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Floating Stool: 5 Possible Reasons

Have you ever looked down after your daily trip to the bathroom and noticed that your stool was floating? Maybe you thought, "Hmm, that's weird," but moved on with the rest of your day. But did you know that floating stool shouldn't be happening?

And if it is happening often, you need to have a better understanding of why. My name is Marcie Vaske, and I'm a functional medicine nutritionist with Oswald Digestive Clinic, where I see a lot of people who are struggling with excessive bloating, constipation, gas, diarrhea, or even floating stool.

So if that sounds like you or someone you know, you can easily make an initial appointment with us.

But if you're the kind of person who likes to do things on their own or you're just looking for more information about having good gut health, download our free guide, "Five Ways to Improve Your Gut Health."

Floating Stool: 5 Possible Reasons

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Now, talking about your daily bowel movement is a usual conversation, but in my world, I see a lot of people who struggle with having a gut that's just a little bit off-kilter, and they're coming to me trying to figure out why. And one of those issues is floating stool.

Now, of course, you may have seen over the course of time that your stool has floated every now and again, but if it's happening more often, this is where we need to do some more digging. Floating stool can oftentimes be a cause for concern because it's not considered the norm.

So today, I want to go through five possible reasons why you might be experiencing floating stool.

Differentiating Normal and Abnormal Stools

Now, before we kind of dig into that, we need to understand and learn what is a normal stool supposed to look like versus an abnormal stool? A normal stool should be solid and sink to the bottom of the toilet bowl.

And that would look like that's kind of on the Bristol stool chart at the apex of having a bowel movement. And with abnormal stool, it could be loose or diarrhea or even this floating stool that we'll be talking about today.

So if your stool is outside of that norm, it's not necessarily that there's serious concern, but if it's always like this, then we need to really understand why is this happening to you?

High-Fat Diets and Floating Stool

The first reason you might be experiencing floating stool will be high fats. And what happens is that as the high-fat foods move through your digestive system, it's not absorbed as well. Now, one reason for having floating stool is going to be a high-fat content diet.

So if you're consuming lots of foods that are greasy or just have a high content of fat and your body is unable to break them down. What happens is that the fats move through your digestive system creating a less dense stool, and therefore you'll see it floating.

So one way to mitigate that would be to kind of play with your diet a little bit and for sure take out really greasy fried foods. But keeping in healthy fats is positive. And maybe for some, you kind of have to play around with how your body digests.

So understanding how you feel and then watching for what your stool looks like can give you a lot of indicators on if your body is digesting fat very well or if it's not.

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Malabsorption and Its Impact

Another reason for floating stool can be malabsorption, and malabsorption can also create this less dense stool. And what is happening is that your body is unable to digest the nutrients out of your foods well and therefore creating a different kind of stool.

You'll see this a lot of times in individuals who are celiac or maybe have food sensitivities, lactose sensitivities, and therefore kind of understanding, watching what you're eating and patterning out. Let's say you had dairy three days ago and your stool has been floating ever since.

That might be an indicator that dairy isn't sitting so well with you. Another reason we have malabsorption is because we have low digestive enzymes, and sometimes we just need a little support around increasing our enzymatic activity in our stomach so that we do properly absorb these nutrients.

Digestive Disorders and Floating Stool

Another reason that you might be experiencing floating stool is that you have underlying digestive disorders. Irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease or even gallbladder dysfunction can all contribute to a change in consistency in our bowel movements.

Many times what is underneath these disorders is going to be dysfunction, dysbiosis, and inflammation of the intestinal tract, which will create a stool that happens to float.

Now in line with some of these digestive disorders, what happens is that there can be underlying infections going on, infections or actual parasites that are in our digestive system, which are creating inflammation and a change in our microbiome, which therefore creates a different bowel movement for us.

Typically, if you have a digestive infection such as bacteria or even a parasite, you will have other digestive symptoms.

Maybe you'll have bloating or abdominal cramping in addition to the change in your stool. So just some key things to look for in trying to figure out why you might have more floating stool.

Medications and Supplements: Their Role in Floating Stool

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Now, the last reason for possibly having floating stool is medications and even supplements. If you're taking some medications, some of them do have the ability to inhibit the way that you absorb your nutrients.

Therefore, taking a look at what some of the side effects are of your medications that you're taking will be important.

When it comes to supplements, if you're taking high-dose fat-soluble supplements like a high-dose vitamin D or maybe a high amount of omega fatty acids, those do have the ability also to create more of that floating stool.

With the medications and the supplements, it's going to be best to talk to the practitioner that has prescribed them or suggested them for you to get more information on if that's possibly what's creating some of this bowel movement change.

Taking Action and Seeking Help

So while floating stool isn't cause for obedient medical attention, it is something for you to keep your eye on and start to understand your body a little bit better.

If you're having trouble figuring out why you might be experiencing this, obviously it's going to be really great to meet with a nutritionist or a dietician such as myself to help you get to the root cause of that or even seek medical attention.

If you're having severe abdominal cramping that's more acute and you're having diarrhea, I mean, then you need to seek medical attention. It might be something more serious.

I hope that helps clear up the picture a little bit for you on if you're seeing floating stool in your toilet after your daily bowel movement, to understand what can be your next steps.

Trying to figure out is it medications, is it supplements? Have you just been in a lot of high fat foods recently, or do you have a digestive disorder? And this way it can lead you down the path to better health. Thanks for watching.

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If you'd like to explore any of this information further or obtain an individualized nutrition plan, you can schedule an initial appointment at our clinic. We also take insurance and some of our clients get full coverage, which is great.

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