Fecal matter comes in a variety of shapes, sizes and consistencies, and certain characteristics are evidence of specific conditions. Sticky stool comes in mainly two types: black tarry stool and greasy stool that floats. Tarry stools may be evidence of internal bleeding, as occurs with stomach ulcers, while greasy stools can indicate a malabsorption issue, such as pancreatitis or food intolerance. In either case, avoiding certain foods may offer relief. Before starting a new diet though, talk to your health care professional.
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Excessive dietary fats not stored as fat are eliminated as stool, which can often be sticky, or greasy. The recommended dietary fat intake for the average adult ranges between 20 to 35 percent of total daily calories depending on overall health and specific nutritional needs. Talk with your doctor about your specific caloric and fat intake needs. To calculate percentage of calories for fat, take the daily caloric intake recommended by your doctor and multiply this by the percentage of fat she recommends. For example, in a 2000 calorie diet that requires 35 percent of calories from fat, multiply 2000 by .35 and you will see you need 700 calories from fat each day.
High-fat foods such as oils, butter and shortenings derive 100 percent of their calories from fat, while meat, eggs, dairy and nuts contain percentages of fat in excess of what is recommended. Fried foods are also high in fat and include stir-fries, French fries and potato chips. In diseases of the digestive tract, the body is unable to metabolize even a normal amount of fat, so if cutting fat fails to improve symptoms, talk to your doctor.
Protein is digested in the stomach, where in the presence of hydrochloric acid it is broken down into amino acids. The elevated levels of stomach acid necessary to digest protein can damage the lining of the stomach, causing an ulcer to form and possibly bleed. The digested blood results in black, tarry stool. The recommended dietary allowance, or RDA, for protein is 10 to 35 percent of total calories. As with fat intake, you can calculate your daily calories by the amount of protein your doctor recommends each day. This will tell you the number of calories you need from a protein source. A diet emphasizing meat, eggs and dairy products can exceed the recommended intake and damage the stomach, resulting in sticky stool.
Some people with sticky stools cannot properly process nutrients found in the foods. Foods that contain either gluten or lactose can contribute to sticky stools in susceptible persons, such as those with food intolerances, which occur with celiac disease and lactose intolerance. Gluten is a grain protein present in wheat, barley and rye. Many packaged foods contain gluten, so read labels carefully. Lactose is the milk sugar present in milk and to a lesser degree in yogurt and cheese. If you suspect that you are intolerant to either milk or wheat, consider eliminating these foods from your diet, and talk to your doctor.