Poop Smells Like Garlic: Causes and What to Do

Your stool should ordinarily smell bad. However, if the smell becomes very foul or garlicky, it is probably due to what you have eaten, which also should not be a problem.

Poop that smells like garlic may also be a result of underlying conditions such as diarrhea or Crohn’s disease. In this case, there are symptoms to watch out for.

poop smells like garlic

Why Your Poop Smells Like Garlic

Let’s find out what these symptoms are, the common causes of garlicky poop, and possible treatment options.

1. Food Choices

Fruits or veggies like asparagus, garlic, and durian naturally have a foul smell. When this type of food forms a large part of your entire diet, expect your stool to smell terrible.

Eating foods that do not agree with your body can also result in foul-smelling poop. For example, if you are lactose intolerant, you do not need to be told to steer clear of dairy food or supplements.

Other likely symptoms

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea.

What to Do

  • Reduce your intake or the composition of these foods in your diet. 
  • Drink water regularly

If it does not present the symptoms above on a recurrent basis, it should resolve on its own.

2. Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome is a common gastrointestinal tract disorder with no cure. It causes your poop to smell because of its close relation with constipation and diarrhea.

Other Likely Symptoms

  • Nausea
  • Change in stool color
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal pain

What to Do

  • See your doctor if the symptoms are severe, especial when your stool appears different
  • If the symptoms are mild, medications for abdominal pain or diarrhea may be prescribed.

3. Antibiotics

Antibiotics can displace bacterial activities in the gut which can result in your poop giving out a rotten smell. These side effects usually stop upon completing the dosage or a few weeks after.

Other Likely Symptoms

  • Constipation
  • Watery stools while on antibiotics and after

What to Do

  • See your doctor

Your doctor may recommend taking probiotics or medications to relieve diarrhea.

4. Infections

Gastrointestinal (GI) infections can be a result of bacteria, viruses or even parasites. Infections along this tract can cause poop to smell.

Other Likely Symptoms

  • Abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Rectal pain
  • Heightened urgency to defecate
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea

What to Do

  • Visit your doctor. Tests may be carried out to identify the causative agent.
  • Antibiotics – for infections caused by bacteria
  • Anti-parasitic medications – for infection caused by parasites.
  • Gastrointestinal infections caused by viruses have no cure. Management includes staying hydrated and enough rest.

5. Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

There are 2 types of inflammatory bowel disease – Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis. Several factors may be responsible for IBD. 

It can be inherited or induced by habits like smoking. Inflammatory bowel disease if left untreated often leads to malnutrition or cancer.

Other Likely Symptoms

  • Body weakness
  • Fever
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Sores in the mouth
  • Joint pain

What to Do

  • See a gastroenterologist or be referred to one
  • Go for the recommended test to confirm your diagnosis.
  • Treatment usually involves medication or modification of diet or lifestyle. The goal is to eradicate inflammation and suppress symptoms. 
  • Severe cases may require surgery.

6. Celiac Disease

This is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of your digestive tract. People with this condition often stay away from gluten-containing products. 

This is because it triggers the immune system. With the wall of the small intestine damaged, stools may start to smell foul.

Other Likely Symptoms

  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Stomach bloating
  • Nausea
  • Weight loss

What to Do

  • Consult with your doctor.
  • Avoid products that can trigger the immune system.
  • Check your blood regularly (blood test) to identify the nutrients lacking.

7. Short Bowel Syndrome

Short bowel syndrome is a rare disorder where a part of the small or large intestine is absent or does not function. It results in frequent malabsorption and constipation. Symptoms usually vary from one individual to another.

Other Likely Symptoms

  • Pale and foul-smelling poop
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Heartburn

What to Do

  • See your doctor.
  • Blood tests, X-rays CT scans, or liver biopsy may be recommended to spot anemia, malnutrition, obstructions, or to check liver function.
  • Treatment options are usually tailored toward symptoms. Anti-diarrheal medication, dietary adjustments, intravenous fluids, or surgery may be advised.

8. Pancreatic Insufficiency

This is when the pancreas does not secrete enough enzymes to process foods in the digestive system.

Other Likely Symptoms

  • Oily and foul-smelling stool
  • Nausea
  • Malnutrition and weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Pain in the back and abdomen that worsens while eating or drinking
  • Pale or clay-colored stool

What To Do

  • Talk to your physician. Go with your medical record if you end up visiting.
  • You may be asked to go for diagnostic tests such as CT scans and abdominal ultrasounds.
  • Pain medications, removing pancreatic lesions surgically, or undergoing a pancreatectomy are some of the treatment options.

Wrap-up

Garlic and onions are primary offenders when it comes to giving off a foul odor. This is because they contain sulfates, whose end products always smell rotten.

In addition to your poop smelling like garlic, if it appears very pale or you are experiencing unexplainable weight loss, see your doctor. 

References

  1. https://www.healthline.com/health/stools-foul-smelling#prevention
  2. https://tourocom.touro.edu/news–events/in-the-news/6-reasons-why-your-poop-smells-so-bad.php
  3. https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/symptoms/stools-foul-smelling
  4. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/giardiasis%3famp=true
  5. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003132.htm
  6. https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/health/954981/bowel-cancer-symptoms-signs-poo-stool-healthy-smell/amp
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7215946/
  8. https://wcpinstitute.org/poop-smells-like-onions/
  9. https://www.nationwidechildrens.org/family-resources-education/700childrens/2021/12/why-does-my-child-have-stinky-pee
  10. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324929