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Forum Name: Gastroenterology Topics

Question: Floating stools with no other symptoms


 NWGirl - Mon Nov 02, 2009 2:27 pm

My husband (30 years old, 6'1" tall, 160 lbs) is an avid long-distance runner and is fairly healthy, but for the past few years that we've been married, i've noticed that his stools float. I've asked him about it and he says it usually does and has been that way for a while. He has no other symptoms (weight gain/loss, pain, oily stools, irregularity, etc...) other than this. I've heard/read that floating stools can be a sign of other problems, but can it be normal to have floating stools basically all the time? I want to make sure he's healthy, but I don't want to let TV doctors get me upset about something unnecessary.

Thank you!
 Dr.M.Aroon kamath - Sun Nov 15, 2009 12:10 pm

User avatar Hi,
Firstly one must understand that there is no dictum in the field of medicine which pronounces that "A normal person's stool must sink every time to be considered ''Normal' ".

Stool is a waste product composed of remnants of the food that one eats + bacteria + gases.

Remnants of the food refers to the waste products of digestion, foods that can't or could not be digested(ex; excess of dietary fat).

Stool that has an excess of undigested fat will tend to float.
Stool which contains excessive gas will also tend to float.

If stool consistently floats every time for a prolonged period, then one should investigate for 'Steatorrhea' (where the stool is slimy,oily, sticky, foul smelling and difficult to flush).

'Occasionally-floating' stools have no clinical significance. Best wishes!

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