Why your poop smells worse than normal

Stool is not supposed to smell good but it's not supposed to have an extremely foul odour either. Here are a few reasons you might have foul smelling stools.

It is a normal practice for every individual to empty their bowels when they wake up in the morning. We all associate stools with a bad smell, but when your stool has an excessively bad odour to it, it's time you took notice. According to experts, foul-smelling stool is related to the food you consume on a daily basis in addition to the bacteria flora present in your colon. In some cases this imbalance in gut bacteria can also be accompanied by diarrhoea, flatulence or even bloating. The stools which cause a bad odour are most often than not runny and soft and are not regarded as a normal bowel movement.

Why does one have foul smelling stools?

Foul-smelling stools can be caused by a change in your regular diet. Also, malabsorption can also be a common cause. It occurs when your body does not have the capability to absorb nutrients from the food you consume. This is most commonly caused by an intestinal infection or intestinal disease. It prevents the intestines from absorbing useful nutrients from what you eat.

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Listed below are some of the causes of foul-smelling stool:

Antibiotic colitis

The use of antibiotics can cause an unhealthy shift in the normal intestinal flora. This could lead to the gastrointestinal system becoming infected by Clostridium difficile - an anaerobic bacterium. Acute colon inflammation and diarrhea result from toxins produced by the bacteria. It should also be noted that any antibiotic can disrupt your natural gut flora.

Infection of the intestine

Commonly known as gastroenteritis, intestinal infections are commonly caused by bacteria, parasites or viruses. Some organisms that cause foul-smelling stools are Escherichia coli, Salmonella, Rotavirus, as well as Giardia, among others. Drinking or consuming contaminated water and food, respectively, usually leads to this.


Malabsorption refers to the abnormal absorption of nutrient from the small intestine. This condition can be caused by celiac disease, tropical sprue, carbohydrate intolerance as well as gastrointestinal infection. You may be asked to undergo certain tests by your doctor to determine the cause of malabsorption.

Inflammatory bowel disease

Inflammatory bowel disease involves the inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. The conditions responsible for this disease include Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Rectal bleeding is also a common occurrence especially where ulcerative colitis is concerned.

Now that you know what the problem is, here's how you can prevent it;

  • If you are suffering from a disease which prevents your body from absorbing nutrients from food, you can ask your doctor to plan a diet for you. By following the diet, you can ensure a reduction of abdominal pain as well as foul-smelling stools.
  • Ensure that raw foods are cooked properly before you eat them. This includes beef, pork and eggs. Also, a good practice would be to steam meat before actually cooking it.
  • You could also try eating foods in small portions. This will aid in proper digestion.
  • Foods like flaxseeds and other foods that help cleanse the colon are also very helpful.
  • If your colon is full of feces, it can be cleaned through the colon irrigation process, which can help beat foul smelling stools.
  • Do not drink unpasteurized milk. They contain bacteria which could affect your bowels and cause foul-smelling stools.
  • Avoid cutting vegetables and meat on the same cutting board. Always wash your hands before cutting them, this will minimise the possible contamination of foods.
  • Ensure that you drink close to eight glasses of water a day. Also, include hot tea or fresh juices in your diet. These beverages will make the absorption process easier, preventing constipation.
  • You can always eat curd as well as other foods rich in healthy microorganisms. These foods help fight invasive bacteria. This will help reduce the odour of foul-smelling stools.
  • It is essential to incorporate fruits and other foods that are fibre-rich in your diet. They help cleanse the colon and thereby ensure that there is no odour which is emitted from your stool.
  • You could also prevent foul-smelling stools by increasing your magnesium intake. This can be achieved by consuming seeds, nuts as well as green vegetables.
  • Abstain from drinking alcohol or smoking. These practices are responsible for altering your nutritional balance while also disrupting regular bowel movements.

Photo source: Getty images

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