What Does It Mean When Your Poop Floats: Causes and Treatment

Floating poop is a topic that many people may find embarrassing or uncomfortable to discuss, but it’s important to understand what it means and what may be causing it. When you have a bowel movement, the contents of your intestines are expelled out of your body, and the appearance of your poop can provide insight into your digestive health. Normally, poop should sink in the toilet water due to its density, but when it floats, it could be a sign of underlying health issues. In this post, we’ll explore the causes of floating poop and how to treat it. Understanding this common issue can help you take better care of your digestive health, so let’s dive in.

Why Does Poop Float?

Intestinal Gas

Intestinal Gas

Intestinal gas is a common cause of floating poop. It is formed when we swallow air or when bacteria in the large intestine ferment undigested food, producing gases like nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and methane. While passing gas is a natural process, excessive gas can lead to discomfort and embarrassment.

Swallowing Air

Swallowing air, also known as aerophagia, is a common cause of intestinal gas. This can happen when we eat too quickly, drink carbonated beverages, or chew gum. Certain habits like smoking, talking while eating, and using straws can also increase the amount of air we swallow. To reduce aerophagia, it’s important to slow down while eating and drinking and avoid using straws.

Fermentable Carbohydrates

Fermentable carbohydrates are another culprit of intestinal gas. These carbohydrates are found in foods like beans, lentils, wheat, onions, garlic, and some fruits. When these foods reach the large intestine undigested, bacteria ferment them, producing gases that can lead to bloating and flatulence. A low-FODMAP diet, which restricts fermentable carbohydrates, can be helpful for people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Bacterial Fermentation

Bacterial fermentation is the main cause of intestinal gas. The large intestine contains trillions of bacteria that help digest food and produce essential nutrients. However, when these bacteria ferment undigested food, they produce gases that can lead to bloating, cramping, and diarrhea. Certain types of bacteria, such as Methanobrevibacter smithii, produce more gas than others, making some people more prone to gas than others.

In summary, intestinal gas is a common cause of floating poop. It can be caused by swallowing air, fermentable carbohydrates, and bacterial fermentation. Reducing aerophagia, following a low-FODMAP diet, and taking probiotics can all help reduce intestinal gas and improve digestive health.


Malabsorption is a condition in which the body is unable to properly absorb nutrients from food. This can result in a variety of symptoms, including diarrhea, weight loss, and malnutrition. There are several conditions that can cause malabsorption, including lactose intolerance, celiac disease, and pancreatic insufficiency.

Lactose intolerance is a common form of malabsorption that affects approximately 65% of the world’s population. It occurs when the body is unable to digest lactose, a sugar found in milk and other dairy products. Symptoms of lactose intolerance include bloating, gas, and diarrhea. While there is no cure for lactose intolerance, it can be managed through dietary changes and the use of lactase supplements.

Celiac disease is another type of malabsorption that affects the small intestine. It is an autoimmune disorder in which the body reacts to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. Over time, this reaction causes damage to the lining of the small intestine, making it difficult for the body to absorb nutrients. Symptoms of celiac disease include abdominal pain, diarrhea, and weight loss. Treatment involves following a strict gluten-free diet.

Pancreatic insufficiency is a condition in which the pancreas does not produce enough digestive enzymes. These enzymes are necessary for the body to break down and absorb nutrients from food. As a result, people with pancreatic insufficiency may experience diarrhea, weight loss, and malnutrition. Treatment typically involves taking enzyme supplements with meals.

In conclusion, malabsorption can have a significant impact on a person’s health and well-being. Understanding the underlying causes, such as lactose intolerance, celiac disease, and pancreatic insufficiency, can help individuals manage their symptoms and improve their overall quality of life.

High-Fat Diet

High-Fat Diet

Eating a diet high in fat can lead to many health problems, including weight gain, high cholesterol, and heart disease. One of the less known consequences of a high-fat diet is floating poop.

Fried foods, processed snacks, and fast food are all high in fat and can contribute to floating poop. When you eat these types of foods, your body has a hard time digesting them properly. The fat stays in your digestive system longer and can cause your poop to be greasy and float.

Additionally, a high-fat diet can lead to dehydration, which can also cause your poop to float. When you eat a diet high in fat, your body needs more water to digest it properly. If you don’t drink enough water, your digestive system becomes dehydrated and your poop can become dry and float.

It’s important to make dietary changes if you’re experiencing floating poop as a result of a high-fat diet. Try to limit your intake of fried foods, processed snacks, and fast food. Instead, opt for healthier, low-fat options like fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. Not only will this help reduce floating poop, but it will also reduce your risk of other health problems associated with a high-fat diet.

In conclusion, a high-fat diet can have negative effects on your digestive system, including the appearance of floating poop. By making simple dietary changes and ensuring proper hydration, you can improve your digestive health and reduce the occurrence of floating poop.



Dehydration occurs when the body loses more fluids than it consumes. This can lead to a number of health problems, including constipation and floating poop. There are several factors that can contribute to dehydration, including low water intake, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Low Water Intake

One of the most common causes of dehydration is not drinking enough water. The recommended daily intake of water varies depending on age, sex, and activity level, but as a general rule, adults should aim for at least eight glasses of water per day. When the body doesn’t have enough water, it tries to conserve what it has by absorbing more water from the colon. This can lead to harder, drier stools that are more likely to float.


Diarrhea is another common cause of dehydration. When you have diarrhea, your body is losing fluids more quickly than it can replace them. This can cause dehydration, which in turn can lead to floating poop. Diarrhea can be caused by a variety of factors, including viral or bacterial infections, food intolerances, and inflammatory bowel disease.


Like diarrhea, vomiting can also cause dehydration. When you vomit, you lose fluids from your stomach and may not be able to keep anything down. This can lead to dehydration, which can contribute to floating poop. Vomiting can be caused by a variety of factors, including viral or bacterial infections, motion sickness, and pregnancy.

To prevent dehydration and floating poop, it’s important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and other fluids. If you’re experiencing diarrhea or vomiting, it’s important to replenish lost fluids by drinking clear liquids like water, broth, and sports drinks. In severe cases of dehydration, medical attention may be necessary.

By understanding the causes of dehydration and taking steps to prevent it, you can reduce your risk of floating poop and other health problems associated with dehydration.

When Should You Be Concerned About Floating Poop?

When Should You Be Concerned About Floating Poop?

While floating poop is generally harmless, there are times when it could indicate a more serious underlying condition. Here are some instances when you should be concerned about your floating poop:


Steatorrhea refers to the presence of excess fat in the stool, which makes it oily and greasy. If your floating poop is accompanied by steatorrhea, it could be an indication of malabsorption or pancreatitis. Malabsorption occurs when your body is unable to absorb nutrients properly, while pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. Both conditions require medical attention.

Gastrointestinal Infection

If your floating poop is accompanied by other symptoms such as abdominal pain, cramping, diarrhea, and vomiting, it could be a sign of a gastrointestinal infection. Gastrointestinal infections are caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites, and can be easily transmitted through contaminated food and water. If left untreated, these infections can lead to dehydration and other complications.

Pancreatic Cancer

While floating poop alone is not a definitive sign of pancreatic cancer, it could be one of the early warning signs. Other symptoms associated with pancreatic cancer include abdominal pain, weight loss, and jaundice. If you have a family history of pancreatic cancer or are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to consult a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

In conclusion, while floating poop may seem like a harmless occurrence, it’s important to pay attention to any accompanying symptoms that could indicate a more serious underlying condition. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, don’t hesitate to seek medical attention.

How to Treat Floating Poop?

Dietary Changes

Dietary Changes

When it comes to treating floating poop, dietary changes can be incredibly effective. By incorporating certain foods and nutrients into your daily diet, you can help regulate your digestive system and prevent your stool from floating.

High-Fiber Foods

Fiber is an essential nutrient that promotes healthy digestion and regulates bowel movements. Incorporating high-fiber foods into your diet can help prevent constipation and promote regularity in the digestive system. Some examples of high-fiber foods include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts. These foods can also help lower cholesterol levels and promote weight loss.

Low-Fat Foods

When you consume a high-fat diet, your digestive system may have difficulty digesting and absorbing all of the fat. This can lead to floating poop. By incorporating more low-fat foods into your diet, you can reduce the amount of fat your body needs to digest and absorb. Some examples of low-fat foods include lean meats, fish, dairy products, fruits, and vegetables.


Probiotics are live bacteria that can help improve the balance of gut bacteria within your digestive system. By introducing more probiotics into your diet, you can improve digestion and reduce the likelihood of floating poop. Yogurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, and tempeh are all excellent sources of probiotics.

Incorporating high-fiber foods, low-fat foods, and probiotics into your daily diet can be an effective way to treat floating poop. However, it’s important to consult with a healthcare provider before making any significant dietary changes.



Proper hydration is essential for maintaining overall health, and it can also play a role in preventing floating poop. While drinking water is the most obvious way to stay hydrated, there are other options that can be just as effective.


Drinking enough water throughout the day is crucial for staying hydrated. According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, men should consume about 3.7 liters (125 ounces) of water per day, while women should aim for about 2.7 liters (91 ounces) of water per day. However, individual needs may vary based on factors such as age, activity level, and climate.

One simple way to ensure that you’re drinking enough water is to carry a water bottle with you throughout the day. You can also try tracking your water intake using a smartphone app or setting reminders on your calendar.

Herbal Tea

In addition to plain water, herbal tea can be a great source of hydration. Many types of herbal tea are caffeine-free and provide additional health benefits. For example, chamomile tea may help reduce inflammation and promote relaxation, while ginger tea may aid in digestion and relieve nausea.

When choosing herbal teas, it’s important to read the ingredients and choose ones that don’t contain added sugars or artificial sweeteners.

Coconut Water

Coconut water is a refreshing and hydrating beverage that has gained popularity in recent years. It’s a natural source of electrolytes, which can help replenish the body after exercise or illness.

However, coconut water can be high in sugar, so it’s important to check the nutrition label before consuming. Opt for brands that don’t contain added sugars or flavors.

In conclusion, staying hydrated is an easy and effective way to prevent floating poop. Drinking water, herbal tea, and coconut water can all provide valuable hydration and contribute to overall health.



When it comes to treating floating poop, medications can be an effective option. Here are three types of medications that may help:

Digestive Enzymes

Digestive enzymes can help break down food and improve digestion, which may reduce the amount of undigested fat in your stool and prevent floating poop. These enzymes are available over-the-counter or through a prescription, and they come in different forms such as capsules, tablets, or powders.

One example of digestive enzymes is pancrelipase, which contains enzymes that help digest proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.

Anti-Diarrheal Medications

Anti-diarrheal medications can help slow down bowel movements and reduce diarrhea, which can be a contributing factor to floating poop. These medications are available over-the-counter or through a prescription.

Two common types of anti-diarrheal medication are loperamide and bismuth subsalicylate. Loperamide works by slowing down the muscles in the intestines, while bismuth subsalicylate coats the lining of the intestines and reduces inflammation.


Antibiotics may be prescribed if you have an underlying bacterial infection that is causing floating poop. These medications work by killing harmful bacteria in the intestines and restoring balance to the gut microbiome.

One example of an antibiotic that may be used is metronidazole, which is often prescribed for bacterial infections such as Clostridium difficile.

It’s important to note that medications should not be relied upon as the only solution for floating poop. It’s crucial to make dietary changes and stay hydrated to address the underlying issues that may be causing the problem. Always consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new medication.
In conclusion, floating poop is a common condition that can occur for a variety of reasons. While it may be alarming at first, understanding the underlying causes and potential treatments can help ease any concerns. From dietary changes to medication options, there are ways to alleviate symptoms and improve gut health. It’s important to note that if floating poop is accompanied by other concerning symptoms, seeking medical advice is always recommended. Ultimately, paying attention to your body and making necessary adjustments can lead to better digestive health and overall well-being.

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