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Casein Curds: The Peril of Poop Pods

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I writing this for people who may be having the same problem I have been having: cramping, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting, followed passing small (one inch x one half inch) pod-like (chicklet-shaped, bean-shaped) objects in my stool, which always float and are filled with a white, powdery substance.

Here is my story. I wrote it to share the info that helped me figure out what was happening to me.

A few years ago, after graduating from college, I moved to Texas for a job. I moved into my first apartment and worked, worked, worked, day and night. After a few months, I started noticing that I had a lot of stomach cramps and many loose bowels. I have always had food allergies (none really severe), so these kinds of things weren’t particularly abnormal, but the severity started to be.

I would get very dizzy and nauseated, followed by very intense stomach cramps. Then I would have explosive diarrhea, almost completely liquid. It had a very strange musty smell, almost like mold or mildew. Really, really weird. This kind of thing kept happening. One night it was really bad and I was in the bathroom for hours. Then I started vomiting. The vomiting was the most violent I’ve ever experienced. It was awful.

That is when I saw them. Bright red pod-looking objects in the toilet. There were 2 or 3 of them, and they were about an inch long, a half inch wide, and a quarter inch thick. Kind of chicklet-shaped. What the hell?? I got really scared and realized that those came out of me. Then I remembered seeing one a couple days before that in the toilet. I thought it was super gross and I flushed it; they were working on the sewage nearby and I honestly thought it somehow came up the pipe. I mean, it could not have possibly come from me! Wrong.

The morning after that terrible night, I went to a nearby Care Now. I was so ill and dehydrated from vomiting all night that I could barely drive. I told them what was happening and I had to run to the bathroom several times while I was there. I was heaving and heaving but my body was empty. They prescribed an antibiotic and told me I probably had an intestinal infection. I started taking the meds and I started to feel better by the end of the night. Then I slowly started feeling back to normal so I thought it was over.

The next month it happened again. And again. And again. I started to see more and more “pods” in my stool. I started Googling, searching every weird combination of words I could think of. I didn’t find ANYTHING that even came close to this!! I told 2 doctors and my allergist. They looked at me like I was nuts and told me it was probably a pill casing, or some kind of intestinal problem. Finally, I saved a couple of the pods. I had never really examined one before, and I was horrified that it might have some kind of eggs or something in it. I mean, at this point, what could it be but some kind of parasite??

The outside of the pods varied in color. I rarely saw red ones after the really severe bout of vomiting. By this time I had seen white, orange, yellow, and even green ones. I saved one for the doctor’s office, then cut open the other one, scared to death of what I might find. The outside of it was soft and kind of see-through, like the consistency of a gummy bear. I saw that inside was a white powdery substance. And it looked like it was dry, as if the pod was completely sealed as I passed it! That freaked me out even more.

I brought the pod to my doc in a stool-sample container they had given me and asked them to please send it for testing. They did. The result? Negative. Um, WHAT?? Negative for what?? What IS it?? That’s all they could tell me. They couldn’t tell me what material it was or what was in it.

So basically, this continued for years. It would happen a couple times a month at least. I would start feeling really gross and nauseated, then intense cramps, then I’d be running to the toilet passing pods in musky diarrhea for a day or two. Then it would go back to normal, until whenever the next one hit.

I continued to Google. A few months ago, through some variation of gross keywords, I found a blog in which people were talking about the same symptoms, desperately searching for answers from one another!!
I was so relieved that I started to cry at my computer. At that point, I was pretty convinced it was something really terrible. Something incurable, that I would probably have to deal with until whatever-it-was killed me. The blog was the first thing I found that even remotely described what I was dealing with. But everyone was as scared as I was, or even more scared, and there weren’t really any answers. I read about people going to doctor after doctor and getting no answers. Some even got colonoscopies and CT scans, others had been to ER several times. I read and read, and followed many scary leads and links until I finally found one that made sense.



The undigested masses appearing in the stools of infants taking milk are usually spoken of as “curds.” These may be small, soft and white, and may make up a large part of the loose stool. An excess of mucous is usually present. [This was true with me too!] Such masses are composed almost entirely of fat. There are also seen, but much less frequently, larger smooth hard masses of a yellowish-brown color, but white on section. They are usually present in small numbers in a stool, the rest of which might be quite normal. These hard or “bean curds,” so called for their resemblance to lima beans, are composed chiefly of protein, usually with an envelope of fat. They are undoubtedly formed in the stomach, where the casein coagulates in masses, some of which are so firm and hard that they pass the intestine without being digested. Curds of this description are rarely seen unless proportion of casein in the food is high.

Curds of the first variety, if numerous, call for a considerable reduction in the amount of fat. The large, smooth, hard curds, if numerous and persistent, may usually be made to disappear by boiling the milk. This causes the precipitation of the casein to occur in smaller masses which are more readily attacked by the gastric and intestinal secretions.



Here are more Google links leading to other sources I found that discuss casein curds (casein coagula). They, like the first source I cited, are written in the context of occurrence in infants in children. (I am still looking for data about this issue in adults.)




I couldn’t believe it!! Something that sounded exactly like what I was experiencing. Over the last few months, more and more issues from my past have been starting to make sense. I have had a milk “allergy” since I was a child. Doctors told me that I was not lactose intolerant; I was allergic to milk. In fact, before I was diagnosed with the allergy, I would get so sick that I would wind up in the hospital, completely emaciated from not keeping any food down. And of course, my parents and my doctors were feeding me dairy to build my system back up, wondering why I could not get well.

Yet, when I had allergy testing done just earlier this year (the first time I’ve had it done as an adult), I tested negative for milk allergies! I made them try it again at a higher concentration. Still, nothing. My allergist told me that dairy issues were commonly misdiagnosed, and that my issues sounded more digestive then allergy-related.

I’ll be honest, I am still not clear on the difference between milk allergy and food intolerance and food sensitivity. But since I showed no allergic reaction to milk or casein, I definitely feel that “allergy” is the wrong word to describe what I have. From what I’ve read, allergic reactions tend to occur pretty quickly after you eat and tend to be severe, while the intolerance/sensitivities tend to occur during the digestive process. (After you eat, it takes about six to eight hours for food to pass through your stomach and small intestine, but complete elimination from the body typically takes 24-72 hours.) But I’ve also read that having allergies can lead to the digestive problems, so it goes round and round. And these issues are so often misdiagnosed so who knows WHAT we really have. We have to be our own detectives.

Here is an awesome site that discusses allergies/intolerance: http://www.theallergysite.co.uk/dairy.html

And here is a study about casein and milk allergies:
http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal /119209344/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0

I found it very interesting that, in the first blog I found, many of the people afflicted by this didn’t drink milk or didn’t “do dairy at all.” That suggests that they have had problems with milk in the past, just as I have. But little did they (or I) know that avoiding dairy does not mean you are avoiding casein.

Following are some things I learned about good ol’ casein.

CASEIN
(kāˈsēn)
Well-defined group of proteins found in milk, constituting about 80% of the proteins in cow's milk, but only 40% in human milk. Casein is a remarkably efficient nutrient, supplying not only essential amino acids, but also some carbohydrates and the inorganic elements calcium and phosphorus. The calcium caseinates form an insoluble white curd when acidified by hydrochloric acid or sulfuric acid, or when milk is soured by bacterial contaminants. Acid casein is used widely in cheese, adhesives, water paints, for coating paper, and in printing textiles and wallpaper. In neutral solutions the enzyme rennin converts one of the caseins to an insoluble curd; most of the protein in cheese is rennet casein curd. When treated with formaldehyde the curd forms casein plastic, used for manufacturing imitation tortoiseshell, jade, and lapis lazuli.
(The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition Copyright� 2004)



Okay, so now I knew a little bit about casein. I started to wonder why this started happening to me after I moved to TX. It had never happened before that (unless some pods went unnoticed, which is possible, but certainly it hadn’t gotten as extreme as it got here). I began to realize that my diet became a lot different here in the South. I had never had much Mexican food before but I found that I really liked it. I knew that cheese bothered me but I have always just dealt with that and had it in limited doses. I expect some discomfort and gas when I have dairy, so when I splurged, I made sure I was hanging out by myself that night. But what could have prompted such an extreme response?

Casein is a protein found in milk, but it is used in LOTS of other processed foods. It is often listed as sodium caseinate, calcium caseinate, or milk protein, whey, whey protein concentrate, and many more. The biggest and baddest source of casein (in my experience) is called Milk Protein Concentrate (MPC). This is basically the heroin of casein!! I read about it as my casein research linked to more and more articles.

You can find these casein proteins in food that is creamy. Scientists have isolated the specific proteins that give foods a creamy, dairy-like consistency. So when people buy “fake” cheese, they are actually getting those concentrated proteins. What was I buying late night in the grocery store? Kraft singles. Poison for me. Velveeta? Poison for me. QUESO (oh no!!)? Yup, definitely poison for me. Never, before I moved, had I ingested so much CONCENTRATED casein! I could always handle fresh dairy like small amounts of milk and tiny amounts of fresh cheeses now and then, but the concentrated proteins tear me up.

Here are some disturbing articles about the controversial use of MPC. Granted, the source is Family Farm Defenders, who are very biased, so use your own judgment. They slam Kraft products pretty bad. But I can testify that Kraft products make me sicker than just about anything else (Kraft Singles, Velveeta, and Kraft salad dressings).


Some more casein-containing foods that surprised me were: salad dressings (Not just the thick ones either! Creamy Italian used to be my fave but that can be chock full of it!), cheese flavored chips (Doritos, I will always remember you…), protein shakes and “health” drinks (watch out for these!! Slim-fast, Ensure, and a lot of protein body-building drinks are really packed with milk proteins. For those without this sensitivity, it is good protein. For the rest of us, not so much.), etc.


Casein is also known for breaking down into casomorphins, which can have an opiate-like effect on the body. Hence, comfort foods!! A lot of fast food chains have been accused of using caseins intentionally for this purpose, profiting from the good feelings (and literally addictive qualities) of caseins.



I have also noticed that many of my worst reactions have occurred around days that I drank beer. I read in couple of the resources that when you have intolerance and sensitivity, any extra strain on your digestive system can make your problems worse. Since alcohol wreaks havoc on even normal digestive systems, it’s a good idea limit your alcohol intake if you’ve had foods you shouldn’t have had, or vice versa. You will be sorry if you don’t.

I am still looking for info and modifying my diet as I find MORE things with casein. Ugh. It is crazy how much of it I was ingesting before. No wonder I couldn’t isolate what was bothering me. It was basically everything I ate! But knowing is way more than half the battle. Way more. I can’t possibly provide every piece of info that exists about casein and this health issue. So please research on your own. Please. For your issues, all this could be completely off base. But all I can tell you is what makes sense to me. And removing casein from my diet (or minimizing it, at least) has improved my life SO much!

To conclude this long, drawn-out rant, I am hoping that this post will help people out there like me who are still scared to death and just want to know what is happening inside them. I plan to post this on every health site I can find and please, if you are having these problems, share your story. And share these stories with doctors or professors. Don’t be embarrassed to talk about it just because it involves poop! I fear that this is only going to get worse and affect increasing numbers of people as more products are made with casein and MPC. This is pretty serious stuff. When strange things are rocketing out of your body, it is serious!!


So good luck!! Please forgive me if you reply to this post and I do not respond. I will try and check back to see if people are finding this.

~The Caseinator~



I am going to list all the keywords I can think of that people may be searching for in hopes that they find this info. Forgive the grossness!

Keywords: Poop object stool diarrhea vomit chicklet white red bean curd dairy milk feces pod egg allergy intolerance sensitivity GFCF bowel movement BM gastrointestinal intestinal irritable bowel syndrome IBS digestive disorder
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First Helper Caseinator
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Users who thank Caseinator for this post: KatFish  sglmom 

replied March 12th, 2011
Poop Pods
I am glad to hear that I am not alone .. I noticed these pods a couple of months ago. I was very concerned till I read this ... Thank you for sharing.
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replied December 8th, 2011
HELLO. I JUST REALIZED WHAT HAS BEEN WRONG WITH ME FOR YEARS AND YEARS. CASEIN COAGULA INTOLERANCE...WHO KNEW? WHAT CAN I EAT? I CAN NOT SEEM TO FIND MANY ANSWERS TO THAT.
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replied July 19th, 2012
help
I poop red bean things too with ibs and had gall bladder removal is this what it is?
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replied July 24th, 2012
Thank you
OMG, I've had this issue for 6 months straight and could have died reading this. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. Im a health freak too and so some of the stuff Ive been eating I didnt think would be the cause. Im going to do my homework on this bc I have a appt with my GI on monday about this but geez, to think...
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replied August 6th, 2012
THANK YOU FOR POSTING!
FINALLY! I have found someone with similar problems, spent months & thousands of dollars seeing a Gastrointestinal doctor for severe stomach/digestive related issues....He had no answer, and simply said that the capsules were the gels capsules from vitamins I was taking, & told me to stop taking them... Well I did & I still had these weird capsules in stool... I will definitely be doing my research on this & research on lifestyle changes! Thank you!
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replied August 28th, 2012
Kaka Poops
Great post. You've put my mind at ease Caseinator, THANK YOU! I can finally quit frantically looking for answers to why there's a yellow "Halls Centre" (white inside) in my poop!
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replied September 7th, 2012
Same thing here!!!
Thank you so much for your post, it was the only thing that came up when I googled my issue.

About six months ago I started having severe diarreah off and with major cramping. This went on for three months ( only had two 'normal' movements in that three months). I finally saw a Gastro doctor, after lots of bloodwork ruling out bacteria, celiac and other issues, and after a colonoscopy they found nothing and ruled it severe IBS. I'm still having occasional bouts of diarreah. Today I started having bouts again and I noticed several clumps in the diarreah like soft round smaller than marble clumps. I got one out, it was soft mucus like, broke it open and it was full of white powder like stuff. I have never heard of that before....that's why I was thrilled to read your post!!! I haven't really changed my diet and don't know why my body would start this out of the blue. I have a follow appointment next week...I will definitely mention this, and I have learned by now to take pictures of everything (I know, gross, right? But if it helps my diagnosis I'll do just about anything)! Thanks again for your post! I feel a little more 'normal' now!! Good luck!
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replied September 27th, 2012
Re: casein medication article
Just something to keep in mind; if you take any type of medications that are timed released, extended release, suspended release, etc. they are encased in a special polymer/ plastic type substance. The way the work is once in the stomach the acids begin to eat tiny microscopic holes in the casing, hence releasing tiny amounts of the medication to be absorbed in the small intestines over a period of time. The actual casing itself does not dissolve and any inactive or inert ingredients may be left in tact while the bodies natural response is to encapsulate the remaining casing which can appear in various colors with a mucous or gelatinous appearance while being evacuated while having a bowel movement. This however does not mean that you are not absorbing the required amount of the active medication needed. As for the ill feeling, nausea, vomiting, and stomach cramping; these could be side effects of the medication that are normal unless they continue for long durations and should be evaluated by a physician. Normally these symtoms subside on there own over a brief period of time, but it may also be due to whether you are taking with or without food, what type of food, empty stomach, not drinking a full 8 ounces of water with the medication. I hope thus helps somewhat.
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replied May 19th, 2013
So that's what they are?!?!
No way! I've been trying to find the answer to this for ages!! I've got Crohn's disease and diabetes (type 2)...Lucky huh? I was diagnosed with both last year!

For months i've been periodically pooping out what look like (sorry if you're a fan of canned carrots) the smooth, polished carrots in Tins. Well, after knowing I hadn't eaten any and I sure as hell hadn't eaten the things whole, I donned the old rubber gloves and fished one out. It was exactly as you described and pure white on the inside. It freaked me out! What i'm not sure about is whether or not I should be going to see the doc or my GI specialist because it does seem to happen when I have the runs or just before I flare.

Hmm, definitely food for thought...or not depending on how you look at it Wink

Thanks for this, it's been a big help!
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replied July 2nd, 2013
Informative, thanks.
after reading your post I found this photo which resembled my problem:
http://curezone.com/ig/i.asp?i=42395
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Users who thank c4mpr0 for this post: kellymom48 

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replied October 1st, 2013
This has just started for me and I can link it to taking metformin twice a day for type two diabeites , I will definitely watch what I eat better and try to figure this out , mine look more like grapes pale green in color and just not something you want to see coming out of you . But it didn't start until I started taking this medication . Thanks for sharing this I also live in Texas
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Users who thank warsgirl for this post: azurialyn 

replied October 30th, 2013
Thanks so much, I've been living in Texas for almost two years and have been having these same issues. Coming from an organic free range diet in Germany to he'll sitting and kneeling at the toilet and my doctors thinking I'm the crazy one. I'm going to show this post to my husband so we can start eliminating casein from our diet.
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replied October 30th, 2013
Thanks so much, I've been living in Texas for almost two years and have been having these same issues. Coming from an organic free range diet in Germany to he'll sitting and kneeling at the toilet and my doctors thinking I'm the crazy one. I'm going to show this post to my husband so we can start eliminating casein from our diet.
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replied December 27th, 2013
LINK TO CASEIN CURDS IN THE STOOL AND LIVER DISEASE?
I also was having these showing up in my stool. They also were accompanied by cramps, pain etc. The doctor didn't seem to think of them as anything of significance. About three weeks ago I started to bloat and swell up in the abdomen, and once again made an appointment. I wasn't feeling like eating, but was gaining weight daily. The doctor eventually sent me to get an cat scan, which showed fluid in the abdomen and pelvic area. Findings said that there were also varicose veins,suggesting portal hypertension and non-alcoholic liver disease. My additional symptoms had been spasms in my hands, back, toes etc. I am going to the doctor in a week or so to get a final finding from the fluid (5 1/2 qts) they removed and an ultrasound. It's funny, but I have had "fat pads" on the knuckles of one hand for years, but never knew that they can be related to Duquesne Contracture. I now have a small hard growth on the same palm of my hand, which is a symptom, and my fingers spasm and cross over one another. I think anyone with any of these symptoms, combined with elevated liver enzymes may be at risk for liver disease. I have had abdominal issues for a lot of years now but no doctor suggested that my elevated enzymes might become a life threatening condition.
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