I have recently noticed that my stool is sometimes thinner than at other times, and has a distintive shape on one side (sort of like a parenthesis, actually). It is not like this all the time, however; in fact, for the last two days it has been a rounder shape, and larger (if the distinctive shape is still there, it's very faint and sort of expanded). My stool is typically relatively soft (like toothpaste) but at times is harder and rounder (sometimes made up of small balls pushed together).
I took a home FOB test recently, which was negative. I had a colonoscopy four years ago, which was normal except for one region of minor diverticulitis. I'm 40 years old, and other than being hyperthyroid I'm in good health.
I suppose my question is: is it possible, with colon cancer, for the stool to change size and shape? Or, would it become thinner and then progressively more so over time?
Thanks in advance for any thoughts! - Sorry for the double posting, my browser went crazy!
I don't know WHY you had a colonoscopy 4 years ago, but PLEASE follow your intuition... listen to what your body is telling you and go to a GI and schedule another colonoscopy. It is VERY possible for you to have developed polyps over a 4 year time-frame. Change in stool shape that is noticeable to you CAN be a sign of something wrong. FOBT's don't always pick up bleeding, because a major symptom of something wrong is usually marked with INTERMITTENT bleeding which is usually NOT picked up on a card.
All I can say is to follow what your body is telling you... there must be a reason. If all is well, great!... then the colonoscopy was worth it for piece of mind.
Well, I had the colonoscopy because I thought I noticed a difference in my stool. Hence, my concern that I'm being paranoid. I suppose my confusion is that I vary between "normal" stool and a stool that has the odd shape (which isn't really as I described it, it's more thin on the sides and squished up into a "hill" in the middle, more so on one side than the other). I don't understand how that could happen if there were an obstruction--wouldn't it pretty much have to always be the same?
Anyways, yes, I'm making an appointment with a doctor. Thanks for the response.
Keep in mind that sometimes your stool will be softer, and other times have a harder consistency. IF you should have a polyp/s then depending on the consistency, the polyp will be "forced" flatter against the wall (depending on the type of polyp) by harder consistency stool and cause "odd" shaped stool when softer.
The only way to tell what is going on and put your mind at ease is to have another colonoscopy.
A quick update: I visited a GI last Friday, and described my symptoms. He gave me a DRE and an FOB test (which was negative, making that a total of three negative FOB tests in the last five weeks, two of which were multi-test home kits). He read the results from my colonoscopy four years ago, and performed an exam of my belly, etc.
His take is that there are zero indications of a problem. He wasn't concerned about the "shape" that I describe because it 1) seems like a normal shape as the stool exits (sort of like a flying saucer shape) and 2) isn't consistent along the entire length of a single stool. It is less pronounced as a stool "begins," and becomes more pronounced as it "finishes," as if it's being squeezed by the sphincter into that particular shape (which definitely happens when the stool is very soft). The tighter the squeeze, the more pronounced the shape.
This seems to make sense to me. I understand how different stool hardnesses could cause different shapes with an obstruction of some kind, but not how a polyp or tumor could cause a different shape _within the same stool_.
And so, I think I've been paranoid this time just like I was four years ago. Funny how the mind can grab on to these things...