Believe it or not, your poop can reveal a lot about your health. And floating poop is something very common and usually not a sign of anything wrong. Gas, changes in diet and minor infections may cause your poop to float. Though some underlying health conditions can also cause persistent floating stool.
Read on to know the possible reasons behind floating poop and when you need to visit the doctor:
Your poop is less likely to float when it is dense. When you consume foods that are rich in fibre, especially insoluble fibre it can make the poop less dense and thus let it float.
Fibre-rich foods including fruits, vegetables and whole grains form an important part of a healthy meal. So, floating poop can be a result of fibre consumption, which is actually a sign of good health.
Women between the age of 19 – 50 years should consume at least 25 grams of fibre per day, while men of the same age group need at least 38 grams of fibre per day.
Gas lowers the density of your poop, causing it to float. Many high-fibre foods can cause gas. Many people also develop gas when they change their diet. So, if your poop floats after you eat new food, it’s completely fine.
Infection in the gastrointestinal tract caused by E. coli can also cause the poop to float. The infection can cause gas and thus lower the density of poop.
Some stomach infections are temporary and go away without any treatment. A person needs to drink plenty of fluids and rest while recovering from a stomach infection. If you do not see any improvement, you should definitely see your doctor.
A 2015 study found that 26 per cent of people with functional bowel disorders – irritating bowel syndrome and functional dyspepsia have floating stools.
In some people, floating poop may be the first warning sign of gastrointestinal or bowel problem. When you have a floating stool along with other symptoms such as pain, diarrhoea, bloating or constipation, it can be a sign of an underlying gastrointestinal issue.
When the stool is fatty, it floats. The medical term for this condition is steatorrhea. It means your body is not adequately absorbing nutrients from foods.
Some common conditions that can cause malabsorption include:
– Lactose intolerance: It is a type of allergy to sugar that is found in milk and other dairy products. People suffering from lactose intolerance can experience diarrhoea and bloating when they consume any dairy product.
– Small intestine disorders: As the name suggests, a disorder that affects the small intestine and can lead to malabsorption is called the small intestine disorder. People who have had a small portion of their small intestine removed surgically to treat Crohn’s disease can also experience malabsorption and thus floating poop.
– Liver and biliary disease: Our liver produces bile that helps the body digest food. When enough bile is not produced or it doesn’t reach the intestines, it may result in fatty stool. Liver disease such as blocked bile ducts and gallstones can also cause fatty and floating stool.
When you should see the doctor
– If floating stool also looks greasy and the symptom persists for more than a few days.
– If you experience chronic constipation or diarrhoea.
– When you start losing weight without trying.
– Along with floating stool, you also have dark urine.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article should not be considered as a substitute for a physician’s advice. Please consult your treating physician for more details.