Are you worried about those undigested food particles in your stool? 

Don’t worry. It can be perfectly normal to find fats or undigested food in your stool. But remember, it can be a sign of a significant health-related issue if accompanied by other symptoms.

Your food is digested in the gastrointestinal tract. Once it is properly digested, the nutrients from the food are absorbed and used as fuel by the body. The food you eat is only partially digested in the stomach. This partially digested food moves to the intestine, where the vitamins and nutrients are absorbed. In contrast, the waste components of the food travel to the large intestine and are excreted out of the body in the form of stool.

The water from the stool is absorbed in the large intestine. However, if the food passes quickly, little water is absorbed. This often results in diarrhea. On the other hand, if the food passes slowly, way too much water is absorbed, which results in constipation.

What types of food can be seen in your stool?

Foods high in fibre, such as beans, green leafy vegetables, fruit and vegetable peels, potatoes, etc., can’t be fully digested. Therefore these types of carbohydrates pass through your GI tract undigested.

You might likely find particles of various foods such as seeds, vegetable peels, nuts, and corns in your stool. Especially you might wonder that the grain looks untouched, yet the body has digested parts of it. Cellulose, which is the outer skin of the corn, is not broken down by the body, while the nutrients inside the kernel are digested and absorbed.

What are some causes of this undigested food in stool?

Various health conditions can cause the appearance of undigested food in your stool. This inability of your digestive system to properly digest food is often termed malabsorption

This malabsorption can occur due to many different reasons, such as overgrowth of the small intestine, celiac disease or wheat allergy, Diverticulosis, lactose intolerance, and pancreas issues. 

Your small intestine has a natural microbiota that is crucial for B12 absorption. If these bacteria grow too much, this can cause conditions like malabsorption, vitamin deficiencies, and damage to your intestine.

If you talk about celiac diseases, they are autoimmune disorders which occur in reaction to gluten. If your body does not absorb gluten, the intestine gets damaged, and you might face problems digesting the food. This eventually results in malnutrition.

Furthermore, other causes of undigested food in your stool include Diverticulitis. In this condition, small pouches bulge out from the sides of your intestine, where the food gets stuck. This ultimately leads to infection.

Having problems related to the pancreas, such as pancreatic insufficiency, cystic fibrosis, pancreatic cancer, etc., can cause mucus plugs in the pancreas. As a result, the pancreas does not release the enzyme necessary for digesting fats.

Similarly, if lactose intolerant, your body cannot digest lactose because it does not produce the enzyme lactase. 

Can you relate undigested food to hormonal imbalances in the body?

Hormones such as progesterone and estrogen affect digestion and overall gut health. In addition, hormonal imbalance or fluctuation affects the speed at which the food moves through the intestine. Any changes in the levels of hormones make the food pass faster or slower than usual. Faster than average movement can cause stomach pain, nausea, or even diarrhea. Otherwise, if the motion of food is slow, this can lead to constipation, gas or bloating.

So, do you need to be seriously concerned about the undigested food in your stool?

Although it is normal to find some undigested food particles in stool, if this is accompanied by symptoms like tiredness, weight loss, diarrhea, fever, blood in stool, and loss of bowel control, you should see a medical practitioner. 

There might be specific causes that you would not be able to digest some types of foods, such as lactose intolerance, celiac diseases, etc. In such cases, it is best to consult a nutritionist or health care expert, who would suggest a diet plan according to your body type. 

Visit our health care and nutritionist website, Fantastic Life, where you can consult the best nutritionists and get all possible information regarding your suitable diet plan to help you lead a better and healthy lifestyle.