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Morning oily stools

I am a 45 year old active female.  About eight months ago I started experiencing occasional oily looking loose stools.  It only happens in the morning and I usually have to go a bout three times.  They are normal color and other than that I feel good.  My stomach doesn't bother me after I go and there is
an urgent need to have a bowel movement when I need to go.  My stomach makes a lot of noises after I eat but there is no pain.  I'm just concerned that it might be something serious.  I have always had  a nervous stomach and had a sigmoidoscopy done 10 years ago which was clear.
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Oily stools may be indicative of several diseases.  Specifically, malabsorption (i.e. fat malabsorption. biliary disease or celiac disease) and chronic pancreatitis can cause oily stools.  

I would suggest discussing further tests to evaluate this.  This can include fecal fat tests, an abomdinal ultrasound evaluating the gallbladder, and blood tests for celiac disease.  Pancreatic enzymes - i.e. amylase and lipase - as well as imaging (such as plain films or an abdominal CT scan), can also be considered.

You may also want to consider a colonoscopy as part of the evaluation for the chronic loose stools.

Followup with your personal physician is essential.

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice - the information presented is for patient education only. Please see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.

Kevin, M.D.
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