Whenever the bathroom subject comes up, we normally brush it under the rag or discuss it in the form of embarrassing jokes. You shouldn’t ignore this area since it’s an important part of your health. Whatever goes down your toilet can tell you more about your gut. Floating poop might be as a result of what you ate, but it can also be a sign of something more serious. Issues such as gas, changes in diet, and minor infections may make poop to float. Here is what it actually means if your poop floats.

1. Poor Digestion of Fats

Health community believes that floating poop is a sign of poor digestion. Even worse, the floating poop may stick to the side of the toilet bowl becoming difficult to flush or you might see an oily sheen appear on the surface of the water, this means fats in your diet most likely were left undigested.

What you need to do is talk to a health practitioner and let them examine the health of your liver, gallbladder, and pancreas all of which are involved in the production of bile used to digest fats.

2. Constipation

Chronic constipation is a common cause of floating poop. Constipation occurs when one doesn’t have enough digestive motility (the intestines aren’t working to push waste along). Constipation can be caused by poor diet, anxiety, lack of exercise and lack of enough water intake. You should drink more water to help hydrate the bowel and stool. Also, take magnesium supplements to relax the intestine or use herbal remedies like Aloe Vera juice which improve elimination.

3. Less Fiber Intake

While the debate between floating or sinking poop continues to heat up, some see floating poop as an indicator that your food has a good amount of fiber. This is because those who eat more fiber have a lot of bacteria in their lower gut. This causes poop to contain more gases produced by the bacteria and gases make waste less dense thus resulting in a float. Nevertheless, it doesn’t matter if you’ve seeing floaters or sinkers in your toilet, ensure your food is high in vegetable, fruit, nuts, and legumes to attain the required amount of fiber per day. Otherwise, the goal is to achieve at least 35 grams every day. But if you’re not used to consuming fiber, start slowly to prevent the quick increase of bacteria feasting on the fiber causing digestive discomfort.

4. Celiac Disease

According to experts, floating poop may be caused by celiac disease. Eating much of gluten is said to leave the gut inflamed and unable to digest food properly. Therefore, your stool may float and be tan or grey in color and have a foul smell. In serious cases, you might see a floating, soft, diarrhea like stool frequently. If this is it, consider getting tested for celiac disease and avoid gluten completely.

Floating Vs Sinking Poop

Many health experts aren’t in agreement with either the floating or the sinking poop theory. What they are emphasizing on is the frequency, shape, color, and smell of your poop. The checklist below should tell you if you’re healthy and the status of your stool.

  • Eliminate at least once per day, but not more than three times.
  • Have an even medium brown stool in color with no visible bits of food, fat, blood or mucus.
  • It should have a fairly neutral smell, but not overly unpleasant.
  • A poop that is smooth and about the shape of a banana, not too hard or too soft.

If the above checklist is a pass for you, then your poop is healthy and you might experience a mix of floaters and sinkers on different days. But it shouldn’t be frequent.

When to See A Doctor

You shouldn’t panic because of occasional floating poop. But if the symptom persists consulting a doctor can help diagnose the underlying problem. You should see a doctor if:

  • Your floating poop seems very fatty or greasy and this continues for more than three days.
  • You have chronic constipation or diarrhea.
  • You have a pale or very light floating stool.


Basically, poop is the body’s way of eliminating waste and it says more about our diet and health in general. Once in a while, you might have a floating poop which could be as a result of changes in diet or temporary changes in bowel habits which isn’t something to worry about. Additionally, avoiding foods that cause gas might not be the solution to your problem. Yes, these foods can make your poop to float but they have positive attributes. For example, beans can cause stomach gas but they are rich in fiber and antioxidant. Don’t avoid them but try to eat a small serving and space out the intake over the day.

All images by Pixabay


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