Hard stools are often treated with lifestyle changes that relieve constipation and encourage frequent bowel movements, such as adding fiber to the diet, increasing fluid intake to at least eight glasses of water each day and exercising, according to About.com. Over-the counter or prescription stool softeners can also help to soften stool and relieve constipation.
People with hard stools should not dismiss the urge to go when it occurs, explains WebMD. Stools that stay in the bowels for a long time become harder and may be more difficult to release. People struggling with hard bowels should listen carefully to their body's cues and train themselves to go to the bathroom when the urge increases, such as after mealtimes.
Treatment also focuses on reducing stress and tension so the body can relax enough for a healthy bowel movement, notes WebMD. Patients can engage in relaxation techniques when constipated or struggling with hard stools.
Certain medications such as laxatives or prescriptions that treat digestive or gastrointestinal problems are often used to treat individuals with hard stools, according to WebMD. Patients should consult with a physician to determine if medication is appropriate. Medications are typically only used for short periods of time to reduce the risk of long-term side effects.