Is Your Poop Supposed To Sink Or Float If It's Healthy?


13 Answers

Rob Facey Profile
Rob Facey answered
From the moment food enters your mouth, your body begins to turn it into a soupy mush called chyme. Chewing, saliva, peristalsis (the involuntary contractions of gastrointestinal muscles), bacteria, hydrochloric acid, digestive enzymes, bile, and other secretions all work to give each meal the consistency of split pea soup.

While your digestive cells are absorbing sugars, starches, fats, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, waste products continue travelling down the line. In the colon, all the leftovers are combined, packed together, and partially dehydrated. What remains is our faeces which consist of water, indigestible fibre, undigested food such as corn and small seeds, sloughed-off dead cells, living and dead bacteria, intestinal secretions, and bile. The worn-out red blood cells in bile give excrement its distinctive brown colour.

If all goes as it should, you'll end up with a healthy bowel movement. Although digestive idiosyncrasies, variations in intestinal bacteria, and other variables can produce different standards for a healthy stool, in general it should be brown to light brown; formed but not hard; cylindrical, not flattened; fairly bulky and full-bodied, not compacted; somewhat textured but not too messy; and very easy to pass. And it shouldn't smell - much. You're passing methane and bacterial, degraded foodstuffs, so there's always going to be an odour, but it shouldn't be a very strong, pungent odour.

Experts disagree on two other stool characteristics the number of pieces and their buoyancy.

Some state that each bowel movement preferably should be in one piece, about the shape and size of a banana and tapered at the end. While others suggest stools don't have to be well-formed logs. They can disperse in the toilet water, in other words, they can break down.

On buoyancy, the opinion differs again. Some think stools should float because buoyancy is a sign that the body has absorbed the minerals in the food and that these nutrients are not contained in the waste. Whereas other say stools should sink because of their bulk and fibre content. However most stools will sink. And many scientists believe whether it floats or sinks really doesn't have any effect on your health.

An occasional deviation from this total picture is usually considered fine however chronic deviations or any featuring blood are not, and should be checked with a doctor.
carrie Profile
carrie answered
If you eat a lot of animal fat your poop will float. I learned this from an episode of House and then had to research it to see if it was true. It is. So if you are a vegetarian, your poop will sink. Too much animal fat--float. So I guess sinking is better.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Well all I can say is that 4 months ago I gave up smoking and the 8 weeks ago I had my cholesterol taken and it was 7.2 and my poo has floated for years and I have often been constipated and for the last 8 weeks I have been on a low fat, high fibre diet and eaten loads more good veg and fruit, drank lots more water given up caffine and exercised half an hour every day, which I havent done in donkeys years and now my poo come once or twice a day and sinks like a good one !!!!  Work that one out.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
I recently lost about 15 lbs over a period of 5 months due to healthier eating habits, I've noticed that since than, my feces is 'softer and floats' whereas before it was 'firm and sank,' should I be alarmed, there is no pain associated, and it has the normal 'smell' as before
Tom  Jackson Profile
Tom Jackson answered

Never realized there were such connoisseurs of "poop" out there--- although awareness of any change in bowel habits is considered a good thing by medical doctors.

From a scientific point of view, sinking and floating is all about density; and the density of the fecal matter you produce in a given bowel movement may vary within the movement, even if you have a pretty predictable evacuation schedule.

Floating may indicate excessive fat intake, but that is probably only significant if it is constant.  (Just as concentrated urine output is a sign of dehydration, but whether it is constant or occasional determines whether dehydration is a significant issue in your diet.)

In a similar way, a high protein, low fiber diet will produce little fecal residue and it will generally sink.

So floating or sinking is a potential sign, not a product mix to attempt to achieve.

And two reminders:

The first definition of diet is the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats.

The second definition is: A special course of food to which one restricts oneself, either to lose weight or for medical reasons.

2 People thanked the writer.
Rooster Cogburn
Rooster Cogburn commented
I really don't see what the big deal is whether they float or sink. Old question too.
Tom  Jackson
Tom Jackson commented
Yes, someone else answered it and brought it up to "current" status.

Didn't realize it until after I had submitted my answer.
Rooster Cogburn
Rooster Cogburn commented
Never have figured out why people dig into these old questions that the people who answered them aren't even around anymore. On my question about religion and politics, I explained to Ty Hibb what was going on. We've tagged the two trouble makers and everything should be peaceful now. No censorship here. Speak your mind and debate as you wish. Just a couple were leaving rude comments and insulting people. That question brought them out and they've been dealt with. Peace? This isn't an easy job.
Arafat Hossain Profile
Arafat Hossain answered

If your poop floats it means there's too much fat. Not the healthiest thing. Try reducing the fat in your diet and see what happens. Normal poop should sink.

Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Needs to float!!!! Go watchoprah she and that doctor talk about these important weird health issues. If you are glutenous pig then it will sink. Sugar=fat so try fiber instead.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
You can't really say that it is supposed to do a certain thing. It depends on your diet. When it floats it shows an excess of fat because fat is less dense than water thus it sits on top of the water.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
I eat tons of salad without dressing, lost 20 pounds, and rarely eat junk and mine sinks so I don't think it means you are unhealthy.
Steven Vakula Profile
Steven Vakula answered
Whatever it smells like if you are not wanting the natives to smell you your diet had better change to that of the local residents! They will smell you a mile away, now do you care if it swims or sinks or maybe both you just want out of the ....
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
LOL what a strange question.
However, as a medical secretary, I have come across a lot of strange things, and probably other things that lisamarie probably wouldn't want to think about, either.  Heck, I don't really want to think about them, but yet I do get to type about them.  Fortunately, I'm in a physical medicine area and not something like urology or lab testing or gastroenterology, so I don't have to type that much about them.
So, while I can't really answer the question, I can tell you that I have typed about "floaters" once, and it was in a negative way. 
Does it really matter, though?  Probably not.
thanked the writer.
Anonymous commented
my sister is a health nut, she says if you are healthy it should float ( a lot of fiber ) unhealthy foods would sink so it made me wonder which one is it so I'm tying to fine out. thank for your input. if you find out anymore info please send it along
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Poop floats if you've eaten enough fiber, and smells if you're eaten a lot of processed foods or meats. Healthy poop should be golden brown, nearly odorless, and floating.
patrick mc mullan Profile
No. fecal matter is determined by the type of food we eat. if it contains a high level of fat it will float. many diseases can be determined from fecal waste just on appearance. typhoid fever causes a pea green stool, or fecal waste. of course it would be accompanied by other symptoms such as fever. so if you have been eating and drinking lots of green stuff but otherwise feel fine, then don't panic. black tarry stool usually indicates internal bleeding. this is called melena. but if you are taking iron tablets or drinking lots of Guinness it can have the same appearance.

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