What Do Stools With Bad Odours Mean?

Published on March 21, 2016

Stools begin to form in the large intestine (your colon), which is connected to your digestive system. Generally, you have ‘good bacteria’ that lives in your large intestine for helping to break down and digest food that enters from the small intestine to the large. This is when stool is formed. Then, stools begin to pass through the large intestine and down through the rectum for evacuation.

At some point, people will experience a change in their stools such as constipation. Constipation is common and many people have experienced it at least once in their lives. Constipation affects roughly one in five Australians over the age of 30.

Several factors that could cause constipation include lack of exercise, a poor diet, lack of fluids, certain medications and bowel disorders. When you find it hard to pass a bowel movement, pass hard or small stools, or strain when trying to go to the toilet that is known as constipation. You can normally find constipation relief by taking laxatives such as Dulcolax®. Laxative tablets help relieve moderate to severe constipation on a temporary basis.

But, what about the odour of your stool?

In many cases, changing your diet can result in foul-smelling stools. Another common cause is malabsorption, which happens when your body can’t absorb the right amount of nutrients from your food. Normally, this happens when there is an intestinal disease or intestinal infection that keeps your intestines from absorbing your foods nutrients.

Other causes may include:

  • Crohn’s disease
  • Coeliac disease
  • Intestinal infection
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Chronic pancreatitis
  • Short bowel syndrome

There are more bacterial cells in your digestive tract than in the whole body. It’s essential for our bowels to work properly when absorbing needed nutrients, but also keep out things that could do us harm such as germs, harmful foods, and chemicals.

Diagnosing Foul-Smelling Stool

When you go to see your doctor, he’ll ask you a series of questions about your stools. These will likely include questions about the consistency of your stools and when you first smelled the foul odour. If there has been a change in the consistency of your stools, say constipation symptoms, your doctor will want to know before providing a treatment plan. He’ll also want to know when the change occurred, if you changed your diet in any way, and what types of foods you ate prior to your stool becoming foul smelling.

In addition, your doctor might request a sample of your stool to check for viral, bacterial, or parasitic infections. He might even need a blood sample for testing.

The outlook of your future health will depend on the cause of your foul-smelling stool. Many conditions that cause odour are treatable. However, conditions like Crohn’s disease or irritable bowel syndrome require lifelong diet changes and/or medication to control pain and bowel movements.

Use only as directed. Always read the label. If symptoms persist, consult your Healthcare Professional.

Learn about which Dulcolax product may be appropriate for you.

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