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Noticed undigested food in stools. Cause?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2004
Answered : 1721 Questions
I have bulky, unformed, excessively large volume of stool that seem to indicate malabsorption. They often float, contain undigested food bits and leave me feeling very fatigued and weak. I am otherwise am a healthy 24yr old male. No Celiac or Crohns. This has been occurring for approximately 1 year. What could be the cause of this?
Posted Fri, 14 Jun 2013 in Digestion and Bowels
Answered by Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar 7 hours later
Apologies for the delay.

I could think of a description where the stool is bulky, unformed, offensive and large. This is found in the following conditions

1) Infections like Shigella, E.Coli, Botulinum
2) Pancreatic lipase deficiency
3) Bile duct obstruction.

It is not easy to pin point the exact cause without investigations and examination as some typical complaints like abdominal pain, bloating and previous complaints of fever were not explained by you.

I suggest you need to go for simple testing first
Stool testing
Blood counts
Ultrasound of the abdomen.

We need to understand the problem quickly. If it is fat malabsorption then you would not be absorbing the fat soluble vitamins such as A, D, E and K. THey need to be replaced.

I will be available for your subsequent follow up before you XXXXXXX local physician and get the above simple tests. If he is not thorough you can XXXXXXX a Medical Gastroenterologist as well.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Noticed undigested food in stools. Cause? 8 hours later
Hi Doctor,

I have no abdomen pain, no fever and only slight bloating but having a bowel movement takes away the bloating. I've had stool testing, blood counts and abdomen ultrasound which all came back normal. I suspect gallbladder issues or bile acid malabsorption issues but am unsure.
Answered by Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar 20 hours later
That was a good suspicion. However there would be an increase in fat substance in the stool. Did they test for it? Bile acid malabsorption prevent micelle complex ( a special substance) in the gut. If there is malabsoption then the fat in the food is not absorbed properly.

I think the next best step should be to head to a Medical Gastroenterology as the complexity might increase and local GP will not be able to entangle it.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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