Floating And Sinking Poop

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Della asks:

What happens if your poop floats? Does that mean something?



Dear Della,

Judging by the number of times it is asked, this question is a source of great concern to the masses. The Floaters versus Sinkers controversy (hey, wouldn't those be great names for PoopReport basketball teams?) has been raging since time began... OK, since the Internet began... OK, since this morning.


WHAT MAKES POOP FLOAT?

Surprisingly, not what you might think.

Conventional medical wisdom attributes Floaters to the amount of fat in your poop. While this IS true for certain diseases (cystic fibrosis, celiac disease, biliary atresia, abetalipoprotenimia and a few other weird sounding illnesses), it is NOT true for your run-of-the-mill healthy person.

Vegetarians would have you believe that the "perfect" stool (that is, one uncontaminated by the consumption of animal parts) is the Floater. Many vegetarians have spent their entire lives in the quest to produce perfection -- when in fact no particular diet can reliably produce Floaters. The vast majority of us bring forth Sinkers.

Sinkers really need a good P.R. person -- they have gotten a bad rap over the ages. Sure, Floaters are cute and all, but a good solid Sinker will never let you down.


BACK TO WHAT MAKES POOP FLOAT...

Actually, it is gas that does it. Increased levels of air and gas in the poop make it less dense, and cause it to float. Simple as that. Dietary changes can lead to an increase in the amount of gas produced by the bacteria that live in the gut, which is probably what the vegetarians are basing their whole "perfect stool" theory on. I don't know -- the whole time I was vegan I never consistently produced Floaters.

Then, after a couple of years, I grew disenchanted and yearned for a hamburger. And that was the end of Poonurse the Vegetarian.


WHY DOES IT MATTER?

Well, I'm a little unclear on that. It must matter greatly to a lot of people, or else they wouldn't take so much time to write to me about it. I guess it could matter if you are worried that you are sick or something.

If you have diarrheal-esque Floaters for more than two weeks, you may have a malabsorption problem -- a dysfunction of the GI tract that affects the body's ability to digest and absorb fat. Acute gastrointestinal infections can also result in increased gas content in the intestines, due to rapid movement of stool through the GI tract.


SO WHAT?

So I am forced to assume that Floaters are NOT the most desirable of all stools. Sinkers are by far more common. Don't spend your life chowing down on tofu burgers just because you think you are being cheated out of a Floater. Neither tofu burgers nor Floaters are worth the trouble. Sinkers are our destiny.

Thanks for asking Poonurse!

Poonurse is an RN with 25 years experience in labor and delivery. Her qualifications
include seeing a lot of poop, and owning a computer. Also, she works in Michigan, which she calls the asshole
of the universe, so that's another bit of credibility.
Got a question for her?

392 Comments on "Floating And Sinking Poop"

pooQueen's picture
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Very informative, poonurse. I always thought producing floaters meant you had plenty of fiber in your diet. I have a combination of both floaters and sinkers which apparently coincide with my gassiness. Cool. Now I know.

Chip Brown's picture
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I've been on a spate of floaters for the past 6 weeks or so. I attributed it to my increased intake of nuts. I thought it was the fat in the nuts, but I guess it's just all gas.

Poonurse's picture
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Di--
I don't think so. We have hard water back home in NC, and have a state of the art water softener here in MI. My poop sinks both places.

I had a killer hamburger last night, for anyone interested. We get them back home in NC. Bubba Burgers. I have badgered and badgered the Meiers here until they finally broke down and ordered them just to shut me the hell up.

Bubba Burgers. Your poop sure won't float after you eat one of those babies...

Di Uhreea's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorl 100+ points
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Excellent report, PN! I was wondering this...
Does the hardness or softness of the water have any effect? If you water contains more minerals, does you poop tend to float more easily? Hmmmm...

Uncle Chunk's picture
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I on the other hand, produce mainly darkish looking cocoa puffs or rabbit turds. There is sometimes a large quantity of them and these little chocolate bullets huddle at the mouth of the pipe and there are so many I cannot count them. They NEVER float. I do not consider myself a vegan, but I have never liked meat such as steak or pork chops. In fact, the only kind of mean I have and ever will take a hankering to is hotdogs, McDonalds burgers, and lunch meat. Could my mostly vegan and processed meats diet be causing my cocoa puff turds? They are also often very hard in consistency. Maybe once a week I will have a good healthy 5-7inch turd...but mostly its nuggets.

Di Uhreea's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorl 100+ points
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Thx, PN. I used to have hard well water and I don't remember anything about the difference of how the turds sank or floated. I only remember the sulphur smell. BTW, I'm not as illiterate as I sounded in my above comment - "If you water contains more minerals, does you poop tend to float more easily?"
I just need to check shit before I flush it down the drain!

The Big Wiper's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Quality Moderatori 2000+ points
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I agree with your analysis here, poonurse. I almost always do sinkers, and I know that it's because of my diet, which ordinarily consists of fish, veggies, salads and other fiber-rich dishes like beans. I guess the last time I saw a floater was when I walked into a stall and someone had forgotten to flush!

Pulling My Pants Down For Peace, Plop and Posterity!

Grebuloner's picture
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Floater free myself, and proud of it! Great report Poonurse.
And yes, Sinkers and Floaters is a great name for a couple of basketball teams. Unfortunately, the name has already been taken by Spike TV's "Most Extreme Elimination Challenge" for one of their events-the rock over water run thing I think. Well, now I can think of them as floating and sinking poo! haha!

daphne's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardSite AdminComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatore 6000+ points
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Wow, are vegetarians obsessed about their dookie? I mean, I'm pretty up front about my vegetarianism, but that's because I have an inability to eat my friends. I never really thought about floaties, as I call them.
I learned something about poop today. As always, thank you Poonurse.

Oh yeah, and I float quite a bit. It's not a 100% thing, but it's quite the normal deal. This means I'm gassy. Great.

.....hugging bunnies since 1969
www.daphneszoo.com

ThreePly's picture
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I find that I produce more floaters at work, and sinkers at home. I wonder why that is. I must fart more at work. It sort of sets the mood for how I feel here at least.

Jack Scat's picture
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I think I'm half and half. I always thought it depended on my mood. When I'm happy, they float; when I'm down, so are my turds. Talk about synergy.

Bobber Bomber's picture
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Poo Nurse:

Actually the perfect turd floats in the bowl with the pointy end up and the turtle head end down. This is caused by the fact that the first matterial to emerge is denser and has a lower gaseous content as all the farts have been squeezed out of the lead material.

The pointed portion of the turd (caused by the spincter squeeze) contains more gas due to all the farts that were backed up and waiting on account of the turtle head blocking the port.

You can guarantee the production of a good Bobber by late-night snackin' on such stuff as pickled beets, cabage rolls, watermelon, and popcorn. That way when you evacuate in the morning, you are more likely to plop a Bobber. And it's really neat when the pointy end is all beet red and bobbin' above the pool line in the potty. Cool!

Peace in the Plop Pot. TH.

daphne's picture
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TH!!!!
Lurking in the hizzy..............

.....hugging bunnies since 1969
www.daphneszoo.com

Slim Jim Junkie's picture
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In space, every turd is a floater.

daphne's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardSite AdminComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatore 6000+ points
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Maybe there's a new contest.

Take the movies' slogans and revise them.

Alien,

"In space, no one can hear you poop."

.....hugging bunnies since 1969
www.daphneszoo.com

Malicious Pooper's picture
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Wondering... Does force have anything to do with it? For instance, if I'm sitting on the toilet, and I'm in a rush, and I shoot one down, it hits the bottom of the toilet, and breaks up. Would the individual pieces of feces float? Why am I interested in this? Do you know any good psychologists?

daphne's picture
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4 out the 5 voices in my head can recommend one.

And, to answer your question, I think that since gas is dispersed in the entire amount of your poop, then it would be like breaking a log of wood up and watching all pieces float.
Good question. I hope Poonurse agrees. She says she's not a doctor, but I think she sells herself short.

.....hugging bunnies since 1969
www.daphneszoo.com

Bek's picture
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I consistently had sinkers and thought I was pretty healthy until about three weeks ago, I started taking lecithin and drinking green tea and kombucha, and now consistently have floaters. I thought this was a bad sign until tonight when I have found people saying floaters are the sign of health. ? I can't tell, I feel the same, but I'm definitely eating better now. I just can't make heads or tails out of the info on which is "best"...

Yo Mama's picture
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I have to aggree with Chip Brown up above. I have been getting acupunture for allergies and digestion, but I also started eating a lot of nuts. Well, they started floating and where very large. I am finding a pattern of people who are saying nuts will do it. :) You can find any thing on the internet these days.

Poonurse's picture
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Bek and Yo,
Don't kill yourself for floaters. They just aren't worth it. You will eventually tire of green tea, lecithin and kombucha, anyway.

Yo--I eat lots of nuts and rarely have a floater.

dingleberry's picture
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the "bouy"
an upright floater

floater's picture
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i have been a floater for all my life until taking antibodics i leave a crummy sinker pile 2-5 times a day so i quit taking them.

wipeonceflushtwice's picture
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I have been on a popcorn kick, eating about a gallon sized bowl full each night. And bingo- floaters. The downside: You have to flush twice - the floaters put up a fight!

Dr. Paul Recher's picture
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I had been thinking my change from a sinker to a floater was due to dietary changes but on review that doesn't fit the timeline.

What does though is I became a floater at the same time I became a methanogenerator as distinct from my previous state as a hydrogen sulphide producer. this change came about due to the total destrution of intestinal flora due to 'triple' antibiotics (mouth, ass needle and IV. When my flora recovered it was methane generating dominant species.

Could this in part explain floaters/ sinkers? Most people in our cuture are sulphide producers. I wonder if in cultures where more people are methane if more of their poops float?

floatandos's picture
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Poonurse, I have mostly large, pellet-like floaters during the day, along with maybe one sinker at a different time (usually after breakfast). In the morning, I have painful gas that will not exit (which makes for a painful morning sit :((! I don't really notice gas throughout the rest of the day. I am a vegetarian but my diet is never consistent.
I bought Acidophilus last night to aid in the enzyme digestion. Do you think that will help and perhaps stop the painful morning gas?

The Shit Volcano's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorh 3000+ points
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I haven't had a floating shit in years and I'm gassier than any of you guys.

I found Jesus! He was behind the sofa the whole time!

POOPLOOPS's picture
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I usaully produce floaters for some reason. I like floaters. There like little boats :)
FLOATERS RULE!!!

bree's picture
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Lately I have had much gas ... a lot more than usual and Im not a vegiterian and dont eat vegetables very often but still awyls have floaters

dogscoot's picture
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Don't take those floaters for granted. You never lnow when that flooting deuce might be your last.

shaddow's picture
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Youve all got it wrong. The problem is not whether they sink or float but how to get rid of those floaters with the density of a ping pong ball.

They invariably occur at the girlfriend's mother's house and are extremely malodorous to boot. They refuse to flush and I usually have to resort to devious methods to dispose of these unwelcome excretions. The reems of bog roll like layers over the top, hoping to weigh it down is doomed to fail as the swirling waters deftly remove it from the krap. Trying the broomstick or toilet brush to break it up only produces smaller floating piles. Untimately you give up and leave them there as if exhibiting a major work of art to the next customer.

Trouble is the next customer is always the mother and I never get invited there again.

FloatLoverAM's picture
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I am a consistant (90%) floater. My girlfriend is a 100% sinker. Do that mean men will rule the world? Just Kidding.

anonymous's picture
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Want to hear something weird? When I'm in L.A., my poo always floats, but when I'm in NYC, my poo always sinks. My diet is not remarkably different when I travel. It's got to have something to do with the water.

Cameron's picture
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Good god, Poonurse you have once again saved all us crappers out there a great deal of dissapointment in trying to acheive a crap that isn't worth it.. for this I think you. and by the way, You and everyone else related to this site are my heroes. when I'm bigger I want to be a pooplogist.

jimmy bob's picture
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that is possibly the best useless information i ever heard nice one geeza

chocolate jesus's picture
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Floating poop may be a symptom of pamcreatitis, which can cause malabsorption. if you have said symptom for a while, might want to get checked out for diabetes, or dont drink so much:)

shitty guy's picture
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Great report poonurse!
I wanted to know what the nutritive value of shit is, because my 8 year old son keeps eating his own shit all the time evnthough he knows that its sick and disgusting.
Please help.

Vinny Poo's picture
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I first had diarrhea my senior year in college and have had it 4 other times since then. I can not stand it and love my solid poo. The strange thing is, most of my solid poo through all of my life would float. Then, when I had diarrhea a couple of times it started sinking. Just a month ago I had diarrhea and now poo is up and floating again. Out of the 30 or so turds from a huge dump maybe 2 will sink. I just went this morn and they all floated as well. Very peculiar.

poopyMcpooppoop's picture
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Someone once told me that if your poop floats, it means you ate something healthy, and if your poop sinks, it's not bad but it means that it has more fat in it, like you said.

Craigory Martinopolous's picture
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Why does the corn in your poop not break up like the other foods?

zoologist's picture
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Craigory,
Whole corn kernels never digest. I first saw this using an outhouse in South America, and it was then that I realized why Science Diet pet food is really bad for animals. The primary ingredient is corn. And that's aside from the kick-backs that the vets get.

Greasy residue's picture
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...he he.it reminds me of the one time i ate a piece of pizza...and then i went to this 60 year old guys hows and made him ---- me in the --- in front of his----!!!

Sexy Printpressman with nice ass and big schlong's picture
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This girl that i work with, Trudy(whos kinda cute and has a real nice Rack, you know? Puppy-dog noses? I mean their these babies are chiseled man! You could bounce a quarter off 'em!!! Anyway....ummmmm? Where was I?
Oh!! Well she says her Poo floats because she eats lotsa fibre. man, I just dont get it. I mean I know my are heavier--that is to say, more dense. Therefore- i'm less full-of-shit and thus correct in my Assessment that feces that floats is full of air pockets or some damn damn thing. Anyway-I DO know this...Poop that floats leaves smudge marks and never has a perfect (pointy) beginning and end! Sometimes it just breaks off or has to be smeeeeeeared off..leaving a nice poo-ey residue. Im gonna keep eating what im eating cuz i like my butt super-clean with minimal residue! Yay me!

poopmagoo's picture
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Soap is made of fat and lye, and soap floats....large quantities of vegetable fats combine with bile (form of lye) from the liver to produce poopie soap.

I wouldn't suggest washing with it, though.

Chris's picture
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My partner has complained to me that her poop has been slightly runny and black for the last couple of days, any idea?

Chris (London UK)

Biddy's picture
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I need help on getting rid of floaters. It's not mine, it's from the cat.....I had to clean out the kitty litter. All but one turd flushed. This last one has been there for over a day. I've flushed many many times, tried using toilet paper, crapping on top of it, even tried adding salt and vinegar to see what would happen. I just can't get rid of it! I don't wanna have to go turd-fishing, but I dunno what else I can do.

Always Checkin's picture
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Cholesterol medication always produces 100% sinkers, and when you have floaters, it is guarenteed that you have been eating bad.

Just Reading's picture
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For Chris: Runny and blackish poo might mean blood.

Pudding's picture
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I was taking Xenical for a time, very greasy poos, but no floaters, so fat is not it. I think that gas content might be it. Gas is put out by intestinal bacteria and flora which can be/but not everytime, influenced by the food we eat

Anonymous Coward's picture
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You realise of course, you are all weird!! haha

Ashole's picture
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Okay i have found out recently im pregnant and ive been on prenatals for a month now and noticed my poo floating ,never seen it do that before ,I've always heard your body is lacking IRON? I dunno maybe im healthy now who knows i'll ask the doctor thursday lol

Mrs. Luvyrpoops's picture
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Wow -- I'm in turd heaven!

I've been an avid poop-watcher for decades; I'm also a vegetarian, of all things, AND a nurse -- more than qualified to make some observations here: I too always thought it was fat that made floaters. There is this certain brand of veggie burgers that consistently gives me floaters -- and healthy low fat foods loaded with fiber always produces sinkers.

My farts are noisy but not too unpleasant; my husbands' smell bad enough to wake me from a deep sleep (I love him a lot) and make me wish I'd invested in a gas mask. His diet is all FIBER! and his poop always s(t)inks.

My idea of heaven is a long, rather big turd that just slides out all nice and easy with a tapered end (so my anus sings with delight) and sinks right on down. One or two of these a day -- better than sex (my husband loves me too).

May you all enjoy your favorite poop today and everyday!

Mrs. Luvyrpoops

Jobber's picture
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Diet may well have some bearing. I am a carnivoire, apart from potatoes I detest most Fruit and Veg and wont eat it them (I get my Vitamin C from soft drinks etc). My turds are firm and they usually are sinkers. A former GF was more into Veggie food although she did eat fish and white meat such as chicken. Her jobbies were easier and smooth but formed not mushy thankfully and were nice big ones but usually came out as a big curved sausage or two but were usually floaters, so the fiber content must have some connection to whether a turd sinks or floats. BTW her poos stunk a lot more than mine!

crapper jon MD's picture
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wow!! i've never seen so much shitty conversation, its beautiful. i haven't had a floater since...a bathtub incident when i was young (about 25). through good times and bad, sickness and health, meat and no meat, gassy and not gassy...the only thing that remains the same is the time in port, usually 2 days,time enough for the gas to be sqeezed out perhaps?

Hot Carl's picture
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My boom boom only floats after a big night of drinking, and its soft and squishy. Why?

Anonymous Coward's picture
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What the heck have I stumbled into here???
too funny!!!

The Dumpster's picture
i 2000+ points
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TSV made the statement in a different thread that you are better off if your poop floats--that way if you are drowning, you can shit yourself a life raft!

Ah, TSV, please hurry back from your journies!

Anonymous Coward's picture
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Brown submarines, mersey trouts, chocolate logs, dirty depthcharges, turtles, names dont do justice we need photographic evidence.

Anonymous Coward's picture
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I have been eating more veggies lately especially broccoli. When I eat more, I get more floaters. If I eat a burger or fruits the poop sinks. Must be something with veggies and the gas thing. Broccoli produces lots of gas!

help my poop's picture
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My poop usually is solid but in the last few weeks my poop has floated. I have always farted a ton. Should i be worried?

poofaced's picture
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I just left a poop and noticed that it sank. I used to have floaters....all floaters. But I just recently started to eat more veggies and my poop now sinks. I noticed that all of the comments on here change up. So is there no way of telling what makes poop float or sink? The world may never know. I find the subject fascinating.

Bunghole In the Jungle's picture
l 100+ points
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Fats float, solids don't. Fascinating? Yes, science is pretty darn interesting.

keeping the whack in tally-ho...
Fartuituos!
Serenshittipy!

poopslut's picture
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For as long as I can remember I have very rarely produced sinkers. I've never understood why people are so worried about sinkers or floaters but apparently I have very desireable bowel movements.

Philly Flier's picture
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I am a total bread and cereal person but love meat too! I eat really healthily with little fat and always have 3 veggies - green yellow and white (moms guidelines - a nurse). I have always made terrific long, amazingly long, nice textured, very sticky sinkers. The more wholegrain cereal I eat, Like Fibre One and Wheat Germ, the more they sink! Suddenly, after years of such marvellous production, I have FLOATERS! What has happened? I started eating more Familia Muesli every morning, maybe it is the uncooked oats etc in it? Nasty shock to a devoted sinker man who regards Floaters as a sign of a diseased bowl! Ha Ha

Mulva's picture
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Ya know..........if we didn't poop in a toilet, we wouldn't even be discussing this topic.........none of us would even know how buoyant our poop was if it didn't plop into a bowl full of water. Therefore, I blame this controversy all on the person who invented the toilet. hehehehe

Mel's picture
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Poonurse,
This site is great. I have found that eating greasy fried foods gives me more gas. Since quitting my full time job and cooking at home more, I have less gas. One trip to Taco Bell or the Chinese Buffet and I am all gassy again! I could beat my husband in a fart contest anyday. Oh yes, taco seasoning in food is the most stink producing thing I have found. P.U.!

E's picture
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Its odd, I had sinkers always until I flushed my gallbladder and liver (twice in one month) of stones, over 300 in 2 flushes ranging in size from a corn seed to a quarter!! Painlessly I may add.

I passed one stone that was oval and an inch and 1/2 long and about 3/4 inch wide, I believe that one came out because of the epson salts day two of the second stone flush.

It dropped like a ROCK lol. Kerplunk ! After that second flush I starter producing 1/2 and 1/2 floaters and sinkers. When flushing I felt the gallstone coming down painlessly (I took NO constipating pain killers with this flush) "I" felt no pain.

After a 16 (yummy) oz drink of olive oil, with equally yummy 5 lemons juiced spaced equally over 2 hours at about 6pm , then the morning after drinking 2 tablespoons of epson salts dissolved in a glass of water. (not recommended for everyone Im told by a doctor)

This brought forth the humungoid stone that the first cleanse without doing the epson salts produced.

Amazing, this cleansing seems to have set me back 15 years (48 now) in digestion. Of course I never paid attention 15 years ago to floaters or sinkers. Much Much less pain under my right rib cage after a meal.

Could this replenished gallbladder bile be related ? Is it acidic bile in the duodenum that produces gassy floaters ?

http://www.drmccarty.com/gallstones.htm
All Disclaimers Apply.

E's picture
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Good news for all floater producing poopers , yeah ! If they persist in your throne then blast em with a 12 gauge shotgun. Voila Gone !

My Neighbors say that wakes em up so I had to stop.

Another way might be one of those plunger thingies for thrones that runneth over.

Anonymous Coward's picture
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I have wondered about this for years now. The first time I heard this mentioned (and only time) was when I caught the tail end of an Oprah Winfrey Show. She was with a celebrity that had just written a book (about fitness). I cannot remember her name, she was apparently very heavy and had become a fitness guru. She had VERY short bleach blond hair and possibly breast cancer???? Very loud and outgoing. Anyway, Oprah said that she particulary enjoyed the chapter on floaters and sinkers.... they talked about it but never said which was better or why.... and I have felt I missed something BIG for the last 7 years or so.... LOL

GottaGoGirl's picture
i 2000+ points
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Susan Powter, or something like that. She was the potato princess: she always referenced how little fat and how much nutrition a baked potato had in relation to other foods. I wonder what ever happened to her.

Anomalous Coward's picture
k 500+ points
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The Floater
I pinched a loaf in the porcelain sea,
It floated there, staring back at me.
It floated, I say - it didn't sink
It lay on the surface and raised a stink.
A solitary turd adrift in the pot,
It lay quietly, (didn't bob alot)
Got me to thinking, and thinking some more,
Trying to come up with a metaphor.
A pithy saying with wisdom and wit,
But no matter what, it was still just shit.