If you have irritable bowel syndrome, you may have noticed that sometimes your stools fill the toilet bowl like a mound of pebbles.

What can pebbly stools mean, at least if you have IBS?

“Stools can look like pebbles when you have slow bowel transit because the water will dry the stool out,” says John E. Pandolfino, MD, Director of the Esophageal Center, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and Associate Professor, Division of Gastroenterology at Northwestern University.

“Sometimes you can also have small pellets from diverticulosis as the fecal material that was sitting in the diverticulum is passed.”

Stools in many small pieces do not mean you might have a serious disease. In fact, I myself had stools coming out in many small pieces, like pebbles, when I had microscopic colitis.

Dr. Pandolfino’s practice covers a wide gamut of GI disorders including GERD, Barrett’s esophagus, benign and malignant tumors, swallowing disorders and esophageal disorders.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.