A stool that’s stuck halfway out can be a sign of constipation or fecal impaction. Walking around, drinking water, or taking a laxative can often help you pass it. But some signs can point to a medical emergency.

Squirming to pass a stool is anything but pleasant. It happens to a lot of people and is even common in babies as they switch from a liquid diet to solid foods.

Impacted stool can cause poop to get stuck. But having your poop stuck halfway out doesn’t always point to impaction. Everyday constipation is another possible culprit.

Poop stuck halfway out of your anal canal is an awkward feeling, but it isn’t necessarily an emergency. Some causes might require medical treatment, while others will resolve with home remedies.

Common causes of your poop stuck halfway out include:

Fecal impaction

Also known as impacted stool, this condition causes dry, hard stools too. It often results from prolonged constipation, which blocks stools in your rectum.

It’s a more serious condition. In fact, although rare, it can be life-threatening if left untreated and lead to a colon obstruction.


Constipation refers to passing fewer than three bowel movements a week or having difficulty fully passing stool.

It’s usually not a medical emergency, but sometimes an intestinal blockage can lead to impaction.

Other medical causes

Keep in mind that some gastrointestinal conditions have constipation as a symptom. If left untreated, these can also lead to impacted stool. Impaction might occur if you have:

Lifestyle and diet

Lifestyle habits can contribute to poop getting stuck halfway out. Some dietary and daily habits can cause constipation, such as a sedentary lifestyle and eating a low-fiber diet.

For example, not drinking enough water or eating enough fiber can cause stools to become dry and hard, potentially causing poop to get stuck halfway out.

What can cause poop to become stuck halfway out while pregnant?

You can blame this discomfort on shifting hormones during pregnancy. An increase in the hormone progesterone relaxes your body’s muscles, causing stools to move slower through your intestinal tract.

The increase in progesterone often leads to constipation in pregnancy, causing poop to become stuck. Other causes also include:

  • being less active while pregnant
  • not drinking enough water
  • eating too little fiber

Why does baby poop get stuck halfway out?

During the first several months of life, a baby eats a liquid diet before transitioning to solid foods.

Sometimes, the transition from liquid to solids is a shock to their systems. And as a result, their poop becomes hard and dry until they adjust.

Home remedies and medical treatment can relieve poop that’s stuck halfway out. Possible solutions include:

Home remedies

Oftentimes, the condition is dry, hard stools, and not a medical emergency. Start by increasing your fiber intake, which makes it easier to pass tools. This includes eating more:

  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • whole grains

You can also increase your water intake to keep stools soft, as well as increase physical activity. Exercise stimulates intestinal movement, making it easier to pass stools.

These strategies can also help you prevent stuck stoop from developing in the first place.

Over-the-counter medications

If you experience constipation, it might take a few days for home remedies to take effect. But the following over-the-counter medications (OTC) may relieve symptoms:

Use laxatives as directed by your doctor and for no more than a week. Overuse can worsen constipation.

Medical treatment and prescription medications

For chronic constipation, talk with a doctor about prescription drugs to regulate bowel activity. If you have an underlying gastrointestinal condition, treating it can help relieve constipation.

If prolonged constipation causes fecal impaction, a doctor may prescribe or recommend a suppository or enema to soften any stool present in your rectum.

Your doctor might even recommend a colonoscopy to look for possible blockages in your colon. If that’s the case, you might need surgery to remove the blockage.

If you have poop that’s stuck halfway out, avoid worsening the situation. Here’s what not to do:

Digging the stool out with your fingers

When your stool is stuck halfway out, manually removing it from your rectum might seem like a simple solution. But don’t insert your finger in the rectum.

Digging out the stool can damage the soft tissue at the opening of your anus, resulting in anal tears and bleeding. Only a doctor should manually remove poop from the rectum.

Forcing it out

You might feel the urge to strain and force the stool out. However, straining to empty your rectum can cause other conditions like hemorrhoids and anal fissures. These can cause bleeding and rectal pain.

If you have poop stuck halfway out, start with home remedies.

A poop stuck halfway out isn’t usually a medical emergency. But in the case of a severe fecal impaction, you may need to go to the hospital.

Medical emergency

If waste can’t leave your body, you may develop:

  • severe abdominal pain
  • vomiting
  • headache
  • rapid heart rate
  • dehydration
  • fever
  • confusion

Call 911 and go to the nearest emergency room if you develop any of these symptoms.

Poop stuck halfway out due to constipation is mostly uncomfortable and there’s a low risk of complications. In the case of fecal impaction, possible complications include:

  • bowel ulceration
  • hemorrhoids
  • peritonitis (infection of your gastrointestinal system)
  • low blood pressure
  • loss of consciousness
  • chills
  • dizziness
  • rapid heart rate

My poop won’t come out and it hurts. What do I do?

There are various reasons why your stool might be stuck and painful to pass. Depending on the cause, you can try eating more fiber to soften your stool or use an over-the-counter softener like Miralax. Exercise and abdominal massage might also help. If none of these work to release the stool and reduce your pain, see your doctor.

Learn more about ways to release hard stool.

What toilet positions can help?

You can try to place your feet on a higher surface like a footstool when you sit. Next, lean forward with your elbows on your knees. Keep your back straight and blow out your abdomen like a balloon. Relax your anal sphincter and breath deeply.

What will the ER do for impacted stool?

If you are unable to release stool on your own, doctors in the emergency room can do a few things to help. First, they may try a manual with their hands, a scope, and suction. The next option is administering an enema or suppository through a catheter. In rare cases, you may need surgery to remove the stool.

How do you remove impacted stool manually?

You should not try to remove your stool manually yourself because you risk injuring yourself and making the impaction worse. Manual removal is something only a doctor should do.

Having poop stuck halfway out can feel uncomfortable and embarrassing to talk about. But this condition happens to many people.

Oftentimes, poop that’s stuck is a simple fix. If it’s due to stool impaction, though, connect with a doctor to avoid serious complications.

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