Should I Be Concerned If I Suddenly Noticed My Poop Floats?
Poop is a by-product of our digestion process. While it is natural to flush and clean up without much consideration, taking a quick glance at what is in the toilet bowl might just “save” your life.
It is imperative that we learn all that we can about our bowel movements, including what is weird, what is normal, what is healthy, what is not. This is because our stools are vital clues to our overall health and digestion. Our stools can reveal signs of digestive disorders, infections, and, in more severe cases, early cancer symptoms.
In this case, everybody knows that a “healthy” stool sinks. Hence, if it suddenly floats, it can occur due to numerous reasons, such as a change in diet or an underlying health condition. In this article, we will explore everything we need to know about floating poop.
Why your stool might float
There are many reasons why your poop floats. However, not all floating poop means a serious health concern. Here are some reasons why your poop floats:
1. Gas excess
Many assume that floating stool is due to too much fat. However, it is usually caused by gas within your diet. Gas is usually introduced into your digestive system when you consume certain food, such as apples, beans, cabbages, milk, and soft drinks, that breaks down into gas or you swallow too much air when eating.
Individuals with a high-fibre diet may develop floating poop because such high-fibre food releases a significant amount of gas during digestion. In most cases, they may develop sinking poop once they reduce the consumption of vegetables and fruits for a couple of days.
Malabsorption occurs when the stools pass through the intestines quickly, such as during diarrhoea, resulting in the body not being able to process and absorb vital nutrients correctly and sufficiently. Malabsorption can be categorised by floating stools that have a significantly strong odour and a greasy sheen.
Greasy stool means that there is a slight possibility that you have steatorrhea, meaning you have a high-fat stool content. Steatorrhea is a sign that your body is not able to absorb fat normally and may be a sign of the following disorders:
- Celiac disease
- Bile acid deficiency
- Small intestine-related diseases, such as lymphoma, Whipple disease, and tropical sprue
- Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency due to chronic pancreatitis and cystic fibrosis
- Gastrointestinal infections
3. Nutrient intolerance
Suffering from certain nutrient intolerances, such as lactose intolerance, can result in stools that float. In the case of lactose intolerance, ingesting dairy products, such as milk and cheese, can result in diarrhoea and gassy stools, leading to malabsorption but without the greasy sheen.
4. Possible cancer symptom
While it is unlikely to be the primary cause of floating stools, it is crucial to note that greasy, floating stools may be one of the many pancreas cancer symptoms. It may also be a sign of possible colon cancer. Hence, it is vital that you do not take floating stools lightly and just make a gastroenterology appointment to play it safe.
When to see a doctor
Floating poop does not necessarily indicate that you are suffering from some medical disorder. To determine the root cause, you have to look out for other critical indicators. If your floating poop is bloody, sticky, or smelly, you need to get it checked out as soon as possible.
Sticky and smelly stools are typical symptoms of nutrient malabsorption, and it might indicate that there is damage in the small intestine, not producing enough pancreatic enzymes, HIV, or liver disease.
If your floating stools have blood, it might indicate that there is bleeding in your digestive tract, cancer of your digestive system, IBD such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, polyps, blood vessel abnormalities, ulcers in your small intestine or stomach, or diverticulitis.
There are tons of reasons why your stools float. Some of it demands immediate medical attention, others not so much. Nevertheless, you should get it checked for peace of mind. Here at GUTCARE, we specialise in treating all types of digestive-related disorders, no matter how severe they may be. Get peace of mind today.
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