What does it mean when your feces floats in water?

William B. Salt II., MD

Feces (stool) floats because of an increased content of gas or water (or both).

This question was addressed in a prestigious medical journal, the New England Journal of Medicine (May 4, 1972) by Dr. Michael Levitt from the University of Minnesota, who is an authority on intestinal "gas."

To float, stools must contain gas. Whether the stool is a "floater" or a "sinker" depends upon differences in gas rather than fat content. A high stool gas content (and hence a floating stool) is related to gas (methane) content.

Thus, stools float because of an increased content of gas or water (or both). There is nothing wrong with "floaters."


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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.