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Thin stools after colorectal surgery

Posts: 7
Joined: Oct 2012

It has been over 2 months since I had my reversal and over 7 months since my LAR (removing a portion of the rectum) surgery was done but I still continue to have thin pencil like or even flat ribbon like stools.

I am really worried and was wondering if someone could offer their opinions on this.


Posts: 372
Joined: Aug 2006

Hi Jack
I don't tell people not to be concerned but I had and still do have occasionally the same type of stools after many years. The colon when it gets shortened or pulled down to connect incisions just isn't as efficient as it once was. After all the digestive tract is shorter and I guess gravity might make a difference not having in travel up the ascending and then across the transverse and the down the descending. I guess you could think of it as a roller coaster where the big loop has been reduced so the ride is more direct without the longer time it would take to compact waste and water as it used to be. Hope your okay Lou

Lovekitties's picture
Posts: 3357
Joined: Jan 2010

The best solution to your concerns is to talk to your surgeon. He/she will be able to give you best info as to if this is "normal" or something to be concerned about.

Wishing you the best,

Marie who loves kitties

Posts: 199
Joined: Nov 2012

I also have very thin stools due to the hole that got smaller through surgery and scar tissue. I had terrible problems with constipation and had to go to the ER twice because I wasn't able to pass the stool. They were able to widen the hole through colonoscopies those two times. The hole was stretched wider both times. However, it ended up shrinking again. I had to learn to manage my bowels more efficiently so I wouldn't end up back in the ER. Now, I take Miralax and eat fresh fruits religiously to try to prevent constipation. I still have thin stools (ribbon like....maybe two pencils wide) but have been managing it effectively over the past several months.

thxmiker's picture
Posts: 1282
Joined: Oct 2010

My Oncologist told me this was normal. 2 Years later i still have thin stools. Occasionally I will have a normal stool. It is very occasionally. I asked a surgeon friend, whom told me it is due more to the body changes from the shorter colon, then from the restriction at the anastomosis.

Cancer is a new normal.

Best Always, mike

son of hal
Posts: 117
Joined: Mar 2011

Hi Jack- Like others have said, this is mostly normal. It has been 6 months since my reversal and I have the same thing, just not every day. The reason is when the rectum or even part of it is removed the connecting ends must be stretched to reach each other. This narrows the intestines at that area. In my case, my rectum was completely removed and they used the intestines to form what is called a J pouch. This acts as a makeshift collecting area so fecal waste doesn't come straight out. Unfortunatley, intestines do not expand like the rectum so the stool doesn't stay there long enough to grow in size. Thus, frequent bowel movements. Add to that normal scar tissue from surgery that doesn't expand and it could be very narrow. At my last visit with the surgeon he had to use a pediatric anoscope to check thing out. Which leaves me concerned about my upcoming colonoscopy. Anyway, you're still fresh after surgery so there's plenty of time for it to improve too. Good luck with it.
Take care, CJ

son of hal
Posts: 117
Joined: Mar 2011

double post

Posts: 158
Joined: Jan 2012

I think everyone is different so I would definitely discuss it with your doctor. I have come across people like you and I have come across people who now have normal BM. There are a lot of factors that come in to play. How were you reconnected, what they actually removed in the first place. Surgeon's skill. I had a LAR in November 2011. A reversal in October 2012 and a month after reversal my stools were consistently coming out in the "S" shape people always talk about. Yes, if I eat unhealthy junk food my stools are affected but they were affected the same way pre-cancer. I had a straight connect and not the J-Pouch. Most of the studies I have read stay that J-Pouch's rebound faster but a year out the results are pretty much the same. I am very happy with my straight connect. Funny story about this.....when I got my first back to "normal" BM after reversal I screamed "Woo Hoo" My son got concerned and ran and knocked on the bathroom door. He asked what happened. I said come and look at my poop! He came in and said yep it's poop! I do that too once a day. He just did not understand my obsession with a normal BM. LOL

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