ZocdocAnswersI've passed twice my normal amount of stool in 24 hours. What could it be?

Question

I've passed twice my normal amount of stool in 24 hours. What could it be?

Hello I have passed stool 3 times yesterday and once today and the volume seemed to be twice the amount, it is not diarrhea nor dysentery there is no red blood or black patches on the stool. it is solid and there is no change in my diet. I normally pass stool 2 a day once in the morning and once again about 11 am. So my question is could this be the onset of something serious. Thank you for your help.

Answer

It's hard to know from one day of symptoms whether this represents something serious or just a change in your usual habits. So it is important for you to discuss this with your doctor. Your description answered some important questions, and without bloody or black or tarry stools some of the more concerning causes of increased stool frequency, which includes bacterial infection, mesenteric ischemia (not enough blood flow to the gut), inflammatory bowel disease, or a gastrointestinal bleed. One possibility is a subtle change in your fiber consumption or even a change in the amount of caffeine you've been drinking, which could cause the mild variation in stool frequency even if your diet is largely the same. You could also have a mild viral gastroenteritis which may not be causing frank diarrhea but slightly increased stool output. Systemic disorders that can affect bowel movements includes hyperthyroidism and disorders of the liver, gallbladder or pancreas; the latter would often cause changes in the stool color or odor (usually greasy, foul smelling, or grey/pale). Anxiety or heightened emotional states can affect stool frequency as well. The hallmarks of something serious include actual diarrhea, bowel movements more than 5 times per day, fevers, chills, black or bloody stools, weight loss, nausea/vomiting or decreased appetite. If your symptoms persist for longer than a day or two or you develop any of the above symptoms, I would recommend you discuss your symptoms with your doctor to make sure nothing serious is going on.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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