3 Causes for Foul Smelling IBS

3 Causes for Foul Smelling IBS

What does it mean to have digestive health problems?

Understanding our bathroom habits isn’t typically something we learn growing up. However, we can see the biggest changes in common digestive problems by understanding our signs and symptoms. How much do you know about your digestive health? Do you experience foul smelling gas or stools? Read about these 3 Causes for Foul Smelling IBS.

Gastrointestinal bugs and chronic illnesses are on the rise. 60 to 70 million americans are affected by digestive diseases, and 135,000+ people suffer from colorectal cancer.

Causes for Foul Smelling IBS

In learning what our bowel movements mean, we can make informed decisions about when it is time to seek out help. There are times when we should be allowed to take action in our own hands, but the important thing is making sure that decision is an informed one and we also know when it is time to get help.

Every day, we eat a large variety of foods which contain nutrients, anti nutrients, enzymes, and sometimes chemicals. We also consume protein, fat, carbs, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals. Food is not just what it appears to be from our 5 senses. In fact, it is almost like we have a 6th sense for what we need, and our choices can have very biological reasons. Some cravings tell a better story about what your body needs than it does of your strength and will power.

Many of the following common digestive problems and their causes can also present as nutrient deficiencies or toxicities. Because there are many possibilities of nutrient deficiencies related to each symptom, it is hard to describe how each plays their role.

Some of the more common nutrient depletions or toxicities that result in GI symptoms are: antioxidant, fiber, magnesium, calcium, potassium, zinc, b vitamins (B3, B5, B12, folate, choline), chloride, copper, iodine, vitamin E, vitamin A, vitamin K. In addition to these nutrients being potential causes from either a depletion and/or toxicity level, many of them depend on other nutrients for their proper absorption. Sometimes our nutrient status might not be low or high of any of these, but rather of another nutrient that is required for the use and function of these nutrients.

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Here are 3 Causes for Foul Smelling IBS with top signs & symptoms, and what you might want to consider:

Smelly IBS, Gas, & Bloating?

Healthy bowel movements will generally have very little smell. If you notice the following common digestive problems alongside smell, it is worth additional investigation:

diarrhea or loose stools
odors that a fan or match cannot cover up
Gas or bowel movements accompanied with unpleasant odor, especially alongside cramping, bloating or diarrhea, can point to these three causes: difficulty in digesting any one or more foods, food allergies/sensitivities, and/or bacterial infection.

Here are a few causes explained:

Enzymes, Stomach acid and Bile:

Starting at our mouth, our digestive tract produces stomach acid and a variety of enzymes. You may struggle to breakdown food without proper salivation, chewing, and/or enzyme production.

With low stomach acid, one might not complete the breakdown of protein. Without specific enzymes, one might not complete the breakdown of certain fibers, vegetables, sugars, or phytonutrients. Low bile production or an inflamed gall bladder and liver can cause poor digestion of fats and result in foul smelling stools or gas.

In addition to foul smelling gas or bowel movements, we can experience: body odor (like from garlic), bad breath (like from garlic or onions), or our urine may even have a smell (like from asparagus).

Meanwhile, keep in mind that our digestive tract also has trillions of living bacteria. There is always a balance of good and bad. When we do not fully breakdown the particulates of some foods, the bacteria can feed off of your left overs and ferment them. This can bring on bad smells, and all the previously listed symptoms.

Just think of this example outside of your body: we know that bacteria surrounds us everywhere. When you have spoiled food that has a foul smell, bacteria is feeding off of the food and fermenting it. Similar things can happen in your digestive tract if beginning stages of digestion are not completed and you expose food to a hoard of different bacteria.

Food sensitivity, intolerance, or allergy:

Food sensitivities have grown to become a very common digestive problem. We don't simply just develop an allergy, the mechanism is actually very biologically complicated. Food sensitivities involve antibodies, which are soldier cells that target pathogens or anything that presents harm to the body.

You may have heard of leaky gut before, and you may have also met someone that has an epi-pen and goes into anaphylactic shock from certain foods. These both involve food allergies/sensitivities but operate on different biological pathways.

While they both involve antibodies, they are essentially different types of 'soldiers'. In leaky gut, we may have antibody activity towards certain food if we struggle to break them down. The activity of undigested food particles, sometimes with the involvement of bacteria, can create damage on the cell wall of the digestive tract where we absorb our nutrients. Our digestive tract becomes a war zone.

This can mean that undigested food particles will pass through, into our system. Our body has no idea what to do with this, so some of our little army will want to take care of it. When we eat those foods again, we risk more damage and higher release of these antibodies. If this becomes persistent, we may produce too many antibodies. Once the foreign invader is cleared out, we may have an excess that don’t have a job to do. We can't just leave them unemployed, so, our body has us crave that food again to allow the extra antibodies to fulfill their responsibilities. This commonly happens with legumes, gluten, dairy, sugar, etc. This can potentially be something we heal.

With anaphylaxis, we are essentially sending out the swat team whose responsibility is much more pertinent. This team of assassins want to get the foreign invader fully out of the body, STAT. This is usually very well known to the individual and they have received an official diagnoses as an allergy that typically does not resolve over time.

The lining in our digestive tract heals every three days, so if a person is presenting symptoms within 3-4 days, it is likely that the cells do not have enough time to heal and whatever is causing damage is consumed on a regular basis.


Infection or stomach bug:

As previously mentioned, there are trillions of different types of bacteria that already live inside out digestive tract. In addition, our body and digestive tract interacts with other pathogens, viruses and bacteria regularly. If any one of those has a chance to survive and grow in our GI environment, it will likely contribute to an imbalance in the tightly regulated bacteria that already lives there.

Some of these pathogens live on fresh food, in the bathroom, on the counter, in the air, etc. and some are naturally occurring in our digestive tract but can go haywire with the right diet for them to feed. Determining the type of bacterial or viral imbalance is difficult because symptoms can be similar to other causes like a food intolerance. Symptoms are also insufficient evidence to determining the specific bug and further lab testing is crucial to finding the right course of treatment.

Since there are a variety of causes and bugs, with some being more dangerous to your health than others, assistance is highly recommended.

Many times, lab testing can be the most helpful in understanding the cause and proper course of action, but is not always necessary. Depending on the real root cause and severity of symptoms, a variety of supplements can be beneficial, but because of the high risk of colorectal cancer, food allergies and stomach bugs, it is important to receive additional guidance.

Any of these 3 Causes for Foul Smelling IBS should not be taken lightly. Sometimes it can be difficult to pinpoint the root cause because many symptoms overlap between conditions. Seeking out professional help to better understand your needs is the best thing you can do if you notice any of these symptoms.

**the content of this article about 3 Causes for Foul Smelling IBS is not intended to be used as a diagnostic tool. It is meant to be used as a mindfulness tool to help you understand your health needs and make a decision on when help should be integrated into your journey.**