What are the “bits of foam” that someone might see in their diarrhea?
And can this ever be a sign of a disease?
These are questions I asked of gastroenterologist Sander R. Binderow, MD, FACS, FASCRS, with Northside Hospital in Georgia.
“Foam in diarrhea can occur in the small intestine, when air combines with the bowel movement that is in rapid transit, which is the nature of diarrhea,” explains Dr. Binderow.
“The diarrhea combines with air, creating small foam. This is not a sign of any type of disease when it is observed alone with no other symptoms.”
So next time you see foam or white fuzzy mucus in your diarrhea, remind yourself that it is the product of air combining with your bowel movement.
However, there are other features that you should be concerned about that are not related to bits of foam.
For example, do you see what appears to be blood in your stools?
Or does your diarrhea alternate with going days without any bowel movement?
These are concerning signs, and though colon cancer can be one of the causes, there are numerous other non-malignant causes for such symptoms.
If you have not yet had a colonoscopy but are concerned, you may want to consider Cologuard, a non-invasive screening test that you can give to yourself at home.
Using the latest DNA technology, Cologuard can identify abnormal cells in your stools.
If the test results show this, you would then need to undergo a colonoscopy.
Dr. Binderow performs minimally invasive, robotic and laparoscopic surgery for Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, colon cancer and other colorectal conditions. Adept at routine procedures, he also sees patients with complex, atypical maladies.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.