Changes in bowel movements can be concerning, but how do you know when and if you need to seek help?
A change in bowel movements can be a difficult problem to figure out. Everybody's gastrointestinal tract functions differently. While most people move their bowels one to two times a day, some people go three to four times a day, while others only once or twice a week. A change in the number or consistency of stool should alert you to see your physician.
Depending on your age, and other associated symptoms, a gastrointestinal evaluation may be warranted. If there is associated weight loss, abdominal pain or bleeding, an urgent evaluation with your physician is imperative. If not, you can attempt to see if the diarrhea resolves on its own. Over the counter antidiarrheals such as immodium or kaopectate can be taken to try to stop the diarrhea. If you are experiencing pain, or bleeding, check with your physician prior to taking any medications to stop diarrhea. You might hav...
Definition Stools that float are usually due to poor absorption ( malabsorption ) of nutrients or excessive gas (flatus). Alternative Names Floating stools Considerations Floating stools are seen in a variety of different situations. Most are diet-related, or occur during a gastrointestinal infection. A change in diet can lead to an increase in the amount of gas produced by the bacteria found in the (healthy) gastrointestinal tract. Acute gastrointestinal (GI) infections also can result in increased gas in the intestines, due to rapid movement of food through the GI tract. One wrong idea is that floating stools are caused by an increase in the fat content of the stool. In fact, it is increased gas in the stool that makes it less dense and allows it to float. Increased levels of nutrients in the stool that have not been absorbed by the GI tract supply the normal bacteria that live in the gut. These bacteria, in turn, produce more gas. This results in more gas-rich stools that float. Common Cause...
The stool guaiac test finds hidden (occult) blood in the stool (bowel movement), even when you cannot see the blood yourself.
It is the most common form of fecal occult blood test (FOBT) in use today.
Guaiac smear test; Fecal occult blood test - guaiac smear; Stool occult blood test - guaiac smear
How the test is performed
In the most common way of doing a stool guaiac test, a small sample of stool is placed on a paper card and a drop or two of testing solution is added. A color change is a sign of blood in the stool.
If the test is performed in an office or hospital, a doctor may collect a small amount of stool during a rectal examination.
If the test is performed at home:
You will need to collect a stool sample from three bowel movements, one right after the other.
You will then smear a small amount of stool on a card, and mail it to a laboratory for testing.
There are many ways to collect the sam...
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