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Old 19 June 2012, 08:45 PM
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Icon86 Floating feces

Comment: OK, A friend told me that if your feces floats in the toilet, that is a
sign that you are in better health than if it sinks. Is there any truth to
this? And if so, what is the basis for it?
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  #2  
Old 19 June 2012, 09:13 PM
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First, the plural verb form is appropriate, even though there is not a singular noun form available for feces.

I would think that floating would primarily depend on air content. Eventually, if left unflushed, it should all sink - just a WAG there. If it is air content that is the key to floating, then that is probably an indicator of incomplete digestion, such that food particles are being digested lower down by anaerobic bacteria which generate methane and CO2. Usually of course, we expel the extra air before we expel the feces (faeces for you Brits). One could suppose all sorts of reasons for a bowel movement before the air content has separated from the solid content, some healthier some not so healthy.

My guess is that the correspondent's friend is all full of ... oh, wait no, he is not any more. He's just spending too much time pontificating on toilet matters. And almost certainly he tends to have floating feces and is trying to build himself up by claiming it is healthier. Well, if a person's only way to feel good about himself is by bragging about his floating feces, I say let him have that. No need to take the piss out of him, as it were.
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Old 19 June 2012, 10:28 PM
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Personal data: I experienced the opposite. I'm in much better health than I used to be, it sinks now, it used to float. Consistency is greatly changed as well.
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Old 19 June 2012, 10:37 PM
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I used to work in a hospital lab where testing faeces samples was a regular part of work (the 3 day faecal fats test was "the short straw job" in the lab!). Sinking faeces are more healthy. Faeces float due to either air/gas content or to fat content. Neither are indicative of good bowel health.
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Old 19 June 2012, 10:59 PM
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House (the TV show) taught me on two separate occasions that floating poop means higher fat content. It was used to show that someone was cheating on their supposedly vegetarian diet.
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Old 19 June 2012, 11:20 PM
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I'm sure you're not suggesting that House MD is a reliable place to find accurate medical information but, just for the record, it isn't true:
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/e...cle/003128.htm
Quote:
One wrong idea is that floating stools are caused by an increase in the fat content of the stool. In fact, it is increased gas in the stool that makes it less dense and allows it to float.
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Old 20 June 2012, 02:36 AM
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Plus, being vegetarian doesn't necessarily mean a reduction in fat consumption.
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Old 20 June 2012, 04:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
I'm sure you're not suggesting that House MD is a reliable place to find accurate medical information but, just for the record, it isn't true:
It depends on how much fat content there is. Fat is less dense than water and really fatty poop will float (and looks greasy as well). Really aerated poop not only floats, it's like souffle. There's also a "Bristol Scale" for the hardness of stools, though where I worked also had an informal scale that ran "seen thicker water" to "hard as bullets".
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Old 20 June 2012, 01:48 PM
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Floating greasy bowel movements (also foul smelling...though I don't know just where the line is drawn on that one) is one of the symptoms of cystic fibrosis, which causes problems with digestion and absorbing nutrients.
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Old 20 June 2012, 02:01 PM
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Floating feces. What will they invent next?
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Old 20 June 2012, 02:26 PM
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So, I was wrong. The NIH's own literature contradicts itself on this issue. That'll teach me not to just read the first one and believe it - even if it's from NIH. (But I guess they meant to calm people who think it's a symptom of a bad problem when usually due to gas.)
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Old 20 June 2012, 02:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snapdragonfly View Post
Floating greasy bowel movements (also foul smelling...though I don't know just where the line is drawn on that one) is one of the symptoms of cystic fibrosis, which causes problems with digestion and absorbing nutrients.
There are a few conditions where a person just can't break down fats in their diet. And there are the indigestible manufactured fats that were once touted as an alternative to normal fats. The problem with the indigestible fats was they caused "leakage".

If you've ever done a 3-day faecal fats test, you will know just how foul it can smell! Hence it was the short-straw job in the lab.

To be fair, you have to have quite a bit of fat in the stool for it to float. just eating a few burgers or whatever (as in House) is unlikely to do it unless there's also a digestive problem.
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