Foul Smelling Stool

Info on bad fecal odors and strong foul smelling stools.

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  1. What is Foul Smelling Stool?
  2. Diagnosing Foul Smelling Stool
  3. What Causes Foul Smelling Stool?
  4. Help for Foul Smelling Stool
  5. More Information on Foul Smelling Stools

What is Foul Smelling Stool?

Foul smelling stool is a topic that is not frequently discussed. While we are fully aware that feces exude an unpleasant odor, this odor is quite common. Foul-smelling feces or stools occurs largely as a result of a poor diet, especially when the diet contains foods and liquids with artificial flavors, refined sugar, white flour and hormone-filled meat.

Eating an unhealthy diet leads to poor digestion, stomach bloat, fatigue and low vitality, causing colon sluggishness and intestinal blockage. In addition, if bad breath, an awful body odor and a dull skin develops together with foul smelling stool, then there may be an accumulation of waste matter and toxins in your body. Some people experience extremely foul smelling stool, which may be associated with certain more serious medical conditions such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.

Diagnosing Foul Smelling Stool

If you have constant foul smelling stools, consult your health care practitioner. The diagnosis will be based on your symptoms, medical history and a physical examination. If you are experiencing symptoms such as fever, abdominal pain, cramps, chills, floating stools, bloody stools or changes in your stools together with foul smelling stool, you need to inform your healthcare practitioner.

Because your foul smelling stool may be associated with certain medical conditions, questions pertaining to your medical history may include – how long has stools smelled foul, what diet have you been eating recently, what color are your stools or has the smell worsened since you changed your diet. In addition, tests such as a stool sample, colonoscopy and endorectal ultrasound may also be performed.

What Causes Foul Smelling Stool?

Foul smelling stool may be caused by poor diet and digestion. Eating fried, greasy foods, processed foods, refined sugar and excessive alcohol consumption is the primary cause of foul-smelling stools. It may also be due to an overgrowth of bacteria – bacteria produces hydrogren sulfide (rotten egg smell), ammonia or sulfur odors.

Underlying conditions that may contribute to foul smelling stool

Foul smelling stool may also be associated with certain underlying medical conditions and these include: 

  • Diarrhea
  • Crohn's disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Infections of the large intestine
  • Idiopathic steatorrhea (fatty stools with no known cause)
  • Chronic pancreatitis
  • Gluten-induced enteropathy (celiac disease)
  • Malabsorption
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Short bowel syndrome

Help for Foul Smelling Stool

Making changes to your diet is usually the best way to monitor the smell of feces. By removing or adding certain types of food such as fruit, vegetables and lean sources of protein to your diet will flush the compacted matter and maintain regularity. Sometimes if the odor is extremely bad, it may be associated with certain medical conditions – treating the underlying condition first may help to reduce symptoms.

Other treatment options such as enemas and colonic irrigation can help to cleanse the colon if it is lined with feces. Laxatives may also be used to clear the bowel but should only be used as a temporary measure, as they do have many side effects.

More Information on Foul Smelling Stool

Tips to help prevent Foul smelling stool

Follow these tips to minimize foul smelling stool:

  • Add high fiber foods such as whole grain breads, bran cereal, dried fruit, raisins, fresh fruit and vegetables to your diet
  • Eat more yogurt and buttermilk, as these foods decrease odor production by introducing healthy bacteria into your digestive system
  • Increase your intake of magnesium by taking supplements or eating foods such as nuts, seeds or green leafy vegetables
  • Drink plenty of liquids such as water, fruit juices, hot tea or lemon water to stimulate the bowels
  • Ginger tea is an effective home remedy for constipation
  • Regular exercise such as walking or swimming everyday can help to both prevent and relieve constipation
  • Avoid regular use of laxatives or enemas
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, processed and junk food if you are suffering from constipation
  • Stool softeners taken daily may also prevent constipation
  • Practice regular bowel habits by visiting the toilet for at least ten minutes after breakfast even if you are unable to have a bowel movement. The best time is usually the first hour after breakfast. Done regularly, this will help to set up a healthy bowel routine.
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