Stools that float are most often due to poor absorption of nutrients (malabsorption) or too much gas (flatulence).
Most causes of floating stools are harmless. In most cases, floating stools will go away without treatment.
Floating stools alone are not a sign of an illness or other health problem.
Many things can cause floating stools. Most of the time, floating stools are due to what you eat. A change in your diet may cause an increase in gas. Increased gas in the stool allows it to float.
Floating stools may also happen if you have a gastrointestinal infection.
Floating, greasy stools that are foul smelling may be due to severe malabsorption, especially if you are losing weight. Malabsorption means your body is not properly absorbing nutrients.
Most floating stools are not caused by an increase in the fat content of the stool. However, in some conditions such as chronic pancreatitis, the fat content is increased.
If a change in diet has caused floating stools or other health problems, try to find which food is to blame. Avoiding this food may be helpful.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Tell your doctor or nurse if you have changes in your stools or bowel movements. Contact your doctor or nurse immediately if you have bloody stools with weight loss, dizziness, and fever.
What to Expect at Your Office Visit
Your doctor or nurse will perform a physical exam and ask questions about your medical history and symptoms, such as:
- When did you first notice the floating stools?
- Does it happen all the time or from time to time?
- What is your basic diet?
- Does a change in your diet change your stools?
- Do you have other symptoms?
- Are the stools foul smelling?
- Are the stools an abnormal color (especially pale or clay-colored stools)?
- A stool sample may be needed. Blood tests may be done. In most cases, however, these tests will not be needed.
Treatment depends on the specific diagnosis.
Diet tips for floating stools
Diet tips for floating stools image
Begin each day with a warm glass of water with ½ lemon squeezed in it. Lemon juice has an affinity to the bowels and also switches on the digestive processes for the day, including liver and gall bladder function and bile production.
A fresh juice of carrot, ginger,celery and beetroot will do wonders for your digestive system and tastes great too
Increasing the intake of bitter foods in the diet such as lemon juice, rocket, endive, apple cider vinegar, sorrel and radicchio.
Bitter foods produce saliva and digestive enzymes which enhances the digestive processes
Eat less saturated fats, deep fried and fatty foods in the diet as these will place a strain on your already overburdened digestive system.
Increase fresh fruits (organic where possible) e.g. apples, berries, pineapple, honey dew, paw paw. Paw paw contains papain a natural enzyme that aids digestion of tough meat fibre.
Eat fruits separately from other foods to avoid sugar fermentation in the gut.
Enjoy herbal teas to improve digestion such as Peppermint, Chamomile, Ginger, Lemon, Fennel and Dandelion
Stimulants such as caffeine, alcohol, sugar and cigarettes can adversely affect the digestive system
Yoghurt containing live probiotics such as acidophilus and bifidus is also a valuable addition to the diet
Increase fresh vegetables (organic where possible) e.g. green leafy vegies, carrots, etc
Choose lean protein sources Tofu, legumes, unsalted raw nuts and seeds and nut butters and fish
Fusion Health Digestive Tonic
A comprehensive herbal digestive aid addressing chronic symptoms of poor digestion.erbs in this formula are shown to stimulate and enhance digestion, promote healthy appetite and relieve food stagnation (indigestion) associated with poor or sluggish digestive function.
Lifestyle factors for floating stools
Have a stool analysis performed to test the stool for fats, bacteria and undigested foods to determine the cause. Also it may be an idea to test for an allergies or food sensitivities, specifically gluten
Don’t over-eat and chew food fully and eat slowly to ensure optimum digestion of your meals
Stress decreases the amount of energy your body has available for digestion. Try not to eat when you are anxious or angry, as it will be harder for your stomach to break the food down
Natural remedies for floating stools
- Slippery elm powder (available at health food stores) in a small glass of water at least 10 minutes prior to eating. Slippery elm coats the whole digestive tract, provides a barrier to acids (reflux) and helps digestive inflammation to heal (Ceoliac’s Disease)
- Digestive enzymes contain lipase and pancreatic enzymes to encourage proper secretion of digestive enzymes and provide symptomatic relief to digestive upsets while ensuring proper break down of fats and oils from the diet
- Herbs that aid digestion and stimulate bile flow are: St Mary’s thistle, Dandelion, Globe artichoke, Celandine and Turmeric.
- Probiotics help to ensure a healthy environment in the bowel
- Natural fibers such as Slippery elm, Agar, Apple pectin, Psyllium husks and oat bran