Foul-smelling stools can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'minor' to 'very serious'. 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 foul-smelling stools, we could:
|Short Bowel Syndrome||95%||Confirm|
|Low Digestive Enzymes||26%||Unlikely|
|Cystic Fibrosis||4%||Ruled out|
|Stomach Acid Deficiency||2%||Ruled out|
|Parasite Infection||0%||Ruled out|
How offensive do your stools usually smell? This is difficult to quantify, but a strong smell despite brief exposure to the air, or comments by others, are good indicators!
Possible responses:→ Don't know / I have no sense of smell
→ Never / rarely offensive
→ Occasionally offensive
→ Often offensive
→ Always offensive
Steatorrhea also suggests the following possibilities:
Most people with cystic fibrosis have difficulty absorbing dietary fat, which in turn leads to steatorrhea. Cystic fibrosis interferes with the ability of the pancreas to secrete digestive enzymes: fat is normally broken down by lipase, a digestive enzyme that is produced and secreted by the pancreas.