Everything You Need to Know About Pebble Poop

Pebble poop—small, hard poop that's shaped like pellets—is usually a sign of constipation, or infrequent bowel movements. Most often, constipation happens if your diet is low in fiber. Hydration and physical activity can also play a role. Constipation can also occur with certain medications or medical conditions that interfere with the functioning of your bowels.

This article discusses potential causes, complications, and treatment of pebble poop, as well as when to see a healthcare provider.

what makes your stool look like rabbit pellets?
Illustration by Joshua Seong, Verywell

What Is Pebble Poop?

Pebble poop is small, hard, pellet-like stool (poop) that comes out when you have a bowel movement.

Stool works its way through the digestive tract as the body digests and absorbs the nutrients from food and drinks. The large intestine helps concentrate stool by absorbing water. But if it remains in the large intestine too long, the stool dries out and looks like little rocks or pebbles that can be in one large mass or it can break into smaller lumps (pebbles) of stool.

Along with pebble poop being dry and hard, other symptoms can include:

  • Bowel movements that are difficult or painful to pass
  • Bowel movements less than three times per week
  • A feeling that not all stool has passed
  • A streak of blood in your stool

What Causes Pebble Poop?

Pebble poop is usually a sign of constipation. Constipation can be caused by dietary and lifestyle factors, as well as medications and health conditions.

Too Little Fiber

The size of your stool is influenced by the amount of fiber you consume. Plant-based fiber from vegetables, fruits, and whole grains adds bulk to your stool, promotes fermentation, and creates a gel that keeps poop from breaking into pieces.

If you have enough fiber in your diet, your stool should be soft, well-formed, and easy to pass. With too little fiber, your stool is more likely to be hard, dark, pebble-like, and difficult to pass.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends 38 grams of fiber daily for males and 25 grams for females under the age of 50, yet on average adults consume less than 15 grams of fiber per day.

If you're not sure how much fiber you're eating, try keeping a food diary or using a diet-related smartphone app to track your fiber intake. That way you can see if you are getting enough fiber and increase your intake if needed.

Here are some fiber-rich foods to add to your diet:

 Food  Grams of Fiber
Lentils 15.6 per cup
Avocados 7.8 per half-cup
Raspberries 8 per cup, raw
Green peas 7 per cup
Chia seeds 5.5 per tablespoon
Oatmeal 4 per cup, cooked
Almonds 3.3 per 24 nuts
Ground flaxseed  1.9 per tablespoon

Increase your intake gradually to avoid bloating and gas. Fiber supplements can also help if you are still having constipation after increasing fiber intake.

Not Enough Fluids

Fiber and water work together: Fiber absorbs water which softens the stool and adds bulk, making them easier to pass. If you aren't drinking enough water, you may be dehydrated which contributes to dry, hard stools.

It's recommended that men consume about 13 cups and women consume 9 cups of fluids from all sources daily, which includes sources such as fruits, vegetables, herbal teas, juices, soups, and non-caffeinated beverages.

However, factors like age, body weight, activity level, weather, and certain health conditions may require increasing or decreasing your fluid intake. If you're unsure how much water is right for you, talk to a healthcare provider.


Your constipation may have nothing to do with fiber or water. In some cases, the drugs or supplements you take can alter the way your body digests food.

These include medications such as:

If you take any of these and are constipated, tell your healthcare provider. In some cases, the drug dose may be adjusted or the treatment changed. Stool softeners may also help ease the passing of stools.

Lifestyle Factors

Spending many hours sitting at your desk or leading a sedentary lifestyle can slow digestion. By contrast, being active stimulates the digestive tract and keeps the abdominal wall muscles strong, both of which help bowel movements to be regular.

If you are stuck at a desk, get up and move every hour or so to improve your digestion. It also helps to exercise regularly because physical activity promotes the movement of stool through the intestines. Even 30 minutes of low-impact activity every day, such as a brisk walk, can help.

Make time to go to the bathroom if you feel the urge to go. Ignoring the urge can make constipation worse.

You can also try getting up earlier to eat breakfast, which can promote bowel movements before your day really gets started.

Health Conditions

Constipation can sometimes be a sign of an underlying health condition. Some conditions can slow the movement of stool through the gut, while others reduce the level of digestive enzymes the body produces.

Conditions linked to constipation include:

In cases like these, constipation is usually treated with diet, exercise, laxatives, and/or stool softeners. The treatment of the underlying condition is also crucial.

Complications of Pebble Poop

Pebble poop should not be ignored because constipation, if left untreated, can lead to complications, such as:

  • Hemorrhoids: Swollen and inflamed veins in the rectum or anus caused by straining
  • Anal fissure: A tear or crack in the tissue of the anus that causes pain and bleeding when passing a bowel movement
  • Rectal prolapse: A portion of the rectum (the last part of the colon) protrudes through the anal opening
  • Fecal impaction: A state of prolonged constipation where dry, hard stool is stuck in the rectum.

Treatment Options for Pebble Poop

If symptoms are mild or pebble poop comes and goes, home remedies may solve the problem. If home remedies don't resolve your symptoms, medical treatments may be needed.

At-Home Treatments

Try these tips to treat constipation at home:

  • Increase fiber in your diet: Choose fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, and lentils regularly.
  • Drink plenty of fluids: Drink mostly water, along with non-caffeinated beverages such as juice and herbal tea.
  • Be active: Daily physical activity helps stimulate the intestinal tract (peristalsis) to promote bowel movements.
  • Try over-the-counter medicines: Products such as fiber supplements, stool softeners, and osmotic agents (Milk of Magnesia and Miralax) may improve bowel movement regularity.
  • Try bowel training: Try to have a bowel movement 15 to 45 minutes after breakfast. Put your feet on a stool, and use the bathroom as soon as you feel the need to go (don't try to hold it).

Medical Treatments

Along with at-home remedies, your healthcare provider may suggest:

  • Prescription medicines: To increase fluid in the digestive tract or help the colon move stool through the intestines.
  • Biofeedback training: To retrain muscles involved in having bowel movements.
  • Surgery: Although uncommon, recommended if complications develop

When to See a Healthcare Provider

Having small, hard pebble stools from time to time is usually nothing to worry about. However, speak with a healthcare provider if they last for longer than two weeks and you don't know why.

If hard, pebble-like stools are accompanied by symptoms such as cramping, fever, nausea, vomiting, or rectal bleeding, see a healthcare provider immediately. These could be signs of a more serious health issue.


Constipation with small, hard, pebble-like stools is generally a sign of a low-fiber diet. Other contributing factors include drinking too little water or having an inactive lifestyle.

Certain medications and medical conditions can also cause constipation, even if you are active and consume plenty of fiber.

If constipation lasts more than two weeks and has no known cause, speak with a healthcare provider.

11 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Cathy Wong
Cathy Wong is a nutritionist and wellness expert. Her work is regularly featured in media such as First For Women, Woman's World, and Natural Health.