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Stool Color Changes (cont.)

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Mucous in the stool

Mucous in the stool may be a normal variant, and it may cover segments of formed feces. However, it also can occur in patients with inflammatory bowel disease or cancer. Mucous that is also associated with blood and/or abdominal pain should not be ignored and requires medical attention. Mucous in stool can also be seen in patients with irritable bowel syndrome.

Stool that floats

Most stool floats because of poor absorption of nutrients or excess flatus (gas). It is a normal variant and usually of no concern. Changes in diet can lead to stool that floats, but as an isolated symptom, no action needs to be taken and often it resolves spontaneously.

Malabsorption syndromes that are associated with floating stool include lactose intolerance, celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, and short bowel syndrome.

Stool does not float because of increased fat content.

Changes in the size and shape of stool

Each person has their own size, shape and consistency of stool. It is the change in stool pattern that matters more than the absolute size and shape of stool. Narrow stool, sometimes called pencil-thin, may occur occasionally and is of no concern. People with irritable bowel syndrome may develop thinner stools.

A person with "normal" stools that has a new change in the caliber (diameter, length, width) of the bowel movement should consult his/her doctor. This may be a sign of a narrowed or scarred colon, perhaps due to a tumor, but the health care professional may want further information by taking a history and performing a physical examination before being concerned about that conclusion.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/30/2013

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Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/stool_color_changes/article.htm

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