Foul-smelling stools are stools with a very bad odor. They very often have to do with what you eat, but may be a sign of a medical condition.
Stools normally have an unpleasant odor. Most of the time the odor is familiar. Stools that have an extremely bad, abnormal odor may be due to certain medical conditions. Foul-smelling stools also have normal causes, such as diet changes.
Causes may include:
Home care depends on what is causing the problem. Things you can do include:
Call your health care provider if you have:
Your health care provider will perform a physical exam and ask about your medical history. Questions may include:
The doctor may take a stool sample. Other tests may be needed.
McQuaid KR. Approach to the patient with gastrointestinal disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 134.
Updated by: Jenifer K. Lehrer, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Frankford-Torresdale Hospital, Aria Health System, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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