Variations In Bowel Movements

What Causes Bowel Movement Changes?

Bowel movement changes can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'worrying' to 'generally fatal'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose bowel movement changes, we could:
  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "bowel movement changes" as a symptom.  Here are eight of many possibilities (more below):
  • Poor Small Intestine Health
  • Stress
  • Candida / Yeast
  • Increased Intestinal Permeability
  • Diverticular Disease
  • Fecal Impaction
  • Low Carbohydrate Diet Consequences
  • Ovarian Cancer

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
normal work hours
high dairy product consumption
paying poor attention to detail
craving for salt
slight abdominal fullness
chronic vaginal yeast infection
significant hypogastric pain
regular episodes of diarrhea
sexual abuse during childhood
history of ovarian cancer
history of deformed toenails
high platelet count
... and more than 120 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of bowel movement changes:
Cause Probability Status
Ovarian Cancer 95% Confirm
Low Carbohydrate Diet Consequences 29% Unlikely
Poor Small Intestine Health 22% Unlikely
Increased Intestinal Permeability 5% Ruled out
Stress 5% Ruled out
Diverticular Disease 0% Ruled out
Fecal Impaction 0% Ruled out
Candida / Yeast 0% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

If you indicate irregular stools, The Analyst™ will ask further questions including this one:
Do you suffer from significant variation in bowel movements? This would include alternating constipation and diarrhea, or changes in pattern.
Possible responses:
→ No / depends on eating pattern / don't know
→ Yes, some
→ Yes, significant
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate either bowel movement changes or significant bowel movement changes, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Colon Cancer

In general, you should see a specialist if you are over 40 and have the following symptoms:

  • A change in normal bowel habits towards looser and/or more frequent stools that has lasted for over 6 weeks
  • Any bleeding from the rectum.

Effects of a Low Carbohydrate Diet

In a study funded by Dr. Atkins himself, 70% of the people that could stick with the diet lost the ability to have a normal bowel movement.  The May 2004 Annals of Internal Medicine study showed that most of the Atkins Dieters had significantly more diarrhea, general weakness, rashes and muscle cramps.

Fecal Impaction

Chronic constipation followed by watery diarrhea that suddenly leaks out is a sign of fecal impaction.