• Stools with a small diameter are often referred to as narrow stools. While narrow stools can be the sign of a serious medical problem, they are often the result of relatively minor digestive issues.

    Digestive Issues

    Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist Dr. Michael Picco notes that narrow stools sometimes result from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). IBS sufferers experience constipation or diarrhea, often alternating between the two, and at times the resulting stools are narrower than usual.

    Colon Cancer

    Any change in bowel movements, including the narrowing of stools, should be reported to your doctor. Picco states that narrow stool can indicate an obstruction of the colon caused by a tumor.


    According to doctors at the University of Maryland Medical Center, your physician will perform numerous tests on your stool to screen for the possibility of colon cancer. If warranted, further procedures will take place, which might include a colonoscopy.

    Other Symptoms

    Narrow stool, coupled with other symptoms, particularly blood in the stool and abdominal pain, are cause for concern and require an appointment with your doctor.


    Colon cancer and other minor ailments, such as IBS, can be prevented by eating a diet high in fiber, drinking plenty of fluids, losing weight and getting proper amounts of exercise. Drinking green tea and taking herbal supplements such as turmeric are also preventive measures against cancer and digestive problems, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.


    Mayo Clinic on Narrow Stools

    University of Maryland Medical Center on Colorectal Cancer

    Cleveland Clinic on Gastrointestinal Disorders

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