Q. I have chronic IBS with altered bowel and floating stools. Is my condition treatable?

Answered by
Dr. Ajeet Kumar Lohana
and medically reviewed by Dr. Vinodhini. J
This is a premium question & answer published on Jul 29, 2020

Hello doctor,

I am interested in knowing what is happening in my body. I have been living with IBS most of my life. I used to go back and forth between constipation and diarrhea. Then about 10 years ago something changed in my body and I stopped getting constipation. Only about 10 percent of my movements were normal. The rest were diarrhea. The smell also changed, when I pass gas there is a little to no smell. The color of my movements ranges from yellowish orange to brown unless I take iron supplements. Then it gets dark. My diarrhea is sometimes all liquid and most of the time kind chunky. Many times some of it floats while the rest sinks. There has not been a change in my diet or medicines lately to explain what I saw this morning which brings me to why I am baffled and hoping for an explanation from someone in your field of expertise. And I have bowel movements no less than three times a day. When my IBS really flares up will go upwards of 15 or more times a day. So my first movement this morning was a normal one. Not liquid not hard. The second movement however was liquid with chunks mixed. This normally would not concern me but my stool is square. My question is, what could possibly have caused my stool to be squares?



Welcome to

Well, I see you have made your mind of passing three plus stools daily as a normal routine. I understand IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) is a chronic condition and that can lead to altered bowel movements, but indeed, this is can fairly be controlled with effective medications. I must tell you that you should not give up with what you think is kind untreatable, and should seek advice. I may help you with this. If you want to treat your symptoms reasonably. And please be noted that IBS is among conditions that are relatively over diagnosed. There are certain mimickers of the condition that has to be ruled out before labeling it is IBS. And if it is IBS it should respond to medication. Indeed it is one of the treatable causes of diarrhea.

Your concern for passing exactly square is a valid concern. But this really brings no surprise given the prevalance of IBS patient often feel the change in the stool form, consistency, and frequency and it is not uncommon to have pellets like stools intervening the mushy stool forms.

You might be concerned that it may be something inside your bowel which is compressing the stools and forming an equal square. But believe me, it is not like that. You can browse online and you would be amazed to see how different forms of stools can occur in patients with IBS. Since I do not find any alarming features after close read to your thread, I suggest you not to be worried.

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