Floating poop after defecation is a strange symptom that many people do not pay much attention to. Most people are much more sensitive to the color, shape and consistency changes in their stools. That shouldn't be the case as whether your stool floats in the toilet after defecation is an important symptoms of your digestion, and in case you experience this symptom, it should be something to watch for to see if it goes away or becomes a chronic condition.
There are a number of underlying reasons why people experience floating stools. Before diving into various dietary and medical conditions, people should understand one thing. At the basic level, poop will float whenever its density becomes lighter than the water in the toilet. That point has nothing to do with medicine. It is mere physics.
Now that you understand that poop floats when its consistency is lighter than the water, we can discuss some of the reasons why stool consistency might be less dense than usual. Since gases are very light and have very small density, you can suspect that there are more gasses than usual. Gasses are typically lighter than water so they can make your poop float. Also, fat is also less dense than water so fat floats. That usually means that poop which floats has a larger portion of gasses and fat than regular stools.
Why exactly your stools have lots of gasses or extra fat is a difficult question to answer as there are a very large number of issues that can cause this. The causes range from simple allergic reactions to certain foods, to having over-eaten during a meal, to dysentery, to serious chronic disorders.
Often, poop floats and has excess gas or fat because of dietary reasons. After big or unhealthy meals, our body may try to remove the excess fats through the digestive system as waste, thus removing more fat than usual. That is why it is important to monitor and change your diet if you first experience floating poop.
Most of the time when we experience various changes in our bodies, it can be an alarming situation. Many people jump to conclusions and scare themselves before obtaining the right diagnosis. If we got scared and saw a doctor after every scary symptoms we noticed about our bodies throughout our lives, most doctors would have more appointments than they could handle, and after most appointments, most doctors would just suggest monitoring your symptoms over a period of time to see if they go away on their own, worsen, or remain the same. There are just not enough doctors to see everyone to check on random symptoms which the people believe to be scary or life-threatening.
For that reason, people who experience floating poop after defecation should try to monitor this symptom over a period of a few days or weeks. People should also experiment with adding or subtracting various foods from their diets to see how that affects their digestion. If the poop floats over a number of defecations spanning days or weeks, seeking a diagnosis becomes much more necessary.
After you have monitored your symptoms and they had not gone away, it is probably a good time to seek a real diagnosis for why this is happening. Plus, when you do see your doctor, you can inform him or her about more of the things you have been noticing over the time the symptoms have been happening, and the dietary and lifestyle changes you have tried. The doctor will also ask you for your family health history, your personal health history, your exercise habits, whether you smoke, drink, or do any drugs. That will give the doctor more information to go on when deciding next steps.
If the doctor suspects something might be wrong with your health, he or she might send you for blood, stool, or other kinds of tests to check on the chemical and nutrient balances in your body. After that, the doctor will be able to make a correct diagnosis, and suggest possible treatment options if any are needed or available.
One of the common causes of floating poop is diarrhea. Diarrhea is often caused by gastrointestinal infections. Stool during bouts of diarrhea is not dense and is usually full of gasses that form in the intestines during digestions.
Another reason why you may have floating poop is excess amount of fat in the stool. There are many reasons why the stool may have too much fat. The reasons range from serious metabolic diseases where the body has a hard time absorbing fats and nutrients to simply having too much fat in your diet which the body just does not need. If the body thinks it does not need the excess fat, it will try to remove the excess fat via the digestive tract.
When some nutrients which have not been well-absorbed reach the large intestine, the bacteria in the colon tries to use the nutrients, and the chemical reactions cause extra gasses to be released. The extra gas can make the stools float.
A proper diagnosis should be made by a healthcare professional such as a doctor specializing in internal medicine or Gastroenterology. The doctor will first likely as you about your personal and family medical history. He or she will also ask you about drug or alcohol abuse, how often you exercise, and try to generally understand your level of health. The doctor may then give you a number of possible tests which he or she deems appropriate for your situation.