 10:15 PM.

Old 01-16-2004, 10:46 PM   #7
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Re: stool too soft, wrong color, other strange stuff

Hello Xan,
First let me start by agreeing with Harry completely, And adding a little bit.

Yes, it is POSSIBLE that you are not properly absorbing some nutrients an/or vitamins. The thing you mentioned about your muscles brings me to thoughts of malabsorption, only because it sounds as if you MAY have a potassium, and POSSIBLY magnesium insufficiency. Those are just a couple of thoughts. You see potasisum and magnesium are part of your electrolytes. If they are out of balance, two of the most likely ones to go first are the potassium and/or magnesium.

Harry is very good with this area of thought, so perhaps, Harry, if you see this, you might elaborate, or perhaps better explain.

I hope, Xan, that we have all helped to shed some light on your problems. I DO think you posted on the correct board, because it does sound as if something is amiss in your digestive system somewhere.

Take care, and let us all know what you find out at the docs appt.


Old 01-16-2004, 11:31 PM   #8
Xan Xan is offline
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Re: stool too soft, wrong color, other strange stuff

Yeah, the muscle thing made me think of malabsorption, too. It is getting really frustrating, having to be afraid of every movement. I can't be comfortable and fully relaxed in my own body... And you know what, looking back, I think it has gotten worse since I have not been taking my 1-a-day women's multivitamin. I had been taking it for a few years and ran out of them a few months ago. At the time I didn't have money to get more and I seemed fine without it, so I haven't bothered to get more. Think that is what is doing it? Do any of you suggest I go back on the multi now, or wait til I can get testing from the doc? Or maybe it is bad to have a dependency on it at all???

I noticed something else too... When you cry a lot, do you ever notice that afterward, your legs ache? Not to mention, dehydration? I cried an awful lot for the first time in a long time about a week ago, and the aching started very quickly, and was so strong it was hard to stand up anymore. I also got thirsty very fast. Both things began right after I had Started crying, instead of after it's over, like it used to. The obvious dehydration and legs aching are connected, aren't they? Because when you're dehydrated, you usually need electrolytes, not just water, right?.. and and doesn't a lack of electrolytes cause aching and other muscle problems?

Old 01-17-2004, 09:25 AM   #9
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Re: stool too soft, wrong color, other strange stuff

Any 20 year old that is normal should be able to exercise 30 minuets daily without any problems and it is good for you.

I don't know what you're on a diet for but ANY DIET should build health not make you worse. If you are worse then you are on the wrong diet. I suggest you become more knowledgable about dieting and nutrition. Poor health is a big price to pay because of lack of knowledge!!!

If you have muscles that are cramping,in spasms and knot up --it is a sure sign that you need to intake more calcium, magnesium and potassium. They may be not be present enough in the food you're eating or your system is not absorbing them.

70% of the magnesium in your body is in your bones but what is really important is the magnesium that gets into your cells. It is best to take a supplement that contains calcium and magnesium 3 times daily. The absorption increases from 14% to 40%. Vitamin D helps absorption of calcium. You have to make sure that you get enough potassium in any diet if for nothing else to make your heart beat right and other muscles to work.

Taking vitamins and minerals is always Good but know what you are doing!
If cry and you get dehydrated then you need these electrolyles and more water.

IBS is not inherited and it is not a disease --- it is a syndrome. It can be made worse by stress as well as being intolerant to some foods.

Olive oil, coconut oil, flaxseed oil, borage and fish oil are all good to activate your gallbladder to secreate bile.

What you need is to bulk up your stools is SOLUBLE fiber--- Psylium can be bought that is sugar free. It is the active ingredient in Metamucil and it is not clear and you can buy it sugar free in both capsules and powder form pretty cheap. You don't want any loose stools. You don't just want any BM but a healthy BM--- daily.

I am a firm believer that health begins in the Digestive System!

God Bless---Harry

Last edited by Harry; 01-17-2004 at 09:31 AM.

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