My Poop Is Too Big To Come Out And Hurts

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Toilet time is something we’ve been used to doing all of our memorable lives. It’s normally so simple – go in, take nature’s call and go out. The thing is, it’s not always as easy at that!

Struggling to poop when it’s too big or really hurts is something we could do without in our lives! But what can we do when this happens?

Getting the stool a little bit out and not finishing the job is incredibly frustrating and can be very upsetting or uncomfortable.

This article will look at what you can do when your poop is too big to come out and it hurts, and even bleeds. We’ll also take a look at the potential reasons for this. 

Why Won’t My Poop Just Come Out?

Stool being stuck midway out of your anal canal can be caused by a variety of reasons. Some of the most common reasons are:

1. Constipation 

Failing to naturally pass at least 3 bowel movements in a week or being unable to properly evacuate can be defined as constipation.

Normally, you’ll notice that you’re straining, your poop is very hard or that you feel you haven’t fully evacuated after your toilet visit. 

Chronic constipation occurs when this happens frequently or all the time. Normally, your doctor will be able to suggest some medications for this – the same applies if you’re having infrequent constipation and just need some help on an as needed basis. 

Serious issues arise when constipation is caused by an internal blockage. This is because the blockage might be caused by something serious such as cancer or a twisted intestine.

In these cases, passage of stool and gas could cease and abdominal pain or distension could develop. If a blockage is not complete, there may be a change in stool caliber. 

Constipation will mean that your stool isn’t being moved at its usual pace through the body, and therefore is likely to be stuck due to its abnormal size and hard or dry texture.

2. Impacted Stool 

Fecal impaction is normally a result of long term constipation and normally results in very hard and dry poop that collects in the rectum.

It can be extremely serious and in some rare cases, can be life threatening if it leads to obstruction of the function of colon or rectal ulceration and bleeding. The symptoms of fecal impaction can include abdominal pain, blood in the stool and painful bloating. 

3. Medical Conditions 

There can be various pre-existing medical conditions that can lead to painful pooping. These can include: 

  • Crohn’s Disease or ulcerative colitis: Inflammatory bowel diseases that can alter your normal bowel movements 
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome: IBS is a gastrointestinal condition that manifests itself through intestinal symptoms that can be mild to severe, including constipation as one subtype
  • Parkinson’s Disease and other neurodegenerative diseases: Neurological conditions. One early sign of this is constipation. 
  • Hypothyroidism: A thyroid condition. Your thyroid will regulate how your body can use its level of energy (taken in from foods and fluids).  One sign of hypothyroidism is constipation, but in most cases other symptoms like fatigue or cold intolerance are also present. 
  • Nerve injury: Nerves within the digestive tract may not be working correctly, preventing the natural movements of the bowels. This can occur due to prior surgeries.
  • Hirschsprung’s Disease: A condition that prevents normal bowel movements and causes poop to get stuck due to a congenital abnormality in the anorectal nerve supply. 
  • Medications: All medications can have potential complications, and constipation is a common side effect. This can occur with medications that are used to treat anxiety and depression, seizures and even high blood pressure.

4. Poor Lifestyle And Diet 

Lack of regular exercise and a poor diet with low fiber can all contribute to not pooping properly. The lack of enough water can also do this as it can lead to harder poops due to water being reabsorbed from the colon and drying out stool.

I’m Pregnant And Cannot Poop – Why?

Typically, this can be a result of hormonal changes that occur with pregnancy. There could also be lifestyle choices that affect your bowel habits too.

If you eat poorly and lack adequate water intake, this could make constipation worse. Fluid requirements increase in pregnancy. Typical first trimester nausea and vomiting can also make fluid and fiber intake difficult. 

How to Have Smoother Bowel Movements? 

There are plenty of things to try before the need to panic. Some early treatments you could try include:

Lifestyle Changes 

Simply getting a good diet high in fiber, plenty of water and some exercise into your daily routine can get the body’s natural movements working as it should.

Along with helping your body shift the stool, exercise can promote increased water intake (preventing hard/dry stools) and will overall boost your body’s health and your mental health! 

Your diet should be rich in fiber to help your healthy poop. Try eating fruits and vegetables along with whole grains.

Consult with your doctor first and always check the labels on foods.

Remedies For Home 

If your bowel problems aren’t an immediate medical emergency, you could try drinking green tea or taking probiotic supplements. The efficacy of these is debated though, so be cautious. 

Over The Counter Medications 

It’s important to note that constipation can sometimes take several days to improve.

Having said that, some over the counter medications you can try include:

  • Suppositories: Medication that is inserted into the rectum that helps stimulate bowel contractions. Learn more in this article – How Do Suppositories Work for Constipation?
  • Oral Laxatives and stool softeners: Medications that can soften the stool, increase the stool’s water content or lubricate the stool to assist in the expulsion. Some laxatives can stimulate bowel contractions but can cause cramping and urgency.
  • Enema: An introduction of water or medication into the rectum which can lead to a more immediate expulsion of stool.

You’ll need to seek advice before taking any of these medications. Incorrect use or dosage can worsen the symptoms of your constipation. 

Medical Intervention 

If you’ve failed over the counter medications and fiber, your doctor may recommend a prescription medication to help with constipation.

Some of these increase fluid content within the bowel to help soften stool and speed it along. Other medications stimulate bowel motility.  

In some cases, your doctor may recommend imaging like an x-ray or CT scan to assess how much stool is in the colon, look for an obstruction or a fecal impaction. 

A colonoscopy may also be needed, especially in cases of new onset constipation, associated anemia or rectal bleeding.

What NOT To Do

There are a few things you absolutely should not do when you can’t poop properly. Doing any of the following can cause further problems:

Forcing The Poop Out 

You might think it will help to push harder, but it doesn’t. It’s likely to cause problems like hemorrhoids, anal bleeding, extreme pain or fissures of the anus. 

Using Your Fingers Or Objects To Get The Poop Out 

You can damage the tissue if your rectum and anal canal when introducing a foreign object into it. Only a trained professional should be manually disimpacting stool.

In some cases, having to apply pressure to your pelvic floor (around your vagina or anus) can be a sign of pelvic floor dysfunction or dyssynergic defecation. Speak with your doctor about this as additional testing may be needed. 

Drinking Alcohol

The dehydrating effect from alcohol can make your poop harder and worsen constipation.

Eating A Huge Meal

Your body might not even let you, but it is unwise to eat a huge (particularly unhealthy) meal. Some people add too much fiber instantly to their diet in an effort to relieve their bowel issues.

The fact is, you should slowly introduce fiber to avoid further problems like bloating and trapped gas.

Avoiding The Toilet 

Sometimes, the pain can make people think twice about going to the toilet. However, it’s better to stick to a routine – even if you think you “can’t go.” 

Your body requires relaxation and this can take a little while. Avoid the urge to push and strain right away, and just try to let it happen naturally.

Chronic stool withholding (getting the urge but avoiding a trip to the bathroom due to lack of convenience or time) can lead to chronic constipation.

It’s important to listen to your body and go when you get the urge. 

When To Seek Medical Advice 

If you’ve sought any basic advice, tried home remedies and lifestyle changes and have had no change to your bowel movements in 3 days – speak with your doctor.

If you’re in severe pain, notice blood or develop nausea and vomiting, you will also need to get in contact with your physician immediately. 

As always, changing your lifestyle will require a medical consultation before doing so. 

Potential Complications Of Stuck Poop

There are some surprising risks of having poop stuck. These can include: 

  • Lower blood pressure 
  • High heart rate 
  • Infections 
  • Lightheadedness 
  • Ulceration of the bowel
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Anal fissure 


Maintaining a healthy lifestyle with plenty of exercise, a high fiber diet and plenty of water is the best way to keep your bowel movements regular.

Regular bowel movements should prevent painful stool and allow you to poop before it’s too big. 

Can I Do Anything For The Pain?

Taking acetaminophen (Tylenol) can help with generalized pain.

If you’re having abdominal cramps or spasms, peppermint oil capsules like IBGard or Pepogest may help. 

For anal pain, topical lidocaine can help with pain related to fissures and hemorrhoids. One common brand we recommend is Recticare.

You’d be better off sticking to a healthy lifestyle and seeing your doctor as soon as you possibly can. A doctor may be able to prescribe medication to help with pain and more regular bowel movements. 

Last update on 2023-01-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Stool is Too Big Final Thoughts

The key points you should know are that when stool is too big to come out and it hurts, it can be really upsetting but is generally not a medical emergency.

However, inaction to help the problem can lead to serious complications and the constipation itself can be a sign of something more serious. 

It is wise to try and follow a healthy routine. Keep a food diary to see if any foods are worsening your constipation and try to maintain a regular exercise schedule.

However, the problem is likely to return in your lifetime – the prevention steps can make the frequency of it low. 

The most important of all the points is that you should consult with a medical specialist if you’re having severe pain or getting nowhere with the home remedies and over the counter medications.

Never try to solve the problem “manually” as it can cause further pain or discomfort. 

Problems pooping can be embarrassing to talk about, but help is out there. It’s always better to tell your doctor.

Read more about other stool issues here:

Written and Medically Reviewed By

  • Sheila Jennings

    Sheila Jennings is a 4th-year medical student and also freelances as a content writer on gut health, nutrition, and food. She lives with IBS and has learned how to keep her symptoms at bay through a healthy diet and exercise. She wants to educate others on what they can do to take back control of their gut health and live like they used to.

  • Julie Guider, M.D.

    Dr. Julie Guider earned her medical degree from Louisiana State University School of Medicine. She completed residency in internal medicine at the University of Virginia. She completed her general gastroenterology and advanced endoscopy fellowships at University of Texas-Houston. She is a member of several national GI societies including the AGA, ACG, and ASGE as well as state and local medical societies.