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.


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.


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.


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 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?

393 Comments on "Floating And Sinking Poop"

MSG's picture
Comment Quality Moderatori 2000+ points

Yesterday morning I had two b.m.'s, one at home before breakfast and the second soon after I arrived at work. Both were large and normal, and both sank. Somewhat to my surprise, in the late afternoon I had a third movement, very soft and gassy--and it floated, several slushy pieces. As usual, I washed hands before flushing, and as I reached to flush, I saw the last piece slowly sinking to the bottom of the bowl. Obviously the excess gas had finally been displaced by water.

prarie doggin's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Quality Moderatorg 4000+ points

MSG, how can you talk about poop when our great nation is being over run by bad grammar and text speak? We are under attack right now by cyber nerds. Poor Bilgepump has been wounded and is making grammar errors by the bushel full. T'box and Sittingpretty may be the next casualties unless we come together behind our Chief and fight back.
Chief, lead us into battle!!
We're all all behind you.
Well except for me, I've got a bone in my knee.
I'll be your battle planner.

ChiefThunderbutt's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatorf 5000+ points

PD.....I believe we should elect MSG as our leader in the grammar war since I believe he is an English teacher. We can rally behind him as soon as he finishes taking a shit.

Eat chilies and feel the burn!!

How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on!

MSG's picture
Comment Quality Moderatori 2000+ points

Gosh, guys, thanks! What a testimonial! When I have more time, I'll write a poem in honor of this honor; I shall try to compose it while seated on the hole-y throne.

sittingpretty's picture
Comment Quality Moderatori 2000+ points

I'm right behind you...oops! I better step to the side just a little. Being behind, is not the best place to be.
...And their flesh like dung. Zeph. 1:17

...And their flesh like dung. Zeph. 1:17

Anonymous Coward (I'll take this one)'s picture

"Inquiring mind", about the lovelys that exit our fabulous human forms.

Ass Clapper's picture

I would like to thank everyone for the wonderful lesson in poopology.
I feel assured that my sinkers are created by my amazing ability to fart. In fact, I just ripped off a clapper that vibrated the windows. It clapped so loud that the clapper on my lamp just caused the light to flash on and off 8 times.
So with gas like that, there can't be any air left in my turds to cause them to float:-)

Captain Ginns's picture

This is just too funny along with some very insightful informations. Good stuff.

Anonymous Coward's picture

i once pooped and one half floated and one didn't same poop here just cut in half

jim's picture

Is there a relationship between IBS and floaters?

ChiefThunderbutt's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatorf 5000+ points

jim.....I disabled your link.....people come to PR to discuss poop rather than religion; unless, of course, the religious aspect fits in with the topic being discussed.

Eat chilies and feel the burn!!

How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on!

Anonymous Coward's picture

What should you do if you have a GI infection?
Is aciclovir good?

Survivors of the Flush's picture

I enjoyed the article - I had gastric bypass in 2004, and now, 6 years later, I've been making only FLOATERS for about 3 weeks... nice little floaters... happy, sorta wanting to be survivors of the great flush, perhaps... anyway, good to read the cause and feel better about them - still will tell my doc next visit, but not a "OH MY>>>"

Turd Monger's picture

I have recently noticed more and more amphibian turds (air breathers with the head lurking above water and the tail well under water. Amphibians are a true sign of good health as they combine both the properties of floaters and sinkers. I also do fart fairly often and this can also be a good sign of health. My wife is getting a little disgusted with the constant descriptions I make of my proud turds after they are birthed. She must really love me or feel very sorry for me since we have been married 27 years.

amy's picture

wot does it mean when my poop is glodon

king shit's picture

some people have little balls of poop like "coco puffs" this is from taking pain meds and being constipated. i get that way every now and then and all i need to do is eat 1 apple a day and it takes care of the "coco puffs" good luck..........

Turd Mongress's picture

Amphibian turds. I thought only girls had those! I used to joke to my husband when he would get on my nerves that "I s*@t bigger than you so watch out!" Well, you learn something new everyday.

SHITSUCKER's picture

why does shit make a giant splash and hit my nuts?

Bilgepump's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorh 3000+ points

probably because your nuts are so small that it wouldn't matter how big a splash you got from any size turd...your junk is gonna be dry. I, on the other hand, soak my nuts every time I sit on the throne...without assist from splash.
Its a bitch on the cat trying to dry off, but the scars are healing nicely.


The proper order is kiss me, then go smell the other dog or cat's butt. I cannot stress this enough.

"One of the founding members of the Front Page Hyena Pack, and runs as its alpha male when the urge strikes him, which is often." Daphne (one perceptive chick)

I'm Wasting My Time But I Wanted To Tell My Story's picture

Lately my poops been not going out right away,& there has been this green & red forming color when i look in the toilet,it looks great!but,latelyy i've been worried if my butthole is infected..if my turds r red & green combined is that a thing to worry about?And also,lately i've been in the bathroom for over an hour trying to squeeze the bad boys out(turds) outta my buttt..does that seem regular too you?My poop has been runny for the last 3 and a half months,& i've been eating Taco Bell and McDonalds & everything that is bad for you,I am doing pretty great aren't I?

Ole Man Dan's picture

I have Celiac Disease. I was diagnosed 5 yrs. ago. Pre-diagnosis, I had loose poop, that kind of sprayed. (And smelled really bad)
After I changed my diet I became a 'Sinker' and I'm really proud of it...
('Floaters' or 'Sinkers' beat 'Sprayers')

MSG's picture
Comment Quality Moderatori 2000+ points

Dear OMD, I agree, anything beats sprayers! May your poops continue to sink!

nicolette's picture

i used to have floaters all the time but since ive been on the slim fast diet (about a week) they all sink. i dont mind it though

Dire Rear ! 's picture

Superb bit of info after finding the last two days of floaters, I'm a big Full English Breakfast man myself here in the UK, but have recently started eating Bananas, so maybe this is the reason for my floaters !

stanleyman's picture

My poop has been floating for 1.5 years and I continue to steadily lose weight (from 135 to 118 and dropping...) I've been checked for celiac disease, thyroid, and have other diseases... my bloodwork keeps coming up normal. But I think there's something wrong with me. I'm not the type of person who loses weight easily. I've never been able to get below 130lbs. I feel like the weight loss has something to do with the floating poop...

Anonymous Coward's picture

I have started consistently emitting floaters. I have two types of toilets in my home - the American swirling type and the European all at once flush type. The floaters submit to the American version, but they tend to dodge the flow in the European version. Sometimes I have to get them tangled in a lots of toilet paper to snag them down, but that as often clogs the toilet.

I always forget to use only the swirling toilets when I need to dump. Perhaps I need more lead in my diet.

ChiefThunderbutt's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatorf 5000+ points

AC ... Send me your address and I will send you a box of my wife's biscuits.

Eat chilies and feel the burn!!

How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on!

Anonymous Coward's picture

well im a floater always have been always will be! Thanx for the info!

Anonymous Coward's picture

hmmm...my poop always sinks and tonight i noticed it floated. i thought i had heard that this had something to do with fiber, so i came online to check. now that you mention the gas thing, i did have a lot of gas tonight. i've also been taking acai supplements and now i wonder if that keeps your stomach from absorbing fat because you also mentioned something about fat absorbtion. very interesting info...thanks!

Anonymous Coward's picture

Another perspective: I noticed that shortly after my wife announced her (surprise!) intention to divorce, I became very gassy and my poop started floating on a regular basis. As the anger subsided over many weeks, the poop started sinking again. What your body does with strong emotions is amazing.

JackRe's picture

Back when I was being potty trained, I remember leaving a floater which my father explained was a sign of good health. When I was younger, I didn't like eating meat for some reason and ate a lot more veg and fiber than my siblings. I think that gas is the #1 factor in floater production, and fiber helps you produce or trap it.

These days, I try to eat a healthy amount of protein and veg/fiber, so my poos are light sinkers - they sink but appear to have a little buoyancy. Sometimes one end will sink and the other will poke up a bit. Just now I made one that floated, which I noticed happens when I eat too much fruit in one sitting, like last night when I had a big bowl of strawberries by themselves.

MSG's picture
Comment Quality Moderatori 2000+ points

Our systems are all alike in many ways, yet there are individual differences among us, including our responses to specific foods. That response can be consistent or can change from time to time. For the past three or four days I have had Popeye's fried chicken (we brought a big box of it home, had some that evening, and I was piecing from it for lunches thereafter). After the initial meal: normal b.m. After the first large lunch: Normal first b.m., then quite a soft one (#5 on Bristol Stool Scale) a little later. After the second large lunch, near-diarrhea later that afternoon. Yesterday I had the last of the chicken, and so far no movement at all. When it comes, it will likely be normal. So in this instance, same person, same food, four different results. Incidentally, none of those poops floated, not even the #6.

Flump's picture

I've recently changed my diet considerably from one dominated by meat, cheese, bread, alcohol, potato crisps and other munch. I now eat mainly fresh fruit, dried fruit, seeds, nuts, vegetables and occasionally meat. My movements in the past have almost exclusively been floaters. Now they mostly sink, no longer stink and I have considerably less gas than I used to. Not only that, I feel FANTASTIC!

jillocity's picture

roflmao...came with a question about a floater (not used to seeing that)...read a LOT of really funny stuff...no definitive answer, but that's okay, it's all good...

MSG's picture
Comment Quality Moderatori 2000+ points

Had a soft floater (#5) yesterday; likely from artichokes the night before. Otherwise still all sinkers.

Anonymous Coward's picture

floaters can be easily sunk by putting a few folds of toilet paper on top of them. Overcomes the bouancy, down they go

Tammy's picture

This is a great blog. I have bookmarked it and hope for more. I enjoyed it!

floatingsister's picture

my sister is a big time floater, and can i just say... it stinks when the poop will never go back down the drain

Anonymous Coward's picture

This Is Very Strande The Fact That You Guys Talk About Shit Also The Fact That Im Really Leaving You Guys A Meassage Really Thought Poop Make A Website A Bit More Intersting! >:]

ChiefThunderbutt's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatorf 5000+ points

Strande????? Meassage????? Intersting????? Im???

Thanks for your input AC.

Eat chilies and feel the burn!!

How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on!

The bathroom critque's picture

Sink or float my poops are the shit!!!

ChiefThunderbutt's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatorf 5000+ points

Sorry PoopHead Joe... This is not a dating service for skat freaks.

Eat chilies and feel the burn!!

How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on!

Pile it High and Deap's picture

Thanks for all the comments. I laughed a lot. Whichs means even at 40 bathroom jokes are hillarious.

As for me I have had a life time of floating torpedoes until recently. Now I am dominated by the sinking depth chargers. My gasseiness is much less. I credit this phenom to lack of alchohol. Give me a good night out on Guiness and a big black floater is assured along with the wife not wanting to get with 10 foot of the bed or just flat out getting blown out of bed in the morning. Much more methane. Otherwise I am producing a more mild gas in volume and stink factor.

I am about ready to run an experiment. I am going to start taking a probiotic and see if that changes things. I will not change my diet otherwise.

As for you vegitarians: What do you have canine teeth for if not to eat meat?

As for fatty diets making sinkers I highly doubt it. Fat floats on water. Any doubts look at your salad dressing. So fat would add bouyancey. Gas I believe is the right answer. So be good to your microflora.


Anonymous Cowardette's picture

Had some weird, dark, loose sinkers after a 36hr Oreo binge--a lb total (oreos, not poop that I know of).

MSG's picture
Comment Quality Moderatori 2000+ points

Yes, AC, Oreos, or anything dark and chocolate in large quantity, will darken your poop. I've never eaten a box at a time, but can imagine the results you cite.

Poop-curious's picture

I seriously just read a 6 year conversation on poop...and loved it!! I regularly fluctuate between the floater and the sinker and honestly never thought a thing about it until today. Does this make my poop enigmatic? Or just fickle?

Old Yella Shit's picture

I was having consistently loose yellow crap for about a year. A week here and there it would improve. I've been taking supplements and probiotics on and off also. I've also had what I would call pancreatic pain which subsided after a week or so of Pancreatic enzymes.

I finally decided to fix my diet. Threw out most of the wester pre-packages shit and eating mostly raw veggies with cooked/unprocessed chicken and beef sometimes. I've cut out all grains, wheat, corn, etc...Dairy, soy and legumes also.

I dropped 15 pounds in 2 months and look and feel much better. Poo is starting to float very often now. I thing avocado is doing it. If you have GI issues check out the Specific Carb Diet, Elimination Diet, Paleo Diet, or any yeast treatment diet.

May the flush be with you!

no stinketh's picture

I was eating horribly and consistently had sinkers. For 2 months I tried the "proper food combining" eating method. Not only did it look like I lost 15-20lbs (reality 9 lbs),but in the second month my poop never stunk, always floated and I never experienced an embarassing unexpected farting fest. It was great! So I have to believe that floaters are healthier.

POohatma Ghandi's picture

I'm an equal opportunity pooper EOP. Some sink, some float. I eat mostly non-processed foods and overall pretty healthy. Def more so than the average american. I'm also a good solid once-a-day'er. My wife is a vegetarian and she is FULL of rabbit turds. 4-5 times daily. The saying goes there's 3 things you can count on Death, Taxes and my wifes rabbit turds.

Jeafjet's picture

I am in my 60's, for 15 years I shared the same, mostly raw, vegetarian diet with my sister. I expressed floaters whilst hers were sinkers.
The main difference I can see is the fact that she is unable to swallow lumps, so always chews her food like I know we all should. I am sure my half chewed food leaves air trapped, plus the fact that it is mainly raw contributes to my floaters.
I conclude that floaters consist of more undigested food.

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