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What color is your stool?

This is a post that I recently made in Daily Strengths Cirrhosis Support Group. While I have not yet been diagnosed as having Cirrhosis, I strongly suspect at a minimum I have Alcoholic Liver Disease.

I dont expect to get much of a response to this post because for most people it may either be too embarrassing or too private of a matter to talk about.

Years of drinking may have damaged my body in ways I may never know or will one day soon find out. However, there are other physical signs and symptoms that appear to be the direct result of the manner I chose to deal with anxiety and stress for more than 15 years.

One example of this is that I appear to have some sort of malabsorption disorder with my stool being very light in color (very, very light brown) and with many of my bowel movements that float due to the fat content. My bowel movements also have the same smell that I associate with either bile or stomach acids I have occasionally tasted in my mouth in the middle of the night after going to bed too early after eating a meal.

In the coming months I plan to have my stool tested for its fat content and Ph levels (which is something that many gastroenterologists do not do anymore because of the expense involved). I also plan to get tested for any vitamin deficiencies I may have.

A recent CT Scan and laboratory work suggests that I am not dealing with pancreatitis nor pancreatic cancer for the time being. However, this does not necessarily rule out that these symptoms are not due to some type of pancreatic enzyme deficiency.

I am including a valuable link to an article about malaborption disorders which provides numerous scenarios that can lead to fatty stool.

http://www.helium.com/items/1524484-causes-of-intestinal-malabsorption
One of the many signs and symptoms of listed on numerous information websites about Alcoholic Liver Disease describe patients having either light colored, pale, white or gray stool.

While pale stool is often listed as a symptom for Alcoholic Liver Disease, it appears that most clinicians do not rely too heavily on it as a symptom in its diagnosis because what people eat can also play a significant role in both the color and fat content of stool.
In the meantime, whether you have been officially diagnosed or not with having Alcoholic Liver Disease, are any of you willing to talk about what color your stool was before you stopped drinking and whether it was fatty (did it float) or not. And for those who believe alcohol was the direct or indirect cause of any stool changes, have any of these symptoms revolved from abstaining from alcohol.

Thanks you in advance to those who are willing to share this very personal information which may be embarrassing to talk about.

Jeff

By the way, this Friday (October 23rd) will mark two months of me being completely sober! As I recently shared in Daily Strengths Cirrhosis Support Group, had I known how daily drinking (even amounts as little as 3 to 4 drinks a day) can damage the human body, I would have never resorted to this as my principal coping strategy in attempting to manage stress and anxiety for so many years.

Replies

deleted_user
deleted_user

Thank you very much for what I consider to be a very valuable piece of information. And I am not embarrassed or afraid to tell you I have noticed no change except constipation (I quit smoking too 22 days ago). Also, I have fibromyalgia and bowel movements seem to be linked to my physical pain, so I REALLY do pay attention.

Thanks again, I found your post educational and interesting.

Sawyerc
drafter
drafter

Why did I read this one before lunch?!
deleted_user
deleted_user

It's been almost twenty years since my body and soul allowed me to drink every day, but back then I remember being freaked out over the yellow or light color of my stools. I was drinking vodka by the quarts and adding orange juice by the tablespoon to make it easier to see when my tumbler was almost empty.

So I did the smart thing and switched from orange juice to cranberry juice tablespoons. Strange thing was that the color of the stools didn't change. So I started using grape juice by the tablespoon full.

I finally mentioned it to my doctor and he told me it was most probably bile from an overworked liver and full gall bladder trying to neutralize the acid in the "orange juice".

I can't see why people would be bothered by mentioning such things even around lunch time. Half the people here talk shit all day long. LOL
drafter
drafter

hahahahahaha!!!
deleted_user
deleted_user

Cranky, that one SERIOUSLY made me laugh out loud. Thanks :-)
deleted_user
deleted_user

If you have Cirrhosis, a CT scan will normally show it. What did the scan show in regards to your liver? My gut reaction is that you should be getting normal stools after 2 months of sobriety so you're best off addressing this with a doctor as soon as possible.

Another CT scan on your liver, (combined with a blood test) should tell you a lot.

It's okay to ask these questions here. That's why it's an open forum.
donttread
donttread

Congrats on quitting smoking sawyerc!!!
CoogeeMum
CoogeeMum

Hi Jeff, I'm a big one on awareness where the bowel is concerned. I'd also encourage you to have a colonoscopy. Don't rely on CT scans to show up any irregularities in the colon. Abuse of alcohol also increases the risk of cancer (check out my profile). I'm always telling my mates to see what's up their ass and to moon a Doctor. Thanks for the info and good job on your first few months in sobriety.
deleted_user
deleted_user

Thanks Sawyrec, Drafter, Cranky Old Man, Jack The Dipster, Donttread, and Coogeemum
Thank you so much for both your input and encouragement. I have actually extensively research this topic for several weeks both on the internet and by brief conversations with both MDs and RNs. I am now both very appreciative and eager to hear more from other former chronic drinkers like myself about what they have so far experienced when it comes to their stool color and whether or not their stool is fatty.

Jack, my CT Scan showed a normal liver; however, while pelvic/abdominal CT scans with contrast and ultra sounds are good at determining obstructions of the billary ducts, carcinomas, enlarged livers, fatty livers, and sometimes advanced cirrhosis, the only way early fibrosis and/or cirrhosis can be confirmed is by liver biopsy. A clinician (hepatologist or gastroenterologist) usually makes the determination of whether or not to recommend a liver biopsy based on CT scans and/or ultra sound results, unexplained abnormal liver enzyme results that do not resolve in 6 months, the patients risk factors, and the patients clinical signs and symptoms. Based on this information, if a physician eventually recommends that I have a liver biopsy, I will seriously consider it.
Coogeemum, its interesting that you made that comment about colon cancer, because my journey began on August 23rd when I bled from the rectum. Because I have a family history of colon cancer, I was able to persuade a gastroenterologist to perform a colonoscopy which was performed on September 1st. As you can see by the dates, I normally dont like to wait around to get some things done. The first several gastroenterologists that I called wanted to give me their initial consult appointment 6 weeks down the road without even discussing a colonoscopy based on my symptoms. As it turned out, my colonoscopy was clear, and we determined that my bleeding was from two large ulcerated hemorrhoids. I was also diagnosed with mild to moderate diverticulolsis (without diverticulitis) which also showed up on my CT Scan.

Anyway, back to the subject of poop, and how chronic alcohol consumption may impact a persons digestive system causing light colored stools and fatty stools whether it be by damage to the liver, pancreas, or small intestines, there is a great deal of information that lists light colored stools as a symptom of Alcoholic Liver Disease. However, most information out there stops short of providing more detailed information regarding what is meant by light colored. Some credible websites will state white, gray or clay like. Other equally credible websites just say pale or light colored. There are almost no picture images that one can find on the internet that show an example of what is referred to as alcoholic stool. This is why decided to make this post.

Both the two MDs I have spoken to, an RN, and Nurse Practitioner seemed to be somewhat surprised that the term light colored is used in this way, and have stated to me that the only kind of poop that raises red flags for them are those that are white or black. These particular healthcare professionals whom I highly respect didnt seem to be at all concerned about what I described as very, very light brown. The truth is, before I stopped drinking I didnt pay attention to my stool that much. I just somehow remember them being a much darker brown.

Enough about me. I would really like to hear from others if they are willing to share.

Thanks, again, everyone.

Jeff
deleted_user
deleted_user

Oh, you guys are talking about excreta! I thought you were implying that I was close enough to a bar to tell the pattern on my chair.

Wayne-
deleted_user
deleted_user

Jeff, I don't know if this will help any, but my son was having very light stools and he was not absorbing nutrients properly at the time. It was the combination of foods I was giving him I suspected (tests could not confirm) because I cut out wheat and gluten his stools darkened and firmed up.

Thanks for posting this though-interesting to read your experiences. Hope you figure this out.
deleted_user
deleted_user

Thanks Karmickool. My son's stool is often equally as light as mine. Perhaps I should try a wheat or gluten free diet for the both of us. There was a point where I considered the possibility that my problem could be related to Celiac Disease.
deleted_user
deleted_user

yes, this is quite common-more than anyone is aware of. And you can only find out with many of this stuff through trial and error. Celiac disease runs in my family (Irish). My grandfather had it and was as skinny as a rail-did not eat properly and pooped everything out. I think that it is something to consider.
deleted_user
deleted_user

Sorry I can't help...is it not dead blood cells that turn poop brown? This is off topic but the other day I drank fresh beet juice from my juicer and my pee turned pink.
deleted_user
deleted_user

Its interesting that you mention this as well. I am also half Irish. Sorry to stereotype, but had always attributed the drinker in me to this. I also was very skinny as a child and so is my son. We are both frequent poopers. I poop at least once a day; however, I can poop as much as two three times a day. I have been this way all my life. Its certainly a thought, and I need to seriously consider coming up with a plan to try a gluten and wheat free diet. Thanks, again, Jeff