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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does anyone else have floating stools on occasion with IBS? A lot of the time I don't necessarily have diarrhea, but my stools will be very soft and tend to float for a little, and contain what I can guess would be little gas bubbles. This tends to happen more frequently when I can feel my intestines rumble while theyre digesting food. Is this a common IBS symptom or a sign of something else? Any thoughts?
 

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You find it in anyone. Lots of foods produce intestinal gas in all humans. Enough gas bubbles and you get floating stools.They do say fat in the stools could cause it (may be more myth than based on hard data), but if you maintain weight with sufficient food you typically don't have issues absorbing fats.
 

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You find it in anyone. Lots of foods produce intestinal gas in all humans. Enough gas bubbles and you get floating stools.They do say fat in the stools could cause it (may be more myth than based on hard data), but if you maintain weight with sufficient food you typically don't have issues absorbing fats.
You are way more experienced than I am, but I was pretty sure there was hard data showing that the floaters were fattier? Maybe I am wrong, or it could be that it's just hard to know exactly what is causing the floating, but I thought at least one "common" reason (I hope that is correct) is the amount of fat being eaten.That being said, I never have been able to control the consistency of my bowels, so I don't let it bother me.
 

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N Engl J Med. 1972 May 4;286(18):973-5.Floating stools--flatus versus fat.Levitt MD, Duane WC.I think is the only really hard data I know of that is at all recent (unfortunately not article or abstract on line) and it showed floating was really a gas problem not a fat problem.A lot of medical wisdom really doesn't have hard data. Particularly medical wisdom about stools/farting. Most of it is what people think is logical, not what was empirically studied. Just because something is oft repeated does not mean there is a lot of data behind it.However if you have other symptoms of malabsorption (like you eat way more than you need and you still lose weight consistently) then get a fecal fat test. At normal amounts of fat in the diet you should absorb nearly all of it and to find abnormal amounts of fat in the stool you really need a high fat diet to be certain.ETA: I was able to get the abstract for the paper.
AbstractFactors influencing the density of stools from 33 healthy subjects (nine had floating and 24 sinking stools) and six patients with steatorrhea were investigated. All floating stools sank when their gas volume was compressed by positive pressure. Thus, to float, stools must contain gas.After degassing, previously floating and sinking stools had similar specific gravities, indicating that the floating or sinking propensity of such stools depends upon differences in gas rather than fat content. A high stool gas content (and hence a floating stool) in healthy subjects appeared related to colonic methane production.Steatorrheic stools had a relatively normal gas content. The density of their nongaseous fraction was less than normal, but resulted primarily from increased water rather than fat content.Thus, stools float because of an increased content of gas or water (or both); the floating stool should not be considered a sign of steatorrhea.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for all the info guys. I saw that part about that gas causes the floating rather than fats somewhere else too after doing a little research on my own. I suppose it all depends on the source you use to determine what actually causes it. I don't really find that the floating happens after eating certain foods, just more when I have larger amounts of gas. Still not sure what could be causing the gas, as it does seem to be more prominent than it used to be with me anyway.
 
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