Why Is My Poop Foamy?

Elizabeth Pratt is a medical journalist based in Australia. She has a Master's degree in Health Communication and a Bachelor's degree in journalism.

Learn about our editorial processPublished on February 18, 2022Medically reviewedVerywell Health articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more.byJay N. Yepuri, MD, MS Medically reviewed byJay N. Yepuri, MD, MS

Jay Yepuri, MD, MS, is a board-certified gastroenterologist and a practicing partner at Digestive Health Associates of Texas (DHAT).

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The appearance of your poop can be a great indicator of your health. Color, texture, the presence of blood, or the frequency of your bowel movements can help determine if there is an infection, digestive issue, or an underlying health condition.

One characteristic to look out for is the appearance of foamy poop or bubbles in your stool, which can be caused by a number of reasons. Learn more about possible causes of foamy poop, as well as how to prevent it and what treatment options are available.

What Do the Different Poop Colors and Shapes Mean?

Causes in Adults and Children

Foamy poop can be caused by an increased amount of fat or mucus passed in the stool. This is referred to as steatorrhea.

Steatorrhea is a key symptom of fat malabsorption, which means the body does not fully absorb certain fats. When this occurs, the fat content in the stool may increase, which can produce stools that may appear:

Steatorrhea produces stools that contain a lot of undigested fat. Because of this, the stool may be difficult to flush as it can stick to the sides of the toilet or even float on the top of the water.

Foamy stools due to steatorrhea can be caused by a number of medical conditions, including:

Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition in which the body's own immune system launches an attack when gluten is ingested. This can cause damage to the small intestine.

In celiac disease, the body may not fully absorb nutrients leading to diarrhea, as well as steatorrhea.

People with celiac disease may experience a variety of symptoms including, but not limited to:

How common is celiac disease?

It is estimated that roughly 2 million people in the U.S. are living with celiac disease, but many people live undiagnosed.

Why Is My Poop Foamy?


Giardiasis is a disease caused by a parasite known as Giardia duodenalis, often called Giardia. If a person is infected with Giardia, the parasites inhabit the intestines and the stool. It is spread by:

Giardia can cause a variety of other gastrointestinal symptoms, including:

Chronic Pancreatitis

Chronic pancreatitis is an inflammation in the pancreas that worsens over time. The disease makes it difficult for the body to properly digest food or make pancreatic hormones.

In chronic pancreatitis, the body does not produce the necessary amount of pancreatic enzymes to digest food. This causes a lack of proper nutrient absorption and may cause steatorrhea, which can lead to frothy stools.

Other changes in stool due to chronic pancreatitis include diarrhea and clay-colored or stool pale stool.

Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis is a disease that causes the body to produce thick mucus that can affect the lungs, pancreas, and digestive system. This mucus can sometimes be passed through the stool and create foamy or frothy poop.

Causes in Babies

Babies who are breastfed may produce frothy poop that is bright green in color.

This is not a cause for concern as it typically suggests the baby is getting too much foremilk, or the milk that comes at the beginning of a feeding.

It can also be due to the mother swapping from breast to breast during a feed.

Breastfeeding from one breast at a time until that breast is drained ensures the baby is getting the hindmilk as well.


Treatment options for foamy stools will vary based on the underlying cause. For instance, if you have celiac disease, you'll need to adhere to a strict gluten-free diet. This will typically result in an improvement in symptoms like foamy poop.

If you have giardiasis, there are a number of prescription medications that can be used to treat the condition. A medical professional will be able to advise the most appropriate treatment for you.

Additional treatment options may also involve supplements to address malabsorption and malnutrition.


Preventing frothy stools can be complicated as prevention methods will depend heavily on the underlying cause.

When to See a Healthcare Provider

If you have consistently frothy stools you may have an issue with proper absorption within the digestive tract. This can warrant a visit to your healthcare provider as long-term complications from malabsorption include:


Foamy poop is typically the result of an increased amount of fat in the stool. This can be caused by a number of conditions including celiac disease, chronic pancreatitis, giardiasis, and cystic fibrosis. In babies, foamy poop can be related to breastfeeding. Treatment specific to the cause of your foamy stools will alleviate most gastrointestinal symptoms.

A Word From Verywell

If you notice changes in your stool like foamy or frothy poop, consider reaching out to a healthcare professional. They will be able to help you determine the cause of your foamy stool and provide you with treatment and prevention options.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is foamy poop normal in babies?

    Parents may notice their breastfed baby has bright green, foamy poop. This may be due to the baby getting too much foremilk during a feed. This is the milk that comes out at the beginning of a feeding, and the resulting foamy stool can be resolved by feeding from one breast until it drains during a feeding.

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