ZocdocAnswersDigestive problems: what is causing them?

Question

Digestive problems: what is causing them?

On and Off Loose/Floating stools- periods of time of constant floating/loose stools and periods of time of no problems. Fatigue at times, Increased Appetite/hunger, Floating small white particles in water that form a slight film after pooping. Excess Gas- Belching, etc. I do have food allergies to soy and nuts, I was eating soybean oil and soy lecithin, but even when I avoid soy as best as I am able I still am having these issues. There are times when I ate soy and had no problems the next day and days when I had avoided soy and had these problems. I am currently avoiding soy and still am having days where my stools are loose. I am thinking that the cause is from a Bacterial Overgrowth, but does bacterial overgrowth go on and off like this and are the white particles that clump together in the water bacteria?

Answer

These symptoms seem quite persistent. As such, if you haven't talking to your primary care doctor about them I would strongly recommend that you do that. Alternatively, you could set up a visit with a gastroenterologist. Either one should be able to help you figure out what to do next. You do have quite a few different symptoms, but they ones that impress me most are the fact that you sometimes have floating stools and that you notice whitish particles and a film floating on top of the toilet water. To me, these all suggest a problem with fat absorption from the food you are eating. There are many different causes of this, but two of the most common would include trouble with the gall bladder (like gall stones) preventing passage of bile into the intestines to help with fat absorption and trouble with the pancreas, preventing the release of fat-digesting enzymes. I suspect that your doctor will want to do a number of different tests. Some of these might include analyzing the chemical composition of your stools, as well as some basic blood work and perhaps an ultrasound of your abdomen. After obtaining these results, they should have a better ideas of the possible causes. Please see your doctor soon.

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