Is your stool bigger and smellier than usual? Is it pale in color? Does it float in the toilet? Do you notice droplets of oil on the surface of the water in the toilet? If you answered “yes” to all of these questions, you may have what doctors call steatorrhea. No, it’s not a disease but a sign that there is something wrong with the digestive system.
Steatorrhea is the fancy medical term for a fatty or greasy stool. While it’s perfectly normal for the stool to contain fat and other stuff such as mucus, fiber, protein, bacterial and various cell linings of the gastrointestinal tract, having too much fat in it than usual is abnormal.
Keep on reading to know some of the most important things you need to know about fatty or greasy stools, such as the causes, signs and treatment. Have your family members and friends also introduced to steatorrhea by sharing this article on your different social media sites afterwards.
If there’s more fat in your stool than normal, it’s a telltale sign that your digestive system is not in an optimal shape. More often than not, steatorrhea is the result of what’s referred to as malabsorption. Just like that the name says, it’s all about the failure of your body to absorb much-needed nutrients.
There are many different reasons behind malabsorption, and it’s very much likely that you have already heard or read about them in the past. One example is lactose intolerance. If you have it, then you tend to encounter all kinds of unfavorable symptoms each time you consume milk or dairy products.
Another very common cause of fatty or greasy stools is celiac disease. This is a problem concerning the digestive system, and it is characterized by hypersensitivity to gluten. A type of protein, gluten is found in various types of grains such as wheat, barley, rye and triticale.
Telling if you have steatorrhea is rather easy. All you have to do is make a quick observation before flushing the toilet. If you have steatorrhea, your stool appears pale. Unlike a normal stool that sinks, something that is fatty or greasy tends to float.
Why it floats is due to the fact that it contains a lot of gas. It’s for the same reason why a fatty or greasy stool is larger than usual. But since the one responsible for its size is gas, passing it usually does not cause any pain unlike when you are constipated in which having large stools is likely.
You may also notice that your stool is much more foul-smelling than usual. Doctors say that you may also experience symptoms such as excess gas, abdominal distention, abdominal pain or cramping, unintended weight loss and diarrhea. The symptoms may vary depending on the root cause.
In dealing with fatty or greasy stools, the goal is to identify the medical condition that’s responsible for it. Once it is established, the right treatment can then be determined. Since there are different things that can be blamed for steatorrhea, treatment also tend to vary.
For instance, milk and dairy products should be eliminated from the diet if the cause is lactose intolerance. However, it’s possible for some people with lactose intolerance to consume small amounts of trigger foods without ending up with all kinds of unfavorable digestive issues.
If the culprit is celiac disease, the solution is for the individual to steer clear of anything that has gluten in it. This means that the likes of wheat and other gluten-containing grains should be avoided. On the market these days, there are all kinds of gluten-free food products available.