Stringy Poop: The Causes and When Should You Worry

The shape and appearance of your poop can tell you a lot about your health, and if you have noticed that your poop is stringy, you should know what it means. Most of the time, if you have stringy poop, it means you have a lack of fiber in your diet, but if you are repeatedly noticing stringy poop, there could be a serious reason for that. Stringy poop is a stool that is shaped like thin ribbons or a slim pencil.

It is different than normal poop, because stringy poop is very narrow, and may even be flat in some cases. If you experience frequent this problem regularly, you may also suffer from the following:

  • Blood in the stool
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Cramping

What are the causes of stringy poop?

Several different causes could be behind your problem. If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned below, you should contact a doctor immediately.

Colorectal cancer

Most people tend to freak out when they see stringy poop because it is associated with colorectal cancer, where tumors grow inside the colon, causing thin string-like poop. However, you could also experience stringy poop without suffering from colorectal cancer, but if you experience the following symptoms with stringy poop, you should be concerned:

  • Anemia
  • Persistent urge to poop
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Left-side abdominal pain

It is recommended to get a colonoscopy if you are noticing stringy poop, so that your doctor can diagnose whether you have colorectal cancer.


You may also experience stringy poop because of constipation, which is caused by a lack of fluids and a low-fiber diet. Your poop will not be bulky in size if you don’t eat enough fiber, and this means eating lots of whole grain, beans, and fruits and vegetables daily.

Other causes

Loose, thin, and stringy poop can also be caused due to several other conditions, which can narrow the colon. These other causes are:

  • Twisted bowel or volvulus
  • Stretched or distended colon
  • Trapped abdominal hernias
  • Colon polyps
  • Fecal impaction
  • Narrowing between the anus and rectum

There are also intestinal parasites, like giardia that can cause thin, stringy poop. If you have parasites in your intestines, you can experience symptoms like:

  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Nausea
  • Cramping

It could also be caused due to an inflammation of the colon, due to ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, which can also result in severe diarrhea. There are other intestinal infections like Shigella, gastroenteritis, and salmonella that cause diarrhea.

How do you diagnose what is causing your poop to be stringy?

You shouldn’t worry or become paranoid if you notice stringy poop, because your poop can become stringy occasionally. The only time you should call your doctor is if you notice other symptoms like vomiting, rectal bleeding, or abdominal pain, along with stringy poop. Your doctor may want to conduct some tests to determine the causes behind your stringy poop. This may include the following:

  • CT scans for viewing your abdominal organs
  • X-ray with contract for viewing your gastrointestinal tract
  • Colonoscopy for examining your colon
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy for examining your lower colon
  • Blood tests to determine celiac disease
  • Stool samples to check for bacteria or parasites
  • Fecal occult test to check for blood in your poop

Get in touch with a doctor immediately if you suffer from this condition regularly.