Digestion

What Causes Large Stools?

According to the Bristol Stool Chart, the ideal type of stools would be the type 4 and type 5. Type 4 is the sausage and snake shaped soft stool which is passed without much difficulty. Type 5 would be soft blobs with clear edges passed without any straining. A lot of individuals complain of having

large stools

which are both large in length and diameter. The problem is common among children too. The size would be large enough to clog toilets.

In this article, we are going to find out what causes

large stools

.

  • Normally, stools are made up of 75% water. Intestinal bacteria and fiber are the two most important factors that determine the size and texture of stools. Bacteria resides in the mucous lining of the gut. These bacteria proliferate and multiply in the gut. The dead bacteria is discharged and forms a part of the stools.
  • Bacteria is essential in processing the dietary fiber. Bacteria ferments up the insoluble fiber partially while soluble fiber gets fermented completely. When intestinal bacteria is not present, then fiber is not fermented. A decrease in intestinal probiotic bacteria is a major cause of constipation. Fiber attracts water and causes the stools to be soft and smooth. When fiber is not processed and fermented it fails to absorb water from the colon. People who choose high fiber diet can pass around 400 grams of stools everyday. On the other hand, people who eat low fiber diet can excrete only 72 grams of stools.
  • Stools can also become hard and large if the transit time is more. Stools that stay in the bowel for too long can become hard and dry. Ideally stools should be passed after every meal. This is because the peristaltic mass movement (muscular movement of the intestinal muscles that pushes the food forward) is initiated after every meal and could translate into an urge of defecation. In any case, passing of bowels everyday can ensure that the bowels are not dried, compacted and large in size.
  • Another factor that can cause

    large stools

    is the voluntary suppression of the defecation urge. The urge to defecate can be slowed down by constricting the rectum, pelvis and the anal sphincter muscle as is often done by adults. Suppressing stools for more than a 24 hour period can cause them to become dry, hard and large in size. Stressing and straining can become necessary to pass the stools .This may damage and cause tears in the rectum.

What can be done to prevent stools from becoming large in size?

  • Drink lots of fluids.
  • Increase the intake of fiber.
  • Eat foods which promote the gut friendly bacteria. Probiotics like yogurt, if taken daily can help to achieve soft and smooth stools.

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