Articles, Blog

Why Does My Poo Float?

August 14, 2019


Hi. Eric Bakker, a naturopath from New Zealand. Thanks for coming back. Every now and then I get a great question
from someone and then I wonder whether the person is nine years old or 90 years old,
or 19 years old. Who knows? “Eric, why doesn’t my poo float?” Isn’t that a good one? You’d expect a three year old to say that. There are many reasons why a stool won’t float,
but a healthy stool is like an iceberg, all right. And if we look at an iceberg it’s going to
partially float, but most of it will be underwater. So if we get a piece of paper, and we draw
an iceberg … Have you all thrown a piece of ice in a cup of water and seen what happens? I’m sure you all have. So if we look at an iceberg, we will see … Oh,
there we are. We’ll see that the iceberg predominantly sinks,
but a little bit floats above the water. Now that’s what a healthy stool looks like
too, it should look like that. That means that the stool has got the right
amount of fiber in it, and the correct amount of water in it for it to form a healthy stool,
to just bob in the water like that. It can float a tiny bit higher, like 50% above
water and 50% under, but it shouldn’t float on top of the water and have nothing under
it, okay? That’s not really good, that’s often a sign
of poor fat absorption and gallbladder problems can have that sometimes or liver diseases,
especially if it’s a light colored stool. And if it sinks to the bottom of the pan it
usually means that it’s either very compressed or lacks sufficient water. It’s all hard and compacted, not enough fiber
and it will sink. So sinking stools can mean you’ve got something
wrong with the colon generally, but also the small bowel potentially. So make sure that you chew food properly and
that you’re relaxed when you eat your food. You could be eating under stress or watching
a screen of some sort, which is not a good idea. Sinking stools, my first question is, how
much fiber are you eating? Are you eating sufficient fruit and vegetables,
are you chewing properly, are you drinking enough water? Now look at the shape of the stools, are the
stools skinny or are they fat? Do they come in long pieces? Do you have to do multiple trips to the bathroom
to fully empty out? So all these things, I ask patients these
questions and then dissect these questions and try and work out why the stool is the
way it is. Now here’s an interesting one you may not
be aware of, but the digestive system is superbly affected by stress. Every tiny little thing that goes through
your mind will affect your autonomic nervous system, the sympathetic or the gas pedal,
parasympathetic or the brake. So every thing that you’re thinking about
will have some effect on accelerating or braking stress responses in the body, which have the
direct impact on the bowel. All right? The biggest nerve that relaxes our body is
called the vagus nerve. Now that connects parts of our brain with
our digestive system, our heart and our breathing in particular. So the relaxation response is very, very important
for your digestive system to work effectively, very important. And many people with skinny stools that sink,
for example, could suffer more from anxiety or stress or tension. These can be people that are wound up like
a top, they can’t relax. Relaxed people, in my opinion, have got bigger
poos, uptight people have got skinnier poos. This is just from personal experience. So look at the type of personality where look
how relaxed you are, look how stressed you are, look how quick you eat, look at the types
of foods that you eat. Look at other symptoms that may be produced
like bloating, burping, constipation, diarrhea, gas, nausea, heartburn, all of these things
could be telltale signs that something’s not right internally, that needs investigating. Often a stool test will show these sort of
things, but an inquiring physician, who works with someone like you, who asks all the right
questions, will often get to the bottom of the problem. And in many cases, it’s a simple change of
lifestyle or attitude or diet that can correct things like this, all right? In many, many cases. But then again, we also don’t know your name
or your age or anything, okay? All I’ve got is, “Why doesn’t my poo float?” So I need to know your age, what type of work
you do, are you a student? Do you go on Xbox? Are you a PlayStation person? Do you gamble? What kind of job have you got? You know what I mean? All these questions, so they will come into
it. So the poo shouldn’t float, remember? But it shouldn’t sink, it should sort of be
halfway. One good bowel motion per day is the norm
for most people, when you’ve got multiple motions we need to understand why this is
occurring too. There could be many reasons why, and for many
people it’s either not eating properly or eating too much food or eating at weird times. Again, this comes into habits. So, I hope that gives you a little bit of
insight into the poo floating saga and if you’ve got any more questions regarding this,
feel free to ask. So I hope that answers that question. Thank you very much.

6 Comments

  • Reply A M May 13, 2018 at 1:09 pm

    I really suffer with this problems

  • Reply Talha Hassan May 13, 2018 at 1:44 pm

    Hi Doc, I'm still waiting for your cooking videos. Are we gonna see them any time soon ?

  • Reply Alejandro Farias May 13, 2018 at 11:01 pm

    i have a good question im currently 23 years old i suffer from hyothyroidism since 2015 when i turned 19 but this year 2018 things got worse i started getting digistive problems very bad heart burn that gave me a sort of fever like symptoms then came direah bloating and eventually very yellow stools on and off they did a stool test to rule out h pylori but nothing came out i do notice the change of color of my stool alot its either very yellow sometimes very green or very orange like if i eat something redish or orangeish but most 75% of the time my stool is very loose i was thinking i have Chrons diease but i also have reproductive problems i have a yeast infection that hasnt gone away in years since i was 19 i also have recently got a infection in the tonsils for 7 months i have pus coming out of them i get chest pains and abdominal pains doctors here in las vegas havent helped me at all after 5 hospital visits and 4 different doctors i still have not found out exactly what i have going on from what im saying doe it sound like i have candida ? and how do i ask a doctor to check me for that i would appreciate your help im currently very depressed always and have bad anxiety that every hosptial seems to blame everything for im in fear for my life and i dont think i will survive very long in my condition i try to stay active play soccer all the time but after every match i get bad lower mild abdominal discomfort i also got vison problems i see floaties and disortion it has affected every part of my body i have even had hemoroids and bleeding from my rectum also ruled out as normal and just a common hemorroid problem i have a bad fear that i got some kind of cancer either throat or colon

  • Reply pwwwful December 18, 2018 at 10:50 am

    Dr Bakker, when you say "like 50% above water and 50% under.." , the stool should be vertical or horizontal in the water?
    My poo floats horizontal, no touch with the bottom but its predominant part is under water. Thanks in advance.

  • Reply FA Barragan May 12, 2019 at 12:25 am

    I just had my gallbladder removed and started to notice it.

  • Reply peelyo94 July 5, 2019 at 7:20 am

    I took clove and grapefruit seed oil first time yesterday and this morning my stool floated and had like mucus in it.. I had a tender pain in my small intestine too few hours after taking the tablets. Should I stop taking them or is it a good sign candida is going away?

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