Can Hemorrhoids Cause Narrow Stools?

Written by: Jessica Guht Reviewed by: Amy Dougherty, FNP-BC, AGAC
Jessica Guht
Categorized as Hemorrhoids
Jessica Guht
Categorized as Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids can cause narrow stools. If you suspect that you have hemorrhoids then you will want to get on top of the issue as quickly as possible. If you don’t then you may find that you end up suffering more than you need to, but in reality, all of this can be avoided if you simply take the time to understand how hemorrhoids could be affecting your bowel movements and your stools.

Table of Contents

Can Hemorrhoids Cause Narrow Stools?

Yes, hemorrhoids can cause narrow stools. Hemorrhoids may well come with a number of causes, but a lot of the time, increased pressure in your abdomen can play a major role.

If you have a lot of constipation, then this can lead to you straining during a bowel movement. This can bring on hemorrhoids.

If you often lift heavy objects or if you are always sitting for long periods of time, then this can also go on to impact you.

Pregnancy, diarrhea and even being obese can also contribute to hemorrhoids. It is said that up to 38% of pregnant women experience hemorrhoids during their third trimester.

Can Hemorrhoids Change The Shape Of Your Stool?

There are a lot of different types of hemorrhoids, and if you want to diagnose the ones that you may have, then it is important to look at the symptoms that each one causes. If you have external hemorrhoids, then you may find that this causes a lot of itching or irritation around your anus. You may also experience anal swelling or bleeding.

Internal hemorrhoids are within your rectum. Normally you cannot see them or feel them and most of the time they will not cause you discomfort. If you strain when making a bowel movement, then you may experience painless bleeding. You might also notice very small amounts of red blood on your tissue when you go to the bathroom.

Lastly, you have thrombosed hemorrhoids. This type forms a clot that results in swelling, severe pain, a lot of inflammation, and a very hard lump that is near to your anus. If you have any of the above hemorrhoids, then it is possible for this to change the shape of your stool but usually, this will depend on how severe your hemorrhoids are in the first place.

It’s entirely possible to have hemorrhoids and not have them change the size or the shape of your stool.

What Can Cause Narrow Stool?

There are many different causes of a narrow stool. If you suspect that you have narrow stools or if you are worried about your stools changing shape, then the only thing that you have to do is take a look below.


Constipation is essentially when you go for a bowel movement three times a week or less. It can also come with many different symptoms. Narrow stools or pencil stools might not always be a sign that you are constipated though.

If your stool always looks this way, then there may be another issue. If the thin stool has appeared to come on quickly, then constipation could be to blame. Constipation usually comes down to a lack of fiber in your diet, or the fact that you are not getting enough exercise.

Colorectal Cancer

Another option would be colorectal cancer. If you have a stool that is pencil-thin, and it has gotten this way over a period of time then you could have colorectal cancer. This is not common at all. Even though the gradual narrowing of your stool can be colorectal cancer, it is usually accompanied by other symptoms that are less serious.

If you suspect that you could have colorectal cancer, then you may suffer from anemia, stomach pain, bloating, unexplained weight loss, vomiting, changes in your bowel movements and blood in your stool.

Anal Cancer

Narrowing of the stool could also indicate anal cancer. This is a rare form of cancer, and it starts in your anus. Stools that gradually become narrower is a sign of anal cancer and it is usually caused by the HPV virus. If this is the case then you may have a full feeling, or bleeding in your rectum. You may also find that accompanying this, you have a strange rectal discharge as well as swollen lymph nodes.

When to See a Doctor?

If you have bleeding when you have bowel movements or if you have hemorrhoids that do not improve after a set period of time, usually a week, then this indicates that it is time for you to have a chat with your doctor. You should never assume that rectal bleeding is the result of your hemorrhoids. 

This is especially the case if you have changes in your bowel habits as well, or if you have stools that have changed in consistency or color. If you have large amounts of rectal bleeding or if you feel faint, then this is a strong indicator that it is time for you to go and see your doctor.

How Can an Online Doctor Help?

If you are worried about your hemorrhoids or your rectal bleeding, then you can always consult with an online doctor. This is a great option if you do not have the time to go and see your doctor in person, or if you are worried about discussing this issue with them face-to-face. With an online consultation, you can rest assured that your conversation will be confidential and that you will receive expert medical advice.

With DrHouse, you can start an on-demand visit with a licensed and experienced doctor within minutes, from the comfort of your own home. Our clinicians can provide you with a diagnosis and treatment plan for your hemorrhoids and prescribe any medication needed, as well as offer guidance on how to prevent them from returning in the future.

We offer a convenient, affordable, and confidential way to get the medical care and advice that you need. Schedule a visit today!

Key Takeaways

So, what are the key takeaways here? Ultimately, it is important to know that hemorrhoids are not dangerous, and although they can cause discomfort or narrow stools, a lot of the time they do not have any symptoms at all. If you suspect that you have hemorrhoids, then you can seek treatment from your doctor. Signs of hemorrhoids include:

  • Itching anus
  •  Lumps around your anus
  • Pain and discomfort
  • Bright red blood after passing a stool
  • Feeling pressure
  • Mucus in your underwear or toilet

Of course, if you have experienced a narrow stool that has gradually gotten worse with time then this is a sign that you need to go and see your doctor. When you do, they can then advise you on what you can do to try and get to the root of the issue. They can also recommend you to a specialist if they find that your symptoms do not align with hemorrhoids at all.

When you see your doctor, they can give you creams and lotions to help soothe the pain, and they can also give you something for the itching as well giving you the relief you are looking for.


  • W H F Thomson, The nature of haemorrhoids, British Journal of Surgery, Volume 62, Issue 7, July 1975, Pages 542–552,
  • Park SH, Song CW, Kim YB, et al. Clinicopathological characteristics of colon cancer diagnosed at primary health care institutions. Intest Res. 2014;12(2):131-138. doi: 
  • DeMaeyer E, Adiels-Tegman M. The prevalence of anaemia in the world. World Health Stat Q. 1985;38(3):302-16. English, French. PMID: 3878044.
  • Laurent Dukas, Walter C. Willett, Graham A. Colditz, Charles S. Fuchs, Bernard Rosner, Edward L. Giovannucci, Prospective Study of Bowel Movement, Laxative Use, and Risk of Colorectal Cancer among Women, American Journal of Epidemiology, Volume 151, Issue 10, 15 May 2000, Pages 958–964,
  • FRANCIS J. TEDESCO, JEROME D. WAYE, JEFFREY B. RASKIN, et al; Colonoscopic Evaluation of Rectal Bleeding: A Study of 304 Patients. Ann Intern Med.1978;89:907-909. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-89-6-907
  • Aichbichler, B.W., Wenzl, H.H., Ana, C.A.S. et al. A Comparison of Stool Characteristics from Normal and Constipated People. Dig Dis Sci 43, 2353–2362 (1998). 

DrHouse articles are written by MDs, NPs, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. The contents of the DrHouse site are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you are experiencing high fever (>103F/39.4C), shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest pain, heart palpitations, abnormal bruising, abnormal bleeding, extreme fatigue, dizziness, new weakness or paralysis, difficulty with speech, confusion, extreme pain in any body part, or inability to remain hydrated or keep down fluids or feel you may have any other life-threatening condition, please go to the emergency department or call 911 immediately.

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