Let's face it: poop stinks. Stool is made of waste, undigested food, bacteria, and other things your body doesn't want, meaning it will never smell great, says gastroenterologist Sameer Islam, M.D. He explains why your poop, and diarrhea in particular, is extra smelly in a new YouTube video.
Although poop smells, the stench of your stool shouldn't make you pass out. If that's the case, there are several reasons for the unbearable smell—starting with your diet. Certain foods, such as eggs, garlic, legumes, and dairy, are hard to digest and can cause gas. In turn, this makes your stool extra pungent.
Other times, the problem may be from an abundance of bad bacteria in your gut, a viral infection, or Clostridioides difficile—a bacterium that causes diarrhea. Certain medical conditions like Celiac disease, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn's disease prevent you from absorbing all the nutrients in food. These nutrients pass into your gastrointestinal tract, where they interact with the bacteria in your colon to cause smellier poop.
If you don't have a diagnosed medical condition and are certain diet isn't the problem, then look at your medications, supplements, and even stress levels—all of which can lead to gastrointestinal issues and stinky poop.
Start by making dietary changes if you think your poop is too smelly. Minimize sulfur-rich foods, like dairy, dried fruit, eggs, legumes, broccoli, kale, and cabbage, Dr. Islam recommends.
"I don't want you to get rid of them completely because they are good for you," says Dr. Islam.
Research whether your supplements or medications cause GI issues and cut out ultra-processed foods, like snack cakes.
"There is nothing good about processed foods. You're going to feel bad and your gut will not be happy. Most are made with synthetic ingredients that are not easy to digest," says Dr. Islam.
If the problem persists, it's worth scheduling an appointment with your doctor to determine whether you have an undiagnosed medical condition, such as Crohn's.
But remember: your poop is never going to smell like roses.
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