Q. What can cause the stool to float and change color?

Answered by
Dr. Babu Lal Meena
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on May 18, 2018 and last reviewed on: Jan 16, 2019

Hello doctor,

About 18 months ago, my stomach distended, and my stool turned from brown to light brown and eventually yellow. After that, I started to lose weight at a rapid rate, 40 lbs in 15 months. I was given multiple blood tests, an upper endoscopy, and abdominal ultrasounds. The only thing of significance was minor gastritis and some gallbladder sludge, nothing else. I have no hepatitis or autoimmune issues. I do not have Wilson's disease. 11 months ago, I had a blood test showing elevated ALT liver enzymes and slight liver enlargement. Total bilirubin was elevated as well. I had more ultrasounds, a liver biopsy, a colonoscopy, abdominal CT scan and MRI. Nothing was out of the ordinary with the imaging, except more sludge and possibly small stones. The biopsy showed 'minimal portal and lobular inflammation' with an indication of a resolving process. My liver enzymes continue to be elevated, my stool is constantly yellow and now for the last six months, it floats. At this point, the doctors continue to investigate, but cannot figure out what is happening.

I do not drink, use drugs or anything of the sort. I am seeking advice as to what the doctors might not be seeing. I do not seem to have any type of GI or surrounding structure cancers. What else could cause ALT liver enzymes to elevate? Lastly, what would cause a sudden change in stool color and eventually floating? Is there any connection with the liver or vice versa? Could that help explain the weight loss? I cannot gain the weight back no matter what I do. I have stabilized at 196 lbs and I am 6 feet. Any help you can give would be much appreciated.



Welcome to icliniq.com.

The cause of your weight loss could be maldigestion, malabsorption or systemic illness.

  1. Improper digestion occurs due to a lack of pancreatic enzymes secretion.
  2. Malabsorption occurs due to intestinal issues, for example, Celiac disease, infection or inflammation of the bowel.
  3. Systemic infection or chronic inflammation can result in not gaining weight despite normal digestion or absorption.

Floating stools point toward fat malabsorption syndrome in your case.

High liver enzymes can be due to fatty liver or infection of the liver. We need reports to differentiate between these disorders.

Investigations to be done:

  1. Complete blood count with peripheral smear examination.
  2. ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate).
  3. LFT (liver function test).
  4. TTG IgA (tissue transglutaminase - IgA)
  5. Kidney function test.
  6. Colonoscopy.
  7. Endoscopy.

I think you have already done the investigations. Kindly provide the details and reports.

For more information consult a medical gastroenterologist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/medical-gastroenterologist

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