ZocdocAnswersWhat causes loose stools?

Question

What causes loose stools?

My bowel movements are never fully formed. They're never entirely watery like diarrhea, either, but they tend to be kind of a mixture of solid waste and then some thinner liquid. Is this just a normal type of bowel movement, or do I have a problem that's causing this?

Answer

Every person is different in terms of their frequency, quantity and consistency of the bowel movements that they have. If this is something that you have had your entire life than it may not be something to be concerned about. The consistency of your stool has a lot to do with your diet and so you may consider evaluating what you are eating and the amount of fiber and fat (for example) that 'you have in your diet. Also, it is important to maintain good hydration and this will also affect the consistency of your stool. There are many GI infections that can cause changes to stool and bowel movements, and this is outside the scope of our discussion. In these cases, you may have abdominal bloating, cramps, blood in stool, frequent stool, or other symptoms. Of course, it is best that you be evaluated by your primary care doctor who will be able to evaluate your medical history and presenting symptoms and decide upon the appropriate workup and potential treatment options if they are available. Consider also seeing a dietician who may be able to evaluate your current diet and see whether there are any changes that may help you.

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

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