What Does it Mean When Your Poop Floats?

What does it mean when your poop floats in the toilet bowl? For those of us who have a keen interest in bowel habits and who like to carefully scrutinise each bowel movement for signs of ill health, this is probably a question that keeps you awake at night!

So what does it mean when your poop floats? Well you can relax right now, as most of the time it is certainly nothing to worry about. The main reason faeces floats in the toilet after a bowel movement is because it contains trapped wind and bubbles of gas. If you have had a “gas” problem prior to visiting the toilet, this is almost certainly the answer to your floating poop question.

What does it mean when your poop floats or sinks?

Some medical experts believe that when faeces floats, it is a sign your body is getting all the nutrients it needs, and when faeces sinks like the Titanic, you have been eating far too much sugar and starch in your diet. There is probably some truth to this explanation as eating lots of fruit and vegetables is pretty much guaranteed to give you looser stools, which either float or break apart upon impact. Fiber retains water in your digestive tract and if the amount of fibre in your diet is high enough, your poop is very likely to float.

Fat in your poop is another ingredient that can cause it to float. If you have eaten lots of fatty foods, some of the fat is excreted from your body without being digested. Unsurprisingly, this fat ends up in your stools and is unceremoniously ejected during a trip to the porcelain throne. You can usually tell if fat is the reason your poop floats, as upon examination (if you are so inclined) the bowel movement will have white flecks of greasy fat threaded through it.

Gastrointestinal complaints are quite likely to leading to floating poop. In fact, they are quite likely to lead to nasty diarrhea type bowel movements as well, so if you have eaten a dodgy curry the night before, you really should not be all that amazed when your stools are ejected at the speed of light and break up on impact. Your floating stools will soon return to normality once the infection in your gut has cleared up and you are fully recovered.

Of course there are other explanations for floating poop—some of which are cause for concern.

Floating stools can sometimes be indicative of Celiac Disease, Cystic Fibrosis, or Pancreatic Cancer. The poop floats because your body is not absorbing the nutrients you eat properly, so if floating bowel movements are linked to other disturbing symptoms, or you are simply concerned, take a trip to your doctors for some advice. You might think it is deeply embarrassing to discuss bowel movements, but don’t worry, doctors have heard it all before.

Signs of abnormal stools include foul smelling bowel movements or stools that are very pale and greasy in appearance. If you cannot relate your abnormal bowel movements to a change in diet, or you have lost significant amounts of weight, you should definitely seek medical advice sooner rather than later.

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