Why is my stool dark and hard?

Ah, the joys of bathroom conversations… well not really, but let’s face it: we all poop. And sometimes our stools can be less than pleasant to deal with. If you’re wondering why your stool is dark and hard (you poor thing), this article might just have some answers for you.

What causes dark and hard stools?

Dehydration

As much as drinking water seems like a no-brainer, many people simply don’t drink enough throughout the day. When your body doesn’t get enough fluids, your colon will soak up any available moisture from your stools in order to maintain hydration – this makes them harder and more difficult to pass. So chug that H2O!

Iron supplementation

Are you taking iron supplements or vitamins? Some multivitamins and minerals can make your stool appear darker than usual – especially iron supplements which are notorious for causing black or tarry-colored poop.

Kinky cravings

So I heard through the grapevine that some folks have “unusual” food habits (no judgement here). But if you’ve been indulging in a lot of licorice, blueberries or red wine lately (yum?), these treats can actually cause darker colored excrement.

Medical conditions related to dark and hard stool

If none of the above reasons apply to you (which is probably good news), there may be an underlying medical condition that warrants further investigation:

Gastrointestinal bleeding

If your poo is blacker than night on a moonless night AND sticky/tarry in texture it may be indicative of GI bleeding somewhere along the digestive track. Call your doctor immediately if this sounds familiar – Do NOT wait!!

Ulcers

Ulcerative colitis- an inflammatory bowel disease- could cause abdominal pain & cramps , diarrhea; passage of mucus pus or blood from rectum, weight loss and low grade fever.

Cancer

Now, let’s not jump to conclusions, but black and tarry stools can sometimes be caused by the presence of cancerous lesions or tumors in your intestines. If you’re at high risk for colon cancer (family history, over 50 years of age) it’s important to have a conversation about getting screened on the regular with your doctor!

How can I make my stool easier to pass?

More fiber

One way is adding more fiber into your diet! Foods like brown rice, whole wheat breads/crackers/pasta,oatmeal & fruits/veggies – especially leafy greens like kale or spinach- are great sources of dietary fiber that keep everything running smoothly.

Magnesium supplements

Taking magnesium supplements could help too- they increase water retention in intestines & reduce transit time which makes for an easy passage from start to finish!

Probiotics

Another suggestion is using probiotic supplements that will boost gut health and assist digestion. Your bowels are going to thank you profusely!

When should I see a doctor?

It sounds cliche but trust us when we say: if something doesn’t feel right down there…then it isn’t (seriously). If dark/hard stools persist along constipation tenderness/pain around anus ; Referred pain( lower back pain), vomiting , nausea etc then please schedule appointment with a healthcare provider as soon as possible. Get checked out just in case- Better safe than sorry ya’know what we mean? Don’t put off seeing MD because most GI tract conditions respond betterwhen treated early on .

So there you have it folks – some potential reasons why your poop may be misbehaving lately! It’s always important to take note of any changes or irregularities in bowel movements–because the struggles are REAL when things get funky down there.

Please remember

We stress: if you are concerned, worried or have any suspicion family history! – go get checked out by a healthcare provider ASAP. They see this stuff ALL the time…like hopeyfully everyday during their clinical training ( yikes)

Stay hydrated and keep your gut happy friends!

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