I See My Pills Coming Out Whole in My Poop. Is This Normal?

Sometimes you may see some undigested pills in your stool. You might wonder if there is something wrong with your digestion, if you absorbed the pills, and whether your medication will work like it’s supposed to.

Don’t fret. Finding pills in your stool isn’t a sign of an unhealthy digestive system. Learn the possible reasons why your drugs are not dissolved and how to take pills effectively in this article.

Why Do My Pills Come Out Whole in My Poop?

There’s a list of possibilities on why you’re pooping out whole pills. The cause may differ for every person. It can be a digestive issue, or your medication wasn’t effective. Let’s break down the common causes of undigested pills in stool below!

Drug Coatings and Shells

Medications have different coatings and shells depending on the drug and its purpose. If you are taking “Extended Release” drugs that are purposely designed to be digested slower, chances are that your body has absorbed the content of the capsule but has not broken down its outer shell.

Extended Release capsules are usually taken orally and can last up to 8 – 12 hours in the body until fully absorbed. So, if you see undigested medication in your stool, these could be ghost pills, empty shells, and drug coatings.

If you are worried that you have ejected the drug, you can check if there is drug residue in the expelled shell.

Absorption Problems

There are some things that can lead to undigested capsules in your stool.

Intestinal Motility Disorder is the abnormal contraction of the intestine that prevents it from coordinating and functioning as normal. Medication absorption may pose some difficulties when your gut isn’t working as usual. If you notice you eject medication frequently, ask your doctor if this could be the cause.

Rapid Dysmotility is also a possibility. This is when your intestines contract faster and cause anything you ingest — including pills — to pass through your stool without proper absorption.

Improper Use of Medication

To maximize the efficiency of your medication, you must follow your prescription to a T. That means you cannot alter its form, over or underdose, or take drugs that aren’t prescribed to you.

Drugs come in different doses and forms. There are drugs that should only be taken before meals or after. Some can only be taken at a specific time or order. Some that cannot be digested along with other types of drugs.

The effectiveness of medications can be unique to each person as well, depending on the dosage and how compliant you are when following your physician’s directions.

If you don’t take your medication properly, you might encounter these unwanted effects:

  • Allergies
  • Organ damage
  • Undigested pills in stool
  • Infections

If you are unsure how to take your medication or if there are important things to note, ask your pharmacist or doctor to ensure that you’re taking your medication properly.

Certain Types of Medications Or Underlying Conditions

Certain types of medications can also cause your pill to come out whole in your stool. For example, drugs may come out of the body unprocessed if the intestines contract faster than normal. When this happens, the drugs and nutrients may pass through the digestive tract without being absorbed or digested. So, if you take a drug that speeds up your digestion or peristalsis, you may eject a pill undigested.

Some medical conditions can also cause you to eject an undigested tablet. For example, celiac disease causes malabsorption, preventing the intestines from absorbing nutrients and pills.

Should I Be Concerned When Pooping out Whole Pills?

When taking prescribed medications, the goal is to experience the entirety of the benefits of the drug — be it preventive or diagnostic.

However, if you see your pills coming out whole in your poop, it’s easy to question whether your body has absorbed any of its benefits or if its content is already swimming down the pipe.

Undigested capsules in stool can indeed raise concerns. Though it’s not serious, consult your physician and inform them of what happened in detail, especially if you believe the drug hasn’t been effective.

It might help to take photos of the pill in your stool or remove the pill and place it into a sealed zip-lock bag so your doctor can examine it.

How to Take Pills More Effectively?

Avoid pooping out whole pills with these tips:

  • Always take medicines with water. Help your gut absorb your medication properly by drinking water. Water aids in breaking down what’s in your stomach, including the pills you’ve taken.
  • Keep the medication guide. Follow your doctor’s prescription and the instructions in your medication packaging carefully. Keep the package insert so you can refer back to it later if you need to.
  • Be aware of medication side effects. If you are aware of your medication’s side effects, you’ll know what to expect. At the same time, be ready for first-aid treatments and inform your family if the side effects you are experiencing are severe so they can help you seek medical assistance.
  • Ask your pharmacist or doctor. Always consult your pharmacist or doctor before taking medication. Make sure to inform them of underlying medical conditions, allergies, and your medical history.

The Bottom Line on Undigested Medication in Stool

Although not an uncommon occurrence, undigested pills in your stool aren’t an experience that should be disregarded. If you see pills in your feces, it could be that.

  • The pills are not fully broken down when you consume them.
  • Something is happening that is causing the drug to pass through your intestines too quickly.
  • You are taking the drug incorrectly.
  • The pills are absorbed correctly, and you are simply noticing the capsule shells.

If you find pills in your stool, make sure to inform your doctor.