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Why Do You Have Floating Poop?

Video Transcript:

Hi everyone. Welcome back to our channel.

Have you ever glanced back into the toilet bowl after having a bowel movement and noticed that your stool was floating... and wondered why you have floating poop?

This may seem unusual or concerning even, but this is actually quite common for some individuals.

Although floating stool isn't always a cause for concern, it's important to understand the reasons behind it so that you can determine if you need to address this for you.

Your bowel movements can be a good indication of your digestive health and your overall health.

So in today's video, we will review the difference between a normal stool and an abnormal stool.

We'll explore some common causes for floating stool and what it may mean for your health.

Hi, I'm Katie Bailey. I'm a gut health dietitian at Oswald Digestive Clinic, where we help individuals improve and resolve their bothersome gut issues like gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, and more.

If you're interested in learning more about gut health, I'll link our free guide 5 Ways to Improve Your Gut Health Here.

Let's get started on today's topic.

The Bristol Stool Chart - Is Your Stool Normal?

Okay, so the first thing we're going to talk about is the difference between a normal stool and an abnormal stool.

So the best way to describe what a healthy stool looks like is by using the Bristol stool chart, which is just a medical tool that's used to classify stool into different types.

We've done many different videos on the Bristol stool chart, so if you're interested in learning more about that, you can check out our video and blog post here (and download the Bristol Stool Chart PDF).

Looking at the chart, a healthy stool would be considered type three or type four, and these are sausage shaped, either cracked or a smooth surface that are easy to pass.

These types suggest that we're getting enough fluid and fiber in our diet.

In regards to color, our stool should be brown, and this is caused by bilirubin that's produced by the liver.

When we break down red blood cells, it's also influenced by the amount of bile that's in our stool.

Bile is a yellow green fluid that is produced by the liver and stored in the gallbladder to help our bodies digest fat.

When bile travels down the GI tract, there are different enzymes that change the pigments from green to brown, and then lastly, stools that sink are considered the norm for bowel movements.

Floating Poop Meaning - Is It Always Abnormal?

But however, floating stools are not always considered abnormal.

It's going to depend on how often you're having them, and the underlying root cause of the floating stool stool floats due to its density, meaning the less dense that it is, the more likely it is to float.

These less dense floating stools can be caused by many different reasons, some of which are not concerning while really should be addressed.

Floating Stool Causes - Excess Fat In Your Diet

The first reason that your stool could be floating is related to your diet, especially a diet that is high in excess fat.

Now, your digestive system is designed to be able to break down your food and extract those nutrients, so enzymes and bile really work to break down and emulsify that fat so that it can be absorbed into your bloodstream.

However, when there is excess fat in the diet, it can be hard for your body to break this down, especially because it's so much fat, and instead the excess fat comes out in your stool.

Fat is less dense than the other components of food like your proteins and your carbohydrates, and therefore, if you eat a particularly fatty meal, you may notice that your next bowel movement tends to float, and usually this is not concerning and should resolve when you decrease the fat intake in your diet.

Now, you want to make sure to decrease the unhealthy processed fats while still making sure you're getting enough of those essential fatty acids.

Floating Stool Causes - Increased Gas In Your Stool

Floating stool can also be a result of increased gas that is trapped in the stool.

We often see this with lactose intolerance. Our body has a difficult time breaking down the lactose in our foods.

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For some individuals, this causes increased gas production, which can then get stuck in your stool as you digest food.

In general, the bacteria in your large intestines is going to produce gas as a byproduct, and this gas can get trapped in the stool sometimes and cause it to float.

Floating Stool Causes - Malabsorption

Another reason you may be having floating stool is with malabsorption conditions.

So for example, celiac disease is when there's damage to the GI tract and you're not able to properly break down and absorb those nutrients into the bloodstream, including fat, and this leads to an increase in the amount of fat in your stool.

Also, if you're not able to produce a sufficient amount of enzymes or bile to be able to break down and absorb your fat, you're also going to see larger fat content in the stool.

And remember, if there's more fat in the stool, that's going to make the stool less dense and it's going to float.

Now, fats are essential. We do need them in the diet.

Therefore, if you find that you're having floating stools often and frequently, it's best to work with a professional to determine if you have any of these malabsorption conditions that is causing your stool to float.

Floating Stool Causes - IBS, IBD, an infection, or other gut issues?

Floating stool can also be common in people with different GI conditions like IBS, irritable bowel syndrome, or inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn's disease, gallbladder dysfunction, and pancreatitis, because these all can impact the body's ability to break down and absorb our fat and other nutrients.

Now, GI infections caused by bacteria or parasites can also result in floating stool, and this is because these infections disrupt that normal absorption process leading to excess fat in the stool and can even increase gas production.

Is Floating Poop Okay?

To wrap up our topic for today, while most professionals agree that sinking stool is the norm for bowel movements, the occasional floating stool is, especially after a fatty high fat meal, is not usually a cause for concern.

However, if you're consistently experiencing floating stools, it's worth digging into your diet and digestive health.

You may need to adjust your diet so that you're balancing out those fats that you eat, or you may need to dig deeper and determine if you have any malabsorption or GI conditions that are impacting your stool.

Also, consider any supplements or medications that you're taking as some medications can affect your body's ability to absorb your fat.

Therefore leading to floating stools. It's also important to pay attention to other characteristics of your stool, so paying attention to the color, the consistency, how often you're having bowel movements and any other symptoms like abdominal pain or unintended weight loss, as all these changes associated in addition to floating stool can warrant further investigation.

All right, so that's it for today. I hope you found this video to be helpful and informative.

If you're interested in working with or clinic, you can click here to make an initial appointment. We do take insurance and you can find information about that on our website.

Thank you for watching. I'll see you next time. Bye.

functional nutrition dietitian, registered dietitian nutritionist, functional medicine clinic, gut health help, how to improve gut health, functional medicine taking insurance

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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Or you can just start by downloading our FREE GUIDE: 5 WAYS TO IMPROVE GUT HEALTH  



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