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Stomach virus, acute diarrhea, fever, cold, smaller stools, intestinal infection. Causes for change in stool sizes ?

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I am an American who has spent the last 6 weeks in Spain. About three weeks ago I came down with a stomach virus that produced constant diarrhea (usually orange), and an off and on fever/cold symptoms. It lasted about a week, and since that time I have felt very good. The only thing that has been strange to me is that my stool is now in smaller pieces, a little larger than a golf ball. There is no pain or any problems associated with it, but it is a drastic difference from the larger, longer stools I am used to producing. Each and every poop I have taken since the illness has been just like this, with usually about three or four coming out in each sitting. Should I be concerned at all about this sudden change in stool shape, especially since it followed a rather traumatic week of diarrhea? Thanks.
Posted Sat, 14 Apr 2012 in Digestion and Bowels
Answered by Dr. Vaibhav Banait 6 hours later

Thanks for the query.

Diarrhea is best described as increased in frequency and fluidity of stools when compared to normal consistency and frequency of stool for that person.

You possibly had acute infectious diarrhea when abroad. The frequency has decreased but the fluidity has not improved possibly because of mild persistent infection. This should improve over next couple of weeks.

Intestinal infection sometimes damages brush border of small intestine. Brush border helps absorption of nutrients. Damage results in malabsorption especially of carbohydrates (milk) and also increased fluidity of stools. Stopping milk for few weeks till brush border regenerates should help. I would also recommend increasing fiber intake in diet like Isapgol husk which is available over the counter.

Changed bowel patern beyond 4-6 weeks should always be investigated and any serious bowel problem should be ruled out.

Hope I answered your query.

Dr. Vaibhav Banait.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Stomach virus, acute diarrhea, fever, cold, smaller stools, intestinal infection. Causes for change in stool sizes ? 4 days later
What is the healthiest size for stool?
Answered by Dr. Vaibhav Banait 1 hour later
Hello again,

There is no such thing like healthiest size of stool. However, I would like to give you certain information.

There are seven types of stool:

Type 1: Separate hard lumps, like nuts (hard to pass)

Type 2: Sausage-shaped, but lumpy

Type 3: Like a sausage but with cracks on its surface

Type 4: Like a sausage or snake, smooth and soft

Type 5: Soft blobs with clear cut edges (passed easily)

Type 6: Fluffy pieces with ragged edges, a mushy stool

Type 7: Watery, no solid pieces. Entirely liquid

Diarrhea is defined by the World Health Organization as having 3 or more loose or liquid stools per day, or as having more stools than is normal for that person.

Constipation refers to bowel movements that are infrequent and/or hard to pass.

I would say type IV is normal. Type III is near normal.

Hope I have answered your query adequately. Should you have any more doubts, I am available to address them.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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