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Hard stool Assessment Questionnaire

Questions Your Doctor May Ask - and Why!

During a consultation, your doctor will use various techniques to assess the symptom: Hard stool. These will include a physical examination and possibly diagnostic tests. (Note: A physical exam is always done, diagnostic tests may or may not be performed depending on the suspected condition) Your doctor will ask several questions when assessing your condition. It is important to openly share any pertinent information to help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis.

It is also very important to bring an up-to-date list of all of your all medical conditions, medications including dosages, and names of numbers of any specialist you see.

Create your printable checklist by answering questions that your doctor may ask below:

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  1. When did the hard stools start?

    Why: to determine if acute or chronic e.g. if acute may suggest intestinal obstruction or bowel cancer. If hard stools are chronic need to investigate the dietary history, emotional status and toilet habits. Frequency of bowel movements? - to establish severity.

  2. Consistency of bowel movements?

    Why: to establish if true constipation i.e. less than 3 stools per week or stools that are hard to evacuate.

  3. Dietary history?

    Why: e.g. fast food is usually devoid of fiber; weight loss diets may be low in fiber; lack of dietary fiber in diet e.g. fruit, vegetables and wholemeal products.

  4. Toilet habits over the life span?

    Why: e.g. a common cause of chronic constipation or hard stools is the habitual neglect of the impulse to defecate leading to accumulation of large, dry faecal masses which causes constant rectal distension from feces and consequent reduced awareness of rectal fullness.

  5. Past medical history?

    Why: e.g. certain conditions may predispose to constipation or hard stools including depression, hypothyroidism, hypocalcaemia ( low calcium in blood), diabetes, phaeochromocytoma, porphyria, hypokalaemia (low potassium in blood).

  6. Past history of neurological conditions?

    Why: e.g. aganglionosis, Hirschsprung's disease, autonomic neuropathy, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis.

  7. Past obstetric history?

    Why: e.g. difficult prolonged vaginal deliveries - damage to the pelvic floor muscles or nerves may cause constipation or hard stools.

  8. Medication?

    Why: e.g. hard stools may arise from ingestion of drugs e.g. codeine, antidepressants, aluminium or calcium antacids, antispasmodics for ulcer or urinary incontinence; the chronic use of laxatives can also lead to lazy bowel.

  9. Bloody stool with painful evacuation?

    Why: may suggest hemorrhoids or anal fissure. If defecation is painful it may cause you to delay moving your bowels due to fear of the pain which may further perpetuate the problem.

  10. Bloody stool with painless evacuation?

    Why: may suggest colon cancer or diverticulitis.

  11. Blood and mucous in the stool?

    Why: may suggest inflammatory bowel disease.

  12. Fecal incontinence?

    Why: may suggest constipation with overflow of liquid feces. This can occur in children and adults.

  13. Symptoms of intestinal obstruction?

    Why: e.g. abdominal pain, vomiting, loud bowel sounds.

  14. Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome?

    Why: e.g. passage of pellet-like stools, alternating constipation and diarrhea, associated with abdominal pain which is relieved by defecation, passage of mucous per rectum, feeling of incomplete emptying of the rectum after defection and visible abdominal distention.

  15. Symptoms of bowel cancer?

    Why: e.g. may also have alternating constipation and diarrhea, rectal bleeding or bloody stool, weight loss.

  16. Urinary retention?

    Why: suggest neurological conditions.

  17. Pregnant?

    Why: constipation or hard stools are a common problem in pregnancy.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Hard stool:

The following list of conditions have 'Hard stool' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Hard stool or choose View All.


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