Poop Smells Like Gasoline: Causes and What to Do

Supplements or antibiotics can make your poop smell like gasoline. This is because they contain preservatives and dye (for color). 

Fatty foods, inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease can also give your poop a different smell. 

Here is everything you need to know about why your poop smells like gasoline, risk factors, symptoms to watch out for, and how to manage poops with strange odors.

Why Your Poop Smells Like Gasoline

poop smells like gasoline

1. Bacterial infection

Antibiotics are capable of causing microbe imbalance which can result in infections or severe inflammatory bowel disorders. This occurs when the number of harmful bacteria supersedes the beneficial ones.

A common (harmful) one is the Clostridium difficile or C. difficile. This anaerobic bacterium produces toxins that induce antibiotic-associated colitis, also known as C. diff infection (CDI). 

Symptoms of this infection may include: 

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Fever
  • Leukocytosis – the presence of white cells beyond the needed quantity in the blood
  • Sweet stool odor
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea

Any antibiotic can make you prone or amplify your chances of CDI. Nevertheless, drugs like cephalosporins, fluoroquinolones, penicillin, and clindamycin come with higher risks.

Other factors that can cause make your poop smell like gasoline include:

Aging – as we grow, we become more susceptible to conditions like diarrhea and diabetes. If you are 65 or above, you are at greater risk

Recent hospitalization – being admitted into a medical facility can expose you to different types of medications. These treatments, although very rare, can make your poop smell like gasoline.

The use of a proton pump inhibitor – this device regulates the acidity in the stomach and prevents ulcerative manifestations in the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum.

The most common side effects associated with the device include abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, headache and flatulence. These conditions can make your poop smell unpleasant.

How to treat this condition

  • Medications – this can be in the form of managing your choice of antibiotics or prescription of drugs with low susceptibility to Clostridium difficile infection
  • Insulin therapy – for diabetic-related causes
  • Diet management

What If My Poop Smells Pungent?

If the odor of your poop is strongly unpleasant, it is likely due to your choice of food. Foods like:

  • Carbohydrates​ – ferment easily in the gut and can influence this smell.
  • ​Garlic and onions​ – are serial offenders because they contain sulfates, which usually break down into a smelly substance and can be expelled via feces.
  • ​Legumes and beans​ – contain an enzyme that slows down digestion. The longer the food stays in the gastrointestinal tract, the more it becomes gassy and influences how your poop smells.
  • Greasy or fatty foods – like meat, alcohol or dairy products also contain sulfate. Eating them in excess can give your stool a rotten egg smell.

Symptoms to watch out for include:

  • Blood in stool or black tarry stool
  • Abdominal pain
  • Weight loss 
  • Serious diarrhea
  • Bloating

How to treat or manage this condition

  • Make dietary modifications by avoiding foods like asparagus, garlic, broccoli, and cauliflower. 
  • Be hygienic and handle foods properly to prevent bacterial infections
  • Drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water daily. This helps in diluting the concentration of your poop.

What If My Poop Smells Like Vomit or Sewer Gas?

Unbearable poop smell may be a result of infection or digestive conditions such as:

  • Giardiasis – is an infectious diarrheal disease caused by a parasite called Giardia lamblia. It manifests when you drink or eat contaminated food.
  • Celiac disease – a condition where the body reacts to gluten. This reaction triggers the immune system to attack the lining of the small intestine repeatedly. Damage to the intestinal lining results in diarrhea and other life-threatening complications.
  • Crohn’s disease – is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that can affect any part of the gut. If not properly managed, the inflammation may extend to the innermost portion of the bowel.
  • Chronic pancreatitis – is the inflammation of the pancreas that usually gets worse over time and results in complete damage. This condition impairs digestion and the ability of the pancreas to secrete hormones.
  • Cystic fibrosis – Cystic fibrosis affects the lung, digestive system and other organs in the body. It is an inherited disorder that targets the cells producing sweat, mucus, and digestive juices. These fluids eventually become sticky and thick instead of the normally thin and slippery appearance.

Symptoms

  • Waxy or tacky stool
  • Malabsorption
  • Bloating
  • Fatigue
  • Stool appears pale

How to treat or manage this condition

  • Avoid junks or food rich in sulfate
  • If you have developed an intolerance, steer clear of foods that can trigger it
  • Medications to repair intestinal linings
  • Avoid gluten-rich products like biscuits, cookies, doughnuts, pancakes, and waffles.

Outlook

Clostridioides infection may result in diarrhea, causing your waste product or excreta to smell very sweet. If your stool has a pleasant smell and it is not related to antibiotics, try and consult your doctor. 

Irrespective of how your poop smells, always prepare your mind to undergo basic examinations such as blood and stool tests when you visit a doctor. If there is not enough evidence, invasive techniques may be recommended.

References

  1. https://www.healthline.com/health/stools-foul-smelling
  2. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324929
  3. https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/remedies-foul-gas
  4. https://www.medhelp.org/posts/Ear-Nose-Throat/A-smell-like-gas-fumes/show/798281
  5. http://www.healthcare-online.org/Burps-That-Smell-like-Poop.html
  6. https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/symptoms/stools-foul-smelling
  7. https://tourocom.touro.edu/news–events/in-the-news/6-reasons-why-your-poop-smells-so-bad.php
  8. https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/health/954981/bowel-cancer-symptoms-signs-poo-stool-healthy-smell/amp
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7215946/
  10. https://www.nationwidechildrens.org/family-resources-education/700childrens/2021/12/why-does-my-child-have-stinky-pee