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Could fishy smell stools be due to an infection?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2005
Answered : 2305 Questions
Could fishy smell to stool be an infection? LL abd pain, mucus diarhea. Dr thought diverticulitis, then gastroenteritis. Slowly resolving with no meds.
Posted Sun, 17 Nov 2013 in Digestion and Bowels
Answered by Dr. Prasad 32 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Stool smell is not a diagnostic marker...

Detailed Answer:

Stool smell does not help your physician to diagnose the condition. But lower left abdominal pain, loose stool and presence of mucous suggest colitis which is possibly due to infection. I am sure your doctor would have ordered stool tests to confirm infection.

If test was not done, I would suggest you to wait for a few more days. Since you are slowly resolving, I wouldn't recommend investigations now. Drink plenty of fluids and remain hydrated. Use probiotics - supplements or yoghurts.

Hope this helps. Let me know if you need clarifications.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Could fishy smell stools be due to an infection? 12 minutes later
Thank you Doctor. If this is due to colitis how long does it take to completely resolve? Is colitis due to infection different than ulcerative colitis? It is a little over 2 weeks now. Stools are soft now but not watery and mucus is reduced. I am gradually reintoducing foods but dr did not give diet recommendations. I have begin adding soft cooked veggies and bland foods. I do appreciate your help.
Answered by Dr. Prasad 48 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Average time of recovery is 1-2 weeks...

Detailed Answer:

Colitis is a general term for inflammation of lower intestines (the colon). Your complaints are too short to consider the possibility of ulcerative colitis. Moreover, since this is an isolated events and you don't have recurrence, I would not list ulcerative colitis as a cause here.

Like I said earlier, infective colitis seems most likely. The average time of recovery is under 2 weeks. Nevertheless, I have seen patients with slightly prolonged recovery. The positive finding is you are on course towards recovery. So do not be concerned. Continue taking food as much as you can tolerate. Add yoghurt and probiotic supplements - they help.

In brief, yes infective colitis is different from ulcerative colitis. You seem to be suffering with the former condition. Do not be worried as you are on the road to recovery.

Hope this information suffices. I will be glad to answer your follow ups. But if all your questions are answered, please close this discussion.

Good luck!!
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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