Avatar universal

bowel movements

Should I be concerned if my bowel movements are softer than normal and some float in the toilet?  I have been under some stress and anxiety lately and thought that might be contributing, but I have read/heard that bowel movements that float can be a sign of colon or pancreatic cancer.  I have no other symptoms.  Please help - the anxiety of worrying about this is really starting to bother me.  Thanks.
5 Responses
Avatar universal
How old are you? Are you drinking a lot of alcohol? Any other symptoms?

Colon cancer rarely cause diarrhea or soft stools.

Floating stools may be a symptom of fat malabsorption and this may be due to gallbladder, liver, pancreatic or small intestinal disease.

First you need to have a stool test for fat. Further diagnosis depends on the stool fat test result.
Avatar universal
I am only 41 years old - do not drink and have no other symptoms.  The stools are not fatty and I have had this problem before when I get stressed out.
Avatar universal
Fatty stools are foamy, floating, stick to the toilet and are foul smelling. Only fatty stoals are connected with pancreatic cancer, and other diseases I've listed. Foamy, but not fatty stoal doesn't mean much.

So, if it is not that, then, do you think it could be from fast peristalsis. I mean, when food is not digested completely, it may contain undigested fibers, which could float...

Have you eaten more fruits or more milk products than usually, or have ypou noticed problems with these before?  I'm talking about fructose malabsorption and lactose intolerance. For the former, check my journals.
Avatar universal
I have noticed that there is some undigested food in my bowel movements - most noticeable when I eat corn.  I may be eating more fruits, I usually do in the summer months - I am not sure if I have had this problem before; I've never really paid much attention I guess.  I have done some other reading (stuff written by Dr. Oz) that says the bowel movements should be S-shaped.  Mine have been before, but recently they have been breaking off into smaller pieces (rather than one big long piece).  They are probably two inches long (not real little like dirrehea).  Also, they are softer and easier to pass, so maybe this is a good thing.  In the last few days I have been trying to increase my fiber consumption-eating high fiber cereal, Activia yogurt, etc.  I thought maybe this would help.  Other than this concern I am a very healthly 41 year old female - never had any other health issues, so again I don't know if this is something to be concerned about or not.
Avatar universal
Try low-fructose diet for 2 days. In fructose malabsorption, loose stools may appear. Get instructions in link in my journal.

You can also have another 2 day lactose free diet.
Have an Answer?

You are reading content posted in the Gastroenterology Community

Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Learn which OTC medications can help relieve your digestive troubles.
Is a gluten-free diet right for you?
Discover common causes of and remedies for heartburn.
This common yet mysterious bowel condition plagues millions of Americans
Don't get burned again. Banish nighttime heartburn with these quick tips
Get answers to your top questions about this pervasive digestive problem