Ribbon shaped stool?? UPDATE

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Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 56
   Posted 10/15/2008 6:44 AM (GMT -7)   
I just got out of a pretty bad flare and have been feeling pretty good. In the past two weeks though, my stools have been flat ribbon shaped and rather hard to pass, like it takes a while. Its the kind that makes your eyes water and you cant breathe for a few...ow ow ow

so i didnt think much of it until i didnt have a BM after the always terrible morning one. Then before I went to bed I had a terribly painful oen and it started with mucous and then the flat stool...

I looked up the symptom online this morning and found lots of things that said it is the first noticable symptom of colorectal cancer because its an obstruction. But I also found a few things that said it could just be from IBS or IBD... anyone else have this? What should I do... keep in mind I dont have any insurance and a colonoscopy is over $700 :(
22 years old
Diagnosed with UC June 2005 at age 19
Just graduated from Virginia Tech

Have taken:
Cortifoam, Sulfasalazine, Cipro, Flagyl, Codine, Hydrocodone, Roxicodone, Canasa, Aloe Vera Juice, Prednisone

Asacol, Dicyclomine,Zoloft, Probiotics, Flintstones Vitamins with Iron

Never have had a colonoscopy just one sig flex over 3 years ago. Dont really have a GI because No insurance :(

Post Edited (Samynic) : 12/23/2008 1:13:54 PM (GMT-7)

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 387
   Posted 10/15/2008 7:03 AM (GMT -7)   
Inflamation from UC may cause narrowing of your lower digestive tract and your stool will become comparatively narrow as it passes through. I have narrow stools alot. If you feel you are getting worse then call you GI for guidance, who could probably advise you without a colonoscopy. I know it is hard not to worry, but I imagine the chance of you having colon cancer is very very remote.

UC diagnosed 10/05, first symptoms 1983
asacol 12/daily and rowasa as needed 
Trying out Culturelle Probiotic
past rx: colozal, lialda, canasa
i can't complain, but sometimes i still do.  lifes been good to me so far.  -joe walsh

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 23549
   Posted 10/15/2008 7:10 AM (GMT -7)   
I always have narrow stool and colon inflammation can cause that. You have to remember that the things you read on the internet is not always a good thing. It can make one a nervous mess. If ever in doubt about your body and what is happening, it's best to call your doctor even if it's for reassurance.
Moderator for Allergies/Asthma and Co-moderator for UC
~Left sided Uc-'92-Colazal(9 daily),6mp(50-100mgs),Prilosec,Biotin,Forvia,Pro-Bio**Unable to tolerate Asacol, Rowasa or Canasa**~Year-round allergies-Singulair, Zyrtec~Secondary Reynauds Syndrome-'04-Norvasc~Spinal Stenosis(?)~Sacroiliitis-epidural injections~bulging and herniated discs C5/C6 & C6/C7~3rd epidural injection 9/4, Neurontin and Skelaxin
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Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 2148
   Posted 10/15/2008 8:54 AM (GMT -7)   
my first 7 years pretty normal stool, but since my monster flare in Sept 07, I have had small stringy poo, could be described as ribbon. My colonoscopy in April 08 showed no inflammation and I still had stringy poo, I think it must be from scarring.

You may have hemmies too?
Beth, 33 ~ hoping to taper pred successfully, wish me luck!
Major Flare Sept/Oct 07.  Flare May 08 (from aspirin?).
UC dx'd 03/00 Proctosigmoiditis; Pancolitis since 09/07
Azathioprine 200mg 1xday nightly; Calcium and Vit D 500mg 3xday, Multi Vit, Folic Acid 400mg 2xday, Prilosec, Probiotics.
Minimal Change Disease (Kidney Disorder) dx'd 09/07. Close to remission since 9/08.
Prednisone 5mg/2.5mg alt days 1xday, Simvastatin 20mg 1xday, Diovan 160mg 2xday. Tekturna 300mg 1xday, Fosomax 70mg 1xweek. MCD may be from hypersensitivty to 5ASA drugs.  Do you have edema? If so, check your blood protien level!

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Mar 2003
Total Posts : 10405
   Posted 10/15/2008 9:50 AM (GMT -7)   
In flare, mine was flat also. Now that I'm in remission, it's more back to a cylinder shape. And be aware that if you're having regular colonoscopies, any pain you feel is unlikely to be from colon cancer. Pain is a fairly late symptom, and usually occurs only when the cancer gets big enough to put pressure on the colon and surrounding organs.
Moderate to severe left-sided UC (21 cm) diagnosed 2001.
Avascular necrosis in both shoulders is my "forever" gift from Entocort.
Colazal,  Remicade, Nature's Way Primadophilus Reuteri. In remission since April, 2006.
Co-Moderator UC Forum
Please remember to consult your health care provider when making health-related decisions.

Elite Member

Date Joined Feb 2004
Total Posts : 20577
   Posted 10/15/2008 11:11 AM (GMT -7)   
I've gotten it from time to time...I have both IBD and IBS.

My bum is broken....there's a big crack down the middle of it! LOL :)

Elite Member

Date Joined May 2003
Total Posts : 29860
   Posted 10/15/2008 11:16 AM (GMT -7)   
If you are consistently concerned about it, have your doc take a look-see and take biopsies.

I get them too having both IBS and UC.

I would suggest to consider taking a fibre supplement to help bulk up the stool.

*Heather* Status..Asacol 6 (3 twice daily); enemas every 4th night
~diagnosed January 1989 UC (proctosigmoiditis)
~Bentylol (dicyclomine) 20mg as needed
~Probiotic 4(Natural Factors Protec) bedtime + Primadophilus Reuteri Pearls occasionally
~multi-digestive enzymes as needed
~Ranitidine,Pariet (reflux);  Effexor XR 75mg(depression);  Pulmicort/Airomir (asthma)
~URSO for PSC (or PBC) 500mg X 2 daily (LFTs back to NORMAL!!)
My doc's logic.. "TREAT (FROM)BOTH ENDS"  worth it !!!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 742
   Posted 10/15/2008 11:35 AM (GMT -7)   
That was one of my first UC symptoms (along with blood).  Before diagnosis I was terrified that I had colon cancer, because I did the same thing you did - looked it up on the Internet.  Turned out to be UC.  I think its probably normal.  Ask your doc if you need reassurance. 

Katie, 30.   Chicago 'burbs.
DX:  Pancolitis as of 9/08 (Proctitis as of 1/08)
Current Treament:  Asacol 1200 MG 3X daily, Cortenama 100 ML nightly, Iron 325 MG 2X daily, Zoloft 50 MG daily, Bentyl 20 MG as needed, Multivitamin.
Diet/Exercise:  Spinach/sunflower and low-residue.  Yoga and walking.
Previous Treatment:  Canasa suppositories, Cortifoam, Prednisone, Colazal, Symex DuoTabs, Rowasa.
Status:  Flare

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 823
   Posted 10/15/2008 3:17 PM (GMT -7)   
I had that as well. It came and went during my last flare. I think that you need to talk to your doctor about it but also know that it is not an uncommon symptom of UC. My doctor said that inflamation and soft stool can cause it...

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 2198
   Posted 10/16/2008 8:09 AM (GMT -7)   
Hemmorhoids could also cause the flat stool. I think alot of us have experienced that at one time or another.
Diagnosed with ulcerative colitis spring 1999.
Maintenance dose sulfasalazine.
Probiotics, l-glutamine and fish oil caps. George's aloe vera juice. Oregano oil antibiotic, antiviral, antifungal. Long-term remission with only minor blips.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 312
   Posted 10/16/2008 12:36 PM (GMT -7)   
yea i get ribbony stuff as well. i have it now. only get it during flares and can be caused by spasms, and narrowing. it might also be yellowish or different colored because the colon isn't working to remove bile and other substances are it normally would be.
UC since age 22, now 27.  Several huge flares since then.
Currently tapering prednisone(35 mg from 80 mg).  Also just starting 6mp again and lialda.   I definately am not liking these drugs.  Maybe surgery one day?

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 56
   Posted 12/23/2008 1:12 PM (GMT -7)   
Okay... almost 3 months later and I am still having the flat stool. EVERY single time. Its gotten more painful and more hard to pass. I have even been pushing so hard and in so much pain that I throw up while on the toilet.

I went to the Emergency room two weeks ago because of the pain and cramping and then finally went to the gastro that diagnosed me almost 4 years ago. Given I havent seen her in more than 2 years she was rather nice and actually believes me this time.

I am scheduled for my first colonoscopy next week on the 30th... Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to me....

I am scared of the procedure itself, and of what it could be. But at this point I am desperate and need to figure it out and make it stop!

ER visit + Gastro visit + Colonoscopy in a hospital= major medical bills with no insurance. Plus at the end of the month I am homeless and unemployed :(
22 years old
Diagnosed with UC June 2005 at age 19
Just graduated from Virginia Tech

Have taken:
Cortifoam, Sulfasalazine, Cipro, Flagyl, Codine, Hydrocodone, Roxicodone, Canasa, Aloe Vera Juice, Prednisone

Asacol, Dicyclomine,Zoloft, Probiotics, Flintstones Vitamins with Iron

Never have had a colonoscopy just one sig flex over 3 years ago. Dont really have a GI because No insurance :(

Old Hat
Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 5136
   Posted 12/23/2008 5:15 PM (GMT -7)   
Colonoscopy is the gold standard for diagnosing malfunction of the colon-- so you are doing the right thing by scheduling it soon. Steel yourself for the prep; that will be the worst part of it. Then when it's over & done with, the gastro will be able to adjust your med to treat the level/extent of inflammation you currently have. That's the best route to restored health for you: go for it! When you feel better, you'll be able to tackle the other problems you mentioned. Good luck & take care. / Old Hat (nearly 30 yrs with left-sided UC ... [etc.])

New Member

Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 6/30/2009 7:25 AM (GMT -7)   
hi im 24 and have been having the same problem as you ,i have no pain ,but my stools are small and ribbon pencil thin,and hard to go ,strain,it has only been a week since i had normal stools but very worring and i looked up on the net ,and the only thing in my mind is the big C word ..i never do doctors ,havent for the last 10 years ,even when im really ill ,but i managed to book my self in the local doctors and have a appointment 2moro with a bit of a push from my partner,bloody worried thou ,
any1 give me any other advice on what it could be also how did samyn diagnose

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2012
Total Posts : 49
   Posted 11/25/2012 8:07 AM (GMT -7)   
The BMs *can* be skinny because the walls of the colon are inflamed (inward). This means the passage gets skinny for passing BMs. Talk to your doctor.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2012
Total Posts : 1116
   Posted 11/25/2012 8:38 AM (GMT -7)   
I have these during flares or when im coming off one. I didnt know this was a big issue never mentioned It to my docs.
Ulcerative Colitis diagnosed Oct 2007. Prednisone for flares until Oct 2012. Currently in hopes of remission with new meds -> so close, have 1-2 fairly solid BM per day but have 3-4 yellow liquidy. So close!!!

Currently on: Prednisone 30 mg, Imuran 50 mg, Remicade 300 mg (2 infusions)
Supplements: Ultimate Flora x 1, L-glutamine 1000 mg x 3, VSL #3 x 1.
Failed: 5-ASA, Asacol
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