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Dr. D. Love
Dr. D. Love, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 19318
Experience:  Family Physician for 10 years; Hospital Medical Director for 10 years.
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Hi - I have had type 6 stool from Bristol stool chart for

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Hi -
I have had type 6 stool from Bristol stool chart for the last 3 weeks. The color is between brown and ochre. My stool has been consistent with this and hasn't really deviated that much. I've had no change in diet or lifestyle. What are potential causes?
Factors that may be relevant:
I'm quite high stress
I eat a lot, but am in very good shape (I exercise daily)
Consume whey protein
Consume a medium amount of coffee (~3 cups per day)
Heavy social drinker (I live in London), although I always have ~3 alcohol free nights per week
Note that none of the above factors have changed recently, so I'm not sure how relevant or not they are. I have been more stressed out recently.
My physical fitness is strong.
I suspect it may be a stress thing, but I want to make sure I'm cleared on the medical front.
I have a picture that I would ideally like to send over.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Here is a picture taken this morning. Also worth noting that I haven't had an issue controlling it - ie, I haven't had to rush to the bathroom. I've been going 2-3x per day. I do get an urge to go though, especially in the morning once I've had a coffee. Sometimes I'll go and then need to go another 30 minutes later, like it didn't all clear the first time. I have had a lot of gas as well - ie, lots of farting

There are several issues to consider when someone has Bristol type 6 stools that have persisted for several weeks.

Overall, the most common causes of Bristol type 6 stools would not apply in this situation, as they are common with common infections of the gut, such as a viral infection that would typically have improved by this point in time, or as a response to certain dietary changes, which you apparently have not had.

It is possible to develop Bristol type 6 stool from an increase in stress, which can accelerate transit time through the gut, and since you have felt an increase in stress, this would be the most likely cause of such stool that have persisted for several weeks.

There are some other infections that can occur and persist for several weeks, including various bacterial or parasitic infections. It can occur with inflammatory bowel disease, but there usually would be other symptoms present. It also can develop from conditions of the upper gut that affects digestion, such as liver or pancreatic disease.

If you anticipate that the recent sources of increase stress will abate or can be controlled, it is reasonable to see if the stool changes revert to the previous appearance.

If I can provide any further information, please let me know.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for your answer. I think it's probably stress related, but would like to probe on one other point.

London is very social, so you end up drinking a lot of alcohol. Not in the traditional alcholic sense, but more in the heavy binge drinking on weekends (Friday and Saturday) and then heavy, but not as heavy drinking with colleagues/work 2-3 times per week. So, an average week would look like this:

Monday: No drinking

Tuesday: Work drinks, heavy, but not a crazy night

Wednesday: No drinking

Thursday: Social drinking, but not too crazy

Friday: Very heavy social drinking

Saturday: Very heavy social drinking

Sunday: Nothing

Is this enough to cause a serious issue of the liver or pancreas? My annual test last year were fine, so it would have to have come about in the last twelve months. Are there other telltale signs that I would not be able to miss?

I work in finance and most of my friends have a pretty similar of partying a lot, but also a lot of exercise and healthy eating.

In other words, are there other signs right now that I could not miss if this was caused by liver or pancreas issue, or do I just need to see what my next set of annual tests say?

My fitness level is quite high - gym 6 days a week, cycling, weights, some running, etc.

Yes, it is possible that this amount of alcohol intake can cause liver or pancreas problems. Most people would not have such problems develop with this level of alcohol intake, but some people are more sensitive to the effect of alcohol than others.

If there were liver or pancreas problems, there would usually be other symptoms, such as upper abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, or loss of appetite. However, there are no symptoms that are universally present, so the absence of such symptoms does not rove that there are no liver or pancreas problems present.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Great, thank you. One last question - on the stress side, do you have any suggestions? I know that's a tough one and no need to answer if you don't have anything you think is worth passing on, but if there's anything that comes to mind that you would normally suggest to patients, I would love to hear it.

In part, it would depend upon the individual and the source of stress. However, there are a variety of general interventions for relief of stress. Regular exercise is important, as you are already doing. It is also important to be certain to be getting adequate sleep. Self-relaxation techniques, such as yoga, breathing exercises, self-hypnosis, etc. are also frequently helpful, although different people find different techniques to be better for them.
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