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are healthy poops smelly or odorless?

KazhiimKazhiim __BANNED USERS
edited March 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
It's an honest question.

My roommate's poops stink up the apartment to the extent that I've asked him to change his diet. He insists that smelly poop is a sign of healthy eating habits, and that I'm the one who needs to eat healthier. Maybe Germans are just crazy. Or maybe they're right.

Someone tell me they're crazy.

Kazhiim on
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Posts

  • admanbadmanb the bored genie Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I don't think it's simple enough to say that smelly poop = good and not-smelly = bad, or the other way around. Certain foods can add smells, some reduce it, it depends on your digestive system, etc etc etc.

    However, I think reality errs on your side in this argument. According to a brief view of the internet, the biggest offenders tend to be the chemicals and crap that go into artificial foods -- i.e. snacks and packaged garbage. Smell reducers are the stuff that makes your bowel movements healthy: fiber, yogurt, and so on.

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  • EriosErios Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Wouldn't that mean he's expelling more nitrogenous waste and methane? I would imagine the smell or lack thereof of your poops would largely derive from your intestinal bacterial microcosm.

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  • andkoreandkore Registered User
    edited March 2009
    According to this article, that is a bad sign. But the source isn't a doctor, just someone who claims: "This article is written based upon various multilingual clinical and scientific resources." So who knows. I couldn't find a better source, sorry.

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  • Al_watAl_wat Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Here's some anecdotal evidence: I've got all sorts of digestive problems and my farts/shits smell... inhuman.

  • yalborapyalborap Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I eat terribly and my poops have a definite odor.

  • UltimaGeckoUltimaGecko Registered User
    edited March 2009
    A post with more information about feces than you ever wanted.


    First: general internet consensus indicates two primary influences on stool odor: quality of diet and extent of bacterial presence.

    The general internet 'knowledge' base (the parts that deal with 'eating healthy', which like to throw the words "poop" and "smell" around) would point you to diet having the greater impact on the odor of stool. Consensus says that vegan and vegetarian diets cause less offensive odors, while red meats increase odors. They also like to say that fiber will decrease the smell, but I didn't see anything like that in my further searching in medical databases (see below).

    The other portion of the knowledge base is more in line with my memory of 10th grade biology (admittedly many years ago), which states that the amount of bacteria in your intestines is the primary determinant in the odor imparted to feces. The bacteria have a nice feast on your food, helping your body digest it, but releasing foul smelling chemicals in the process (hydrogen sulfide is one of the major olfactory offenders, but that's more of a 'rotten egg' type smell than the scent that's more common).

    Unfortunately, you can't really change the amount of bacteria in your (roommate's) intestines.


    Next up, a more medical focused analysis on foul-smelling feces leads to potentially useful information. A patient factsheet (comically titled "Food and Your Stoma") indicates (as least) the following foods as producing strong odors:

    Fish, eggs, asparagus, garlic, some spices, beans, turnips, foods in the cabbage family (cabbage, onion, broccoli and cauliflower) and alcohol.
    (notice the lack of red meat mentioned above on a bunch of dieting web pages)

    These foods cause gas:

    Dried or string beans, beer, carbonated beverages, cucumber, foods in the cabbage family, spinach, corn, radishes and highly spiced foods.

    In a helpful change, the following foods should apparently help alleviate gas:

    Cranberry juice, buttermilk and yogurt.


    Additionally, foul-smelling stool may be linked to a variety of diseases and disorders, including:
    Cystic fibrosis
    Gluten-induced enteropathy (sprue, celiac disease)
    Malabsorption
    Idiopathic steatorrhea (fatty stools with no known cause)
    Disaccharidase deficiency
    Short bowel syndrome
    Crohn's disease
    Ulcerative colitis
    Infections of the large intestine
    Chronic pancreatitis


    In general, the consensus seems to be that foul smelling poop is likely either do to the body (unchangeable), diet (changeable), or - if it's really bad - possibly disease, or bowel or endocrine complications/disorders (possibly changeable). My anecdotal evidence points more towards the intestines' bacterial content - I generally eat the same types of food every day, but the odor varies noticeably. My cousin eats healthy (but he eats a lot), and he stinks up whichever bathroom he uses. Seems that less offensive feces should actually come from the healthier person/diet, but that's not an absolute.

    For the record:
    <- Not a doctor; not medical advice; etc.

    [edit]Also for the record: methane might be flammable and commonly associated with flatulence, but it's odorless.[/edit]

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  • WillethWilleth Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Smell is absolutely secondary to consistency. I can't do a search for the chart right now, but there's one they have in English hospitals that lists a scale from rock-solid to squirty.

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  • Black IceBlack Ice Charlotte, NCRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Pretty much summarized above, but it's probably smelly because he eats meat. There's a lot you can do that helps digest your food better (yogurt was mentioned above; entire yogurt products such as Activia are designed for such a purpose), but I have yet to come across why some poops smell worse than others, other than meat. I mean, think about it - you leave meat out on the counter for a few days, and it's going to smell. Putting it into your smelly digestive tract isn't going to help things after it hasn't been refrigerated for a few days.

    As for why it's that damned foul, I have no clue. The Internet is a vast emporium of useless knowledge when it comes to this subject, in my experience. poopreport.com is the best website I've found for knowledge in this unfortunate but necessary area of studies.

    Disclaimer: There simply comes a time in life when you have to research these things.

    Edit: Also as Willeth side, there are literally charts on websites such as wikipedia with drawings of what healthy poops look like (why do I know this???). From everything I've ever understood in the past, what your poop looks like is more important than what it smells like.

  • DarkPrimusDarkPrimus Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    If it smells so incredibly horrible though, regardless of whether or not it's a health issue your roommate should change his diet.

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  • desperaterobotsdesperaterobots Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Either way, perhaps you should save your olfactory sense and invest in a good air freshener. Maybe a box of matches in the bathroom. And maybe cancel that wine club get together.

    Meanwhile, has anyone ever uttered the words 'Now that shit smells healthy!' And if so, did they follow up with a powerful inhalation while they appreciated the various notes and flavours within?

    Your housemate just enjoys punishing you. (He is German, after all.)

  • ZekZek Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I don't understand how your roommate's poop in the toilet can stink up the apartment. How long does he let it sit there before flushing? Have you asked him to flush it right away?

  • RNEMESiS42RNEMESiS42 Registered User
    edited March 2009
    I agree with Zek; turn on the exhaust fan in the bathroom if you have one, crack open the window in the bathroom if you have one, or close the door.

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  • Teslan26Teslan26 Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Zek wrote: »
    I don't understand how your roommate's poop in the toilet can stink up the apartment. How long does he let it sit there before flushing? Have you asked him to flush it right away?

    A courtesy flush as soon as it hits the bowl might be nice. Keep the bathroom door closed and open a window/leave an extractor running.

    And does anyone really have consistant smell/look? Every day is an adventure for me....

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  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    The only ways a shit could smell up an apartment is if you have two people cramped into a loft or someone's not following the proper procedures to taking a dump while living with someone. The other possibility is if he's dying from some fucked up ass disease.

    I'm sure your brand doesn't smell too sweet either.

  • PeregrineFalconPeregrineFalcon Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    As Fat Bastard implies, everyone's got their own brand, and some are more rank than others.

    Seriously foul stuff suggests GI tract problems though.

    Also, insert obligatory German Schiesse joke here.

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  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    From my experience changing baby diapers, the introduction of meat into the diet definitely adds a lot of stink. I'm not sure what synthetic things (cheetos, twinkies, etc.) introduced to diet does to poop but it can't be good.

    Also from caring for animals, vegetarian diets makes less smelly poop (cow/horse poop doesn't smell that bad, but cat/dog poop is pretty bad).

    Put a large (3-wicked perhaps) unscented candle in the bathroom and tell your roomie he should light it before pooping. Smelly =/ healthy.

  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Cow shit is... obnoxious, unless you spend your life around it.

  • WootloopsWootloops Registered User
    edited March 2009
    He's probably eating too much meat. That can make a deuce really rancid. He should cut down on the meat intake.

    Good luck convincing a german that.

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  • HypatiaHypatia Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Zek wrote: »
    I don't understand how your roommate's poop in the toilet can stink up the apartment. How long does he let it sit there before flushing? Have you asked him to flush it right away?

    Just a thought on this: how often do you guys clean the toilet?

    Seriously, uh...if you clean it, the smell might be really lingering if he was messy and you've got a lot of, well... okay, let's just say, I could see the smell getting really overpowering if there isn't a lot of cleaning going on and things have accumulated.

    Also, it might be more effective to buy some activated charcoal (for example) to neutralize the odor rather than trying to buy candles or something to overpower the odor. Then you just end up with a nauseating combination of "Sea breeze with flatulence and shit".

  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Usually the ever so popular fresh laundry that has been spattered with shit.

  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Hypatia wrote: »
    Also, it might be more effective to buy some activated charcoal (for example) to neutralize the odor rather than trying to buy candles or something to overpower the odor. Then you just end up with a nauseating combination of "Sea breeze with flatulence and shit".

    Yeah, which is why I said "unscented" candles. To burn the gas that is the vehicle of the stink. I never understood trying to mask odors as "cinnamon and stink" smells just as bad as stink.

  • Tucanwarrior13Tucanwarrior13 Registered User
    edited March 2009
    It seems like Mac is really quick to call water damage on people. My friends mac suddenly stopped working (honestly she didn't drop it into any water) and mac told her that it was water damage, and that it would be $700 dollars to fix. So I think that there may be no way of getting around the water damage thing if you take it to mac...

    EDIT: Ignore this...I had two windows opened, and posted into the wrong window....

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  • Beren39Beren39 Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    bowen wrote: »
    Cow shit is... obnoxious, unless you spend your life around it.

    The vegetarian rule is still generally true, the difference with cows being that they are ruminants. Varied diets are the worst, with pigs being atrocious until you're conditioned and even young, milk-fed herbivores being really bad (calves are terrible). I'm pretty desensitized from spending a lot of my childhood on a farm and working in a hospital environment but human's are the worst due to the preservatives we ingest. Once again, smell =/ health.

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  • SpongeCakeSpongeCake Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Willeth wrote: »
    Smell is absolutely secondary to consistency. I can't do a search for the chart right now, but there's one they have in English hospitals that lists a scale from rock-solid to squirty.

    Bristol: Famous for the dread pirate Blackbeard and poop measurement charts.

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  • KazhiimKazhiim __BANNED USERS
    edited March 2009
    He says his are fully grown bananas, peeking out from the water like some primitive Loch-beast gasping for air (guessing type 3?)

    mine, on the other hand, are typically type 4s

    this has become something of a competition: whose shits are better, according to the internet?

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  • EggyToastEggyToast Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Maybe all poop smells just like his in Germany?

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  • ArgusArgus Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Kazhiim wrote: »
    He says his are fully grown bananas, peeking out from the water like some primitive Loch-beast gasping for air (guessing type 3?)

    mine, on the other hand, are typically type 4s

    this has become something of a competition: whose shits are better, according to the internet?

    In my experience, poop that climbs above the water level tends to stink more than poop that stays below the water level, probably due to the nature of smell (dispersion of smaller bits of the thing into the air around it and floating into your nostrils).

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  • WillethWilleth Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    EggyToast wrote: »
    Maybe all poop smells just like his in Germany?

    Actually I just thought of something. Correct me if I'm wrong, but in German toilets, the shit doesn't go straight into water, which would hide any smell. It sits there on a shelf until the flush happens. It might explain why he is used to the smell.

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  • SammyFSammyF Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Willeth wrote: »
    EggyToast wrote: »
    Maybe all poop smells just like his in Germany?

    Actually I just thought of something. Correct me if I'm wrong, but in German toilets, the shit doesn't go straight into water, which would hide any smell. It sits there on a shelf until the flush happens. It might explain why he is used to the smell.

    I have never understood why they do this. It's also harder to clean.

  • Al_watAl_wat Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
  • yalborapyalborap Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    SammyF wrote: »
    Willeth wrote: »
    EggyToast wrote: »
    Maybe all poop smells just like his in Germany?

    Actually I just thought of something. Correct me if I'm wrong, but in German toilets, the shit doesn't go straight into water, which would hide any smell. It sits there on a shelf until the flush happens. It might explain why he is used to the smell.

    I have never understood why they do this. It's also harder to clean.

    So you can examine it.

  • ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited March 2009
    First I will say I can't believe I read an entire thread about poop. There is something wrong with me.

    Second, I've always assumed there was a correlation between odor and stool density. Like, whatever gases are in a poop, if the poop is firmer and denser it seems those gases would be better trapped inside. If the poop is mushier, it would be easier for the gases to escape. True or false?

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  • EggyToastEggyToast Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    There's typically very little gas in feces. Or rather, any gas that's actually contained within feces would not cause the entire lump to float, it would simply escape on its own. It's compacted in the bowels.

    However, fat floats. If you're eating fatty foods, your poop will have more fats and will float. And also stink more and be exposed to more air.

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  • SammyFSammyF Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    First I will say I can't believe I read an entire thread about poop. There is something wrong with me.

    Second, I've always assumed there was a correlation between odor and stool density. Like, whatever gases are in a poop, if the poop is firmer and denser it seems those gases would be better trapped inside. If the poop is mushier, it would be easier for the gases to escape. True or false?

    I want to make sure it's clear that I only read a few posts on the second page. I did not read the OP or any reply on the first page. I in no way claim to be an active participant in this thread, and anyone who says otherwise is a goddamned liar.

  • Robos A Go GoRobos A Go Go Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    What if he flushes as soon as it hits the water?

    Failing that, he can always invest in a bunch of air freshening devices if he's that loathe to change his diet.

    In any case, common courtesy dictates that he do SOMETHING.

  • EskimoDaveEskimoDave Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    My shits stink when I'm shit or when I eat something that my body can't digest properly (spinach).

    Get your buddy to take an allergy test.

  • ArminasArminas Student of Life Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    We lived in a smallish apartment for 3 people in my years in college. The easiest resolution for stinking poop was to get an air freshener can. We didn't bother with a regular release device, but instead we would spray after our own pooping if anyone else was home. I'd recommend Glade, it was pretty great and there's a huge number of scents. Pick your favorite or least offensive one.

  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Febreeze makes an excellent air freshener now. I think they're called Air Effects, they are remarkable at actually removing odors. Never really smells like fresh laundry smeared with cat shit like the glade or lysol does.

  • EvylEvyl Registered User
    edited March 2009
    Djeet wrote: »
    Hypatia wrote: »
    Also, it might be more effective to buy some activated charcoal (for example) to neutralize the odor rather than trying to buy candles or something to overpower the odor. Then you just end up with a nauseating combination of "Sea breeze with flatulence and shit".

    Yeah, which is why I said "unscented" candles. To burn the gas that is the vehicle of the stink. I never understood trying to mask odors as "cinnamon and stink" smells just as bad as stink.

    Mythbusters tested the hypothesis that burning candles eliminates the smell of flatulence. It was completely busted.

  • rchourchou Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Get a box of matches. Tell him to light one after every number 2 he takes. Problem solved.

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