woman holding nose from vomit smelling poop

Poop Smells Like Vomit: 6 Common Causes & Treatment

Have you ever been hit with an unexpected, stomach-churning smell that combines the worst of both worlds: poop and vomit?

It’s an awful experience that can leave you nauseous and wondering what on earth could be causing your foul smelling stools.

But fear not; there are some possible explanations for this putrid combination of smells that you might not have considered.

From certain foods to underlying health conditions, we’ll explore the factors that can contribute to this unpleasant experience and offer some solutions to help you prevent it from happening again.

In this article you will learn:

  • Infections, inflammation, diet and foods, medications and supplements, digestive disorders, and cancers can cause poop smelling like vomit.
  • When experiencing symptoms such as abdominal or stomach pain, vomiting, and smelly poop, seeking medical attention for a proper diagnosis is essential.
  • Treatment and management may involve lifestyle and diet changes, medication and medical interventions, and maintaining digestive system health and well-being.

6 Common Causes of Poop Smelling Like Vomit

There can be several reasons for poop smelling like vomit. This article will discuss some of the most common causes, organized into sub-sections: Infections, Inflammation, Diet and Foods, Medications and Supplements, Digestive Disorders, and Cancers.

  1. Infections

Infections in the gastrointestinal tract can cause foul-smelling poop. This can happen when harmful bacteria, viruses, or parasites invade the small intestine and colon, leading to diarrhea and other symptoms, such as bloating, nausea, and vomiting. Common infections include gastroenteritis, food poisoning, and parasitic infections such as Giardia.

  1. Inflammation

Conditions that cause inflammation in the bowel, like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease, can lead to foul-smelling stool. These conditions can cause damage to the lining of the digestive tract, leading to diarrhea, malabsorption, and other symptoms.

  1. Diet and Foods

Certain foods can cause poop to smell like vomit, mainly if they produce gas in the digestive system. Examples of these foods include high-sulfur products, such as eggs, cabbage, and onions. Additionally, high-fat diets can contribute to the production of foul-smelling poop as a result of malabsorption or slow digestion. Dehydration can also cause concentrated feces with a strong odor.

  1. Medications and Supplements

Some medications, such as antibiotics, can alter the balance of bacteria in the gut, leading to changes in the smell of feces. Other medicines, like those used for constipation, can cause diarrhea and foul-smelling stool. Supplements like vitamins, minerals, and probiotics can also affect the stool smell, depending on the individual’s digestion and absorption.

  1. Digestive Disorders

Digestive disorders, such as celiac disease, lactose intolerance, irritable bowel syndrome, and chronic pancreatitis, can lead to malabsorption of food and foul-smelling poop. Celiac disease, for example, is an autoimmune disorder in which the body reacts negatively to gluten, leading to damage in the small intestine and subsequent malabsorption of nutrients. Lactose intolerance results from the inability to break down lactose, causing gas, bloating, and potential changes in the smell of feces.

  1. Cancers

Although rare, certain digestive system cancers, such as colon cancer, can impact the smell of feces. In some cases, cancers can lead to a blockage in the digestive tract, causing a symptom called fecal vomiting, in which fecal matter is regurgitated through the mouth. This can cause feces to have a vomit-like, foul smell.

mans stool smells like vomit so plugging his nose

Diagnosis and Testing Done By Your Healthcare Professional

When experiencing symptoms such as abdominal or stomach pain, vomiting, and smelly poop, seeking medical attention for a proper diagnosis is essential. One of the first steps in diagnosing the cause of poop that smells like vomit is obtaining a stool sample. This sample can help determine if an underlying medical condition is responsible.

Some common reasons for foul-smelling stool include intestinal obstruction, colon cancer, bowel obstruction, and certain foods we eat. Intestinal obstruction, also known as feculent vomiting, can occur when the digestive tract becomes blocked. This may result in vomiting feces-like odors and may require surgery. In some cases, colon cancer or bowel obstruction can lead to bad-smelling stool due to a health problem in the large intestine.

It is also essential to consider the influence of diet and parasitic infection on poop smells. Certain foods, such as high-fat or heavily-spiced meals, can produce unusually smelly poop. Additionally, parasitic infections like giardiasis or bacterial infections such as C. difficile can alter the odor of feces.

Further diagnostic tests, including blood tests, can help identify the cause of bad-smelling stool. These tests may assess factors such as the microbiome, hormones, and the presence of any underlying diseases. Steatorrhea, where excess fat is present in the stool, can also contribute to an unpleasant odor and may indicate issues with the pancreas or anus.

A thorough examination by a healthcare professional is necessary to determine the specific cause of poop that smells like vomit. This diagnostic process may involve stool sample analysis, blood tests, and clinical assessments to ascertain the most accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

It is crucial to remember that unusually smelly poop can be a sign of a more serious issue, such as other conditions such as cancer or infection. Prompt diagnosis and treatment are essential in addressing and managing these conditions and maintaining overall health.

3 Tips For Treatment and Management

 

  1. Lifestyle and Diet Changes

 

Addressing the issue of poop smelling like vomit may start with simple lifestyle and diet changes. Manage your digestive system’s health by maintaining a balanced diet, staying hydrated, and exercising regularly. Some key points to consider:

  • Identify and avoid certain foods that may cause unpleasant smells or lead to digestive issues, such as gluten, lactose, or alcohol.
  • Increase your intake of fiber to assist with bowel movements and reduce constipation.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water to prevent dehydration, which can contribute to foul-smelling stool.
  • Introduce probiotics into your diet to promote healthy gut bacteria and support digestion.
  1. Medication and Medical Interventions

 

In some cases, addressing the problem of diarrhea or poop smelling like vomit may require medical intervention. Several medications and interventions may help alleviate symptoms of poop smells like vomit and improve your digestive system’s health:

  • Consult your healthcare provider if you suspect a bacterial or viral infection, such as gastroenteritis or salmonella. Antibiotics or antiviral medications may be prescribed if necessary.
  • If constipation persists, consider using over-the-counter laxatives or stool softeners after discussing with your doctor.
  • Appropriate dietary modifications, supplements, or medications may be required for individuals with food allergies or intolerances.
  • Chronic inflammation or conditions like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and ulcerative colitis may require prescribed medications or surgical intervention, as your healthcare provider recommends.

As symptoms vary greatly between individuals, it’s crucial to consult your medical professional for a proper diagnosis and treatment tailored to your needs.

  1. Digestive System Health and Well-being

 

Maintaining your digestive system’s overall health is essential in preventing and addressing the issue of poop smelling like vomit. Here are a few general tips to consider:

  • Monitor your intake of nutrients, enzymes, and vitamins such as vitamin D to support digestion.
  • Be aware of health problems, such as short bowel syndrome, chronic pancreatitis, or cystic fibrosis, which may require specific dietary or medical interventions.
  • Maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria by incorporating prebiotic and probiotic foods or supplements into your diet.

By focusing on these strategies, you can help improve your digestive system’s function, prevent unpleasant smells, reduce bloating abdominal pain, and promote overall well-being.

woman with glasses plugging her nose

8 Prevention Tips For Stool Smells Associated With Vomit

 

  1. Eat a balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrients
  2. Consume adequate fiber in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
  3. Avoid certain foods that cause bloating and gas, such as beans and cruciferous vegetables
  4. Address underlying health problems that may contribute to foul-smelling stool, such as malabsorption, celiac disease, or lactose intolerance
  5. Consider trying an elimination diet to identify problematic foods and adjust your eating habits accordingly
  6. Include probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut in your diet or take a probiotic supplement to promote a healthy gut microbiome
  7. Practice good hygiene, especially washing hands thoroughly after using the restroom and before eating
  8. Be cautious when taking antibiotics and consider taking a probiotic supplement alongside them to maintain bacterial balance in the gut.

 

Poop Smells Like Vomit: Top Takeaways

 

Poop smelling like vomit creating foul smelling stools can be caused by various factors, including infections, inflammation, diet and foods, medications and supplements, digestive disorders, and cancers.

Treatment and management options can include lifestyle and diet changes, medication and medical interventions, and maintaining overall digestive system health and well-being.

Prevention strategies include maintaining a balanced diet, addressing underlying health problems, incorporating probiotics, practicing good hygiene, and being cautious with antibiotic use.

 

References

 

  1. https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/clostridium-difficile-colitis
  2. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324929
  3. https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/symptoms/stools-foul-smelling
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fecal_vomiting
  5. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/symptoms/24049-steatorrhea-fatty-stool

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