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Stool smelling like burnt hair and watery. Is it a symptom of any disease?

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Pediatrician, Infectious Diseases
Practicing since : 2005
Answered : 1528 Questions
My stool occasionally smells like burnt hair, and has not been normal consistency (a yellowish/clear fluid that floats on the surface, plus the stool itself is sludgy/semisolid). What could this be indicative of?
Posted Thu, 3 May 2012 in Digestion and Bowels
Answered by Dr. Hema Yadav 3 hours later

Thanks for posting your query.

From what you have described, it is definite that your stool is not normal. Such stool is likely to be indicative of infection bacterial or parasitic, allergy or malabsorption.

To differentiate between these, a detailed history and associated symptoms if any like fever vomiting, pain in a abdomen, etc is needed and to confirm the diagnosis a stool routine test and stool culture test has to be done.

If your symptoms have been longstanding or atleast more than a couple of days it is likely to be infective and definitely needs to be tested and treated with antibiotics even if you have no other symptom. This is required to prevent you from getting any complications like malnutrition and spread of infection, gastrointestinal bleeding etc.

So I would advice you to consult your physician or a gastroenterologist whichever is feasible and get your stool tested for exact diagnosis and treatment.

Till then you can maintain your nutrition by having a balanced diet and plenty of fluids. Also avoid stress as it can exacerbate your problem.

Its nothing worrisome as of now and should resolve with treatment.

Hope I have answered your query.
I'll be available for any follow up queries.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Stool smelling like burnt hair and watery. Is it a symptom of any disease? 1 hour later
I feel it is important to mention that I have been drinking a lot; perhaps this could be a leading cause? The only thing is, my drinking habits have spanned several months but my bowel movements have been like this for only the past month or so.

And yes, I do feel irritation in the abdomen, which is usually an indication that I have to relieve myself (stool). Occasionally I will feel irritation in the abdomen at random times during the day. Also, I find that I don't need to eat nearly as much as I used to in order to feel full; I have not been dieting, nor trying to reduce how much food I eat.

Sorry to bother you once again, but given my personal situation I need to be absolutely sure that I have no choice but to see a doctor. If I can resolve it outside of an office, it would be most... beneficial.

Thank you.
Answered by Dr. Hema Yadav 24 minutes later

Thanks for the follow up.

It is a very important fact that you missed in the previous query. Thanks for trusting me and sharing your personal problem.

Yes, alcohol has many adverse effects on the gut causing gastritis, malabsorption, infection.
Though considering your wish I am tempted to advise you to wait and watch after stopping alcohol, the fact that you have been suffering since many weeks dissuades me from doing so.

So being a doctor, my advise to you would be as follows.

First and foremost stop or reduce your alcohol intake as it is causing you to feel full due to empty calories and prevents you from taking adequate diet.

It can cause vitamin B deficiency for which you have to take multivitamins supplement in addition to diet.

It can cause ulcers and hyperacidity in your stomach so you might need antacids like Pantoprazole.

If after a week of stopping alcohol and doing the above you still have diarrhoea or pain in abdomen, seek prompt consultation.

The best action, however would be to visit your doctor now as he may help you in decreasing your alcohol and leading a healthy life.

Wishing you good health.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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