When you eat foods that are high in sulfur—such as garlic, meats, dairy, and cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cabbage, kale)—your gut breaks down the sulfates and produces hydrogen sulfide gas. This increases in sulfur gas production. This gas can cause your stool to smell like sulfur. If your poop smells like sulfur and you have painful diarrhea—you may have Giardiasis.
Now you got the shortcut answer on why does your poop smell like sulfur, let’s explore the reasons in more detail.
Reasons your poop smells like sulfur
There are many reasons behind foul smelling poop.
If you’ve ever taken a whiff of your poop and thought, “Holy cow, that smells like sulfur,” we have good news for you: You’re not crazy.
Sulfur is one of the most common smells associated with human waste, but it can also be a sign of a problem in your digestive system. The smell mainly comes from hydrogen sulfide gas, which is produced by bacteria in the intestines as they break down food.
However, If you notice this smell for some days when you’re pooping, it might mean that something is causing bacteria to produce more hydrogen sulfide than usual. Here are some things that could cause this:
1. You ate sulfur rich diet
If you’ve been wondering whether your poop smells like sulfur, it’s likely that you ate something that contained sulfur. Sulfur is naturally found in a lot of foods and can be added to other foods while they are being processed. If you’re eating a lot of sulfur-rich foods, it’s possible that your body will produce more hydrogen sulfide gas which can cause your poop smells like death or rotten eggs.
If you want to avoid this, try eating more fruits and vegetables, which contain less sulfur. Also, try to avoid eating processed foods that contain sulfur as an additive.
2. Your diet is low in fiber
If you’re not getting enough fiber in your diet, it can lead to constipation and cause your stool to become hard and dry which can cause a foul odor. This happens because the bacteria in your colon ferment fiber into gasses like hydrogen sulfide which gives off a strong smell when released through your rectum.
3. You are suffering from malabsorption
If you’re suffering from malabsorption, it means that your body isn’t absorbing nutrients from the food you eat. This can lead to many issues, including sulfur-smelling poop.
One cause of malabsorption is celiac disease, which is an autoimmune disorder that affects the small intestine and makes it difficult for your body to absorb nutrients from food. Other causes include Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and other inflammatory bowel diseases.
If you’re experiencing these symptoms, talk to your doctor about treatments such as dietary changes or medication.
4. You are not drinking enough water
It’s important to make sure you are drinking enough water, especially if you are taking any form of medication. If you don’t drink enough water, the medication may not flush out of your system and could start causing problems for your digestive tract.
To make sure you are getting enough water, try adding some lemon juice or lime juice to your glass. The citrus helps to boost your immune system and will help flush out any toxins that may aggravate the sulfur smell in your poop.
5. Intestinal infection
If your poop smells like sulfur, it’s possible that you have an intestinal infection. There are many kinds of intestinal infections, including Clostridium difficile (C. diff) and Giardiasis. If you’re experiencing digestive discomfort or diarrhea, as well as foul-smelling stools, talk to your doctor about getting tested for C. diff and Giardia.
6. Lack of personal hygiene
If you’re not taking care of your body, you’re likely not taking care of the issues that could cause your poop to smell like sulfur. If you’ve been skipping showers, or just neglecting to wash your hands after going to the bathroom, you might have some bacteria that isn’t being flushed away from your skin and into the water system. That bacteria will end up on your hands, and then in your meals—and it can influence what comes out of your butt!
What to do if my poop smells like sulfur
If you’re feeling like your poop smells like sulfur, don’t worry! You can get back to normal with a few easy steps.
Step 1: Cut back on sulfur-rich foods
We find sulfur in many foods, including eggs, garlic, onions, asparagus and even chocolate. If you’re eating a lot of these foods regularly, it’s likely that they’re contributing to the sulfur smell in your poop.
Step 2: Drink plenty of water
Staying hydrated helps flush out toxins from your body, so drinking lots of water will help eliminate them from your system.
Step 3: Try eating more fiber-rich foods
Fiber is great for helping keep your digestive system healthy—and when you have a healthy digestive system, it doesn’t matter if your poop smells like sulfur!
Step 4: Cut down on coffee, alcohol and other processed foods
These can all contribute to constipation. So it gives more time to the culprit bacteria to ferment and make your poop smell like sulfur.
Step 5: Practice personal hygiene
This seems obvious, but it’s an easy thing to forget when you’re stressed out or busy. It’s important to remember that cleanliness is next to godliness and also a good way to make sure your body isn’t harboring any unwanted germs.
Step 6: See a doctor
If none of these tips help and you have persistent symptoms like nausea or vomiting along with foul-smelling stools, see your doctor. They can recommend an appropriate course of treatment for whatever condition may cause the sulfur smell in your poop.
Frequently asked question
Here are the answers of some FAQs regarding sulfur smelling poop:
What does sulfur smell like?
Sulfur smells like rotten eggs. If you have a sulfur-smelling stool, it could be because of several factors. You may have eaten something with a high sulfide content, or you could have an infection in your digestive tract that is causing your body to produce excess hydrogen sulfide gas.
What is the most common cause of my poop smells like sulfur?
If you’ve eaten something with sulfur in it, like garlic or asparagus, then your poop will probably smell like sulfur. But if that’s not the case, then it might be time to see your doctor to figure out what’s going on.
How long does sulfur-smelling poop last?
The smell should go away on its own after a day or two, but if it’s still there after three days then it could show an underlying medical condition such as infections or other metabolic diseases. If this happens to you and you don’t feel like yourself, call your doctor.
Should I worry about my sulfur smelling poop?
If you’re noticing a sulfur smell in your poop, don’t worry! It’s actually a pretty normal phenomenon, and it usually goes away within a couple of days.
But if it becomes chronic and you notice other symptoms like stomach cramps or diarrhea that lasts longer than a week, call your doctor for an appointment.
Why does my poop smell like sulfur after covid?
Parosmia or “COVID smell” distorts the perception of a Covid patient, so things smell rotten. (source)
After you get COVID, your sense of smell can get “distorted.” This means that things that don’t smell bad to other people might smell bad to you. It also means that things that should smell bad to other people might not smell bad to you.
For example, some people who have parosmia say their own breath smells like sulfur. Other people say they can’t smell anything at all—and some people report both!
We don’t know exactly why this happens, but one thing we know is that it’s temporary. Your sense of smell will return when you’re no longer sick with COVID.
The smell of sulfur results from bacteria in the colon breaking down proteins. Some foods contain more sulfur than others, so if you eat a lot of these foods, you may notice this smell more often. If this is your case, try to reduce your intake of these foods for a few days and see if it makes a difference. You can also try adding more fiber and water to your diet. This will make it easier for food to move through your digestive system and less likely to produce foul odors like sulfur smell. If these don’t work, consult with a doctor.