Symptoms A-Z

Straining While Passing Stool Symptom, Causes & Questions

Understand your straining while passing stool symptoms, including 8 causes & common questions.

This symptom can also be referred to as: anal blockage

Straining While Passing Stool Symptom Checker

Take a quiz to find out what might be causing your straining while passing stool

8 Possible Straining While Passing Stool Causes

The list below shows results from the use of our quiz by Buoy users who experienced straining while passing stool. This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.

Normal variation of constipation

Constipation means bowel movements which have become infrequent and/or hardened and difficult to pass.

There is wide variation in what is thought "normal" when it comes to frequency of bowel movements. Anywhere from three times a day to three times a week is considered normal.

As long as stools are easy to pass, laxatives should not be used in an effort to force the body to a more frequent schedule.

Constipation is usually caused by lack of fiber in the diet; not drinking enough water; insufficient exercise; and often suppressing the urge to have a bowel movement.

A number of medications and remedies, especially narcotic pain relievers, can cause constipation.

Women are often affected, due to pregnancy and other hormonal changes. Young children who demand low-fiber or "junk food" diets are also susceptible.

Constipation is a condition, not a disease, and most of the time is easily corrected. If simple adjustments in diet, exercise, and bowel habits don't help, a doctor can be consulted to rule out a more serious cause.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: abdominal pain (stomach ache), nausea, stomach bloating, constipation, constipation

Symptoms that always occur with normal variation of constipation: constipation

Symptoms that never occur with normal variation of constipation: vomiting

Urgency: Self-treatment

Chronic constipation

Constipation is a very common condition affecting the large intestine. It is characterized by difficulty passing stool, or passing stool less often. Commonly it is linked to not eating enough dietary fiber, not drinking enough fluids, or not getting enough exercise. Some medications can cause constipation as well.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: stomach bloating, constipation, abdominal cramps (stomach cramps), pain when passing stools, rectal bleeding

Symptoms that always occur with chronic constipation: constipation

Symptoms that never occur with chronic constipation: unintentional weight loss

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Medication-related constipation

Many different medications can cause constipation by affecting the muscles of the intestines. It is often not possible to stop these medications since they are usually very important to the patient's general health. Thus, dietary changes and/or laxatives may be needed to keep things moving.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: constipation, abdominal cramps (stomach cramps), pain when passing stools, straining while passing stool, feeling of needing to constantly pass stool

Symptoms that always occur with medication-related constipation: constipation

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Opioid-related constipation

Opioids (oxycodone, morphine, percocet, fentanyl) are powerful pain relievers that act on different chemical receptors throughout the body. In the intestines, opioids signal the gut to slow down movement, leading to constipation.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: constipation, feeling of needing to constantly pass stool, straining while passing stool, hard stools, pain in the lower left abdomen

Symptoms that always occur with opioid-related constipation: constipation

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Straining While Passing Stool Symptom Checker

Take a quiz to find out what might be causing your straining while passing stool

Anal fissure

An anal fissure is a break, or tear, in the mucous membrane lining of the anus. The anus is the opening at the end of the digestive tract where stool leaves the body. A fissure is caused primarily by constipation, which leads to straining to pass large hard stools; trauma caused by insertion of objec...

Chronic anal fissure

Anal fissures are splits or tears in the part of the anus closest outside of the body. They're very common and typically affect the young and middle-aged and both genders, equally. 11% of people will have an anal fissure in their lifetime.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: rectal pain, pain when passing stools, painful rectal bleeding, hard stools, mild rectal bleeding

Symptoms that never occur with chronic anal fissure: unintentional weight loss

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Constipation resulting from dehydration

Constipation means difficulty in passing bowel movements. A common cause of constipation is dehydration, or insufficient water in the body. If the contents of the bowel are not kept full and lubricated by plenty of fluid, the waste can become dry and packed and very hard to pass.

Most susceptible are pregnant women, especially those with a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum. This syndrome causes severe nausea and vomiting throughout most of the pregnancy and can easily lead to dehydration.

Anyone with an illness that causes prolonged vomiting and diarrhea will soon become dehydrated. A number of prescription medications can act as diuretics, meaning they cause the body to lose extra fluid through the urine.

The use of alcohol, or illegal drugs such as cocaine, also has a very dehydrating effect. The ill effects called a "hangover" that often happen after a night of drinking are actually due to the dehydration caused by the alcohol.

Treatment involves rehydrating, either with plain water by mouth or, in severe cases, hospitalization for IV fluid rehydration.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: constipation, constipation, general abdominal pain, pain in the lower left abdomen, pain when passing stools

Symptoms that always occur with constipation resulting from dehydration: constipation

Symptoms that never occur with constipation resulting from dehydration: vomiting

Urgency: Self-treatment

Constipation from not eating enough fiber

Constipation is defined as having stools which are large, hard, and difficult to pass. This leaves the person feeling bloated and uncomfortable. Many things can cause constipation, and a common one is lack of fiber in the diet.

To determine whether lack of fiber is causing the constipation, all other causes are first ruled out:

  • Not drinking enough water, sometimes to the point of dehydration.
  • Lack of exercise, which helps increase blood circulation and therefore motility (contraction and movement) of the bowel.
  • A very low or no-fat diet.
  • A need for probiotics, which replenish the "good" bacteria in the gut.
  • Medications, or certain illnesses, which have a constipating effect.
  • Constantly ignoring the feeling of needing to move the bowels, and delaying going to the toilet.

If fiber is needed, the best sources are fresh vegetables; fresh or dried fruits; and whole wheat and brown rice, because those include the fiber-rich bran. Over-the-counter fiber tablets can be tried, though laxatives should only be used if recommended by a medical provider.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: constipation, constipation, pain in the lower left abdomen, pain when passing stools, feeling of needing to constantly pass stool

Symptoms that always occur with constipation from not eating enough fiber: constipation, constipation

Symptoms that never occur with constipation from not eating enough fiber: vomiting

Urgency: Self-treatment

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Straining While Passing Stool

To diagnose this condition, your doctor would likely ask the following questions:

  • Were you ever exposed to a dangerous, violent or life-threatening situation?
  • Have you been on any prescription medications lately?
  • Does anyone in your family suffer from constipation?
  • Have you experienced any nausea?

The above questions are also covered by our A.I. Health Assistant.

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions

Take a quiz to find out what might be causing your straining while passing stool

Straining While Passing Stool Symptom Checker Statistics

People who have experienced straining while passing stool have also experienced:

  • 10% Feeling Of Needing To Constantly Pass Stool
  • 9% Abdominal Pain (Stomach Ache)
  • 8% Constipation

People who have experienced straining while passing stool were most often matched with:

  • 42% Chronic Constipation
  • 42% Medication-Related Constipation
  • 14% Normal Variation Of Constipation

Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

Straining While Passing Stool Symptom Checker

Take a quiz to find out what might be causing your straining while passing stool

Disclaimer: The article does not replace an evaluation by a physician. Information on this page is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes.