Occasionally people may experience undigested food in stool which may be a cause of concern for some. When we consume food they get digested and metabolized by the body, as a result stools are made for excretion from the body. Occurrence of food fragment in your stool is basically due to high fiber food which does not get digested by the bodily enzymes. Usually undigested food is not a matter of concern always. But if accompanied with other issues such as weight loss, bowel movement changes and persistent diarrhea then you may need professional medical assistance. In case you notice such symptoms consult your doctor immediately.
Food processing into stools
It is estimated that it takes around 40 hours for food to be consumed processed and eliminated as stool. In children the same processing would take around 33 hours. The estimated time would actually vary from person to person depending on the bowel functioning. This is why excretion may occur at varying frequency ranging from once or three times a day to even once in three days. In serve cases, constipation may occur wherein infrequent excretion is experienced due to hard and dry stools while in diarrhea too frequent excretion takes place due to watery stools.
Symptoms of Undigested food in stool
There are various clinical manifestations associated with undigested food in stools. Some of the possible symptoms include:
- Pain in stomach
- Watery or loose stools
- Queasiness and vomiting
- Reduced appetite
- Fever, sometimes with dehydration and infection
- Affected sleeping pattern
- Difficulties having bowel movement
- Becoming tired too soon
- Sense of incomplete passage of stool
- Urgency to excrete stool
Though the condition may not be always serious it may hinder your performance at work or make you feel low at home. Hence, it is crucial to consult your doctor to restore your health and ensure there is no underlying complication which can aggravate.
What causes undigested food in stool?
There are many disorder and underlying factors that are recognized as cause of undigested food in stools. Malabsorption may occur due to several disorders such as diverticulitis, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease etc. Bacterial and Viral infection are also said to cause occurrence of undigested food in feces. The condition may also be side-effect of drugs such as antibiotics and some other drugs. Experts have also identified that lymphoma, truncated blood flow to small intestine and sometimes parasitic infection play a role in causing digestive issues. Most of the aforementioned complications can be handled by consulting a physician and can be effectively treated.
The role of enzymes
Enzymes are crucial for our survival as most functioning depends in the enzymes. These enzymes are present in whole foods that help with the process of digestion. But most people do not get sufficient enzyme through their diet. Modern diet contains mostly processed and heavily cooked food which deprives the natural enzyme from food and causes poor digestion. Body is unable to break down food optimally due to lack off enzyme and vital nutrients of food is not absorbed. This also causes undigested food in stools. Moreover, stress, aging as well as demand of modern lifestyle causes depletion of enzyme-store in the body again leading to improper digestion.
Telling whether indigestion is due to enzyme issues
Following are some symptoms that may indicate possibility of enzyme issues in your body associated with undigested food in stools:
- Bloating or flatulence after consuming meals
- Feeling full after consuming few bites of food or sensation of food in your stomach
Dealing with undigested food in stool
Appropriate management will help in dealing with presence of undigested food in excreta. Unless the condition is addressed by a professional GP the treatment may become difficult. It is crucial to avoid taking any medicine without doctor’s approval but you can keep yourself hydrated by consuming increased fluid. Avoid eating foods that contain high amount of fiber. Go for low-fiber foods such as rice, bananas, apples, fish, cottage cheese and chicken if necessary. If you are losing more amount of liquid and food then consume same amount of food and liquid to ensure supply of required nutrition to the body and maintaining hydration.
Affected individuals should also avoid consuming greasy and high-fat foods. Beer, cabbage, carbonated drinks, etc, are some consumables that form gas; these foods should be strictly avoided. To obtain some relief from the condition you can take yogurt and probiotic consumables. It is also beneficial to restrict consumption of caffeinated beverages.
Tips to deal with enzyme issues and reduce chances of undigested food
Some experts suggest chewing your food appropriately. This will reduce the processing required in the body and digestion may become slighted better. Though it is not supported by any scientific study it is said to be effective. Avoid taking chewing-gums as this mimics digestive process which causes secretion of necessary enzymes that are required for actual digestion. Eat smaller portion of food; if necessary eat more frequently but ensure to chew your food well. Raw food will help in enhancing digestion and increase consumption of raw low-fiber foods.
Consult your doctor if you notice undigested chunks of food in your excreta. If your doctor detects that you are suffering from issues related to enzyme then he may suggest you supplements to balance level of enzymes in the body. He may suggest you HC1 and bile which helps in digesting food well.