Here are the 10 Most Common Causes of Diarrhea
Food Poisoning happens when you eat food that has been contaminated with bacteria.
Bacterial infections often cause the more serious cases. Typically, infection with bacteria occurs after eating contaminated food or drinks (food poisoning). Bacterial infections also cause severe symptoms, often with vomiting, fever, and severe abdominal cramps or abdominal pain. Bowel movements occur frequently and may be watery and individuals may experience “explosive diarrhea” which is a very forceful, almost violent, expulsion of loose, watery stool along with gas.
If symptoms are violent and sustained, seek immediate medical intervention.
The most common food allergies are milk, egg, peanut and soy allergies. All of these and many other food allergies usually cause it to occur whenever the person who is allergic to these foods’ intakes them intentionally or non-intentionally
When caused by a food allergy, the first symptoms will develop within minutes or hours after eating that certain food. It will take around 24 hours for the symptoms to pass, but in between these 24 hours, you may also experience vomiting, hives, and swelling of the face, tongue or throat.
It is not uncommon for some people’s digestive systems being unable to properly digest certain foods. This is marked as food intolerance and usually results in the presence of gas, diarrhea, nausea and stomach cramps. Usually, dairy products and artificial sweeteners that cause food intolerance with lactose intolerance affecting around 50 million Americans right now – a number that is expected to grow in the years to come.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory bowel disease includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Both of these conditions are chronic diseases of the digestive tract, both of which happen to cause chronic diarrhea as one of the most common symptoms.
It usually lasts for over four weeks, and the stool often contains blood or mucus. Other symptoms that might also develop are nausea, vomiting, weight loss, abdominal pain, and fever.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Chronic diarrhea, abdominal pain, and constipation are the three most common symptoms of irritable bowel disease. In the case of irritable bowel disease, it may last for six months or even more. In this case it is not triggered by any specific foods, certain foods may increase the symptoms more than other foods.
Keeping a daily log of what you eat and which symptoms you experience and when, may aid you and your doctor in identifying foods that should be eliminated from your diet.
Cause #6: Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is a serious, autoimmune disease which is triggered by consuming gluten. Whenever a person with celiac disease consumes gluten, their immune system damages the specific cells within their small intestine, resulting in permanent gut damage. If left untreated, celiac disease poses a serious threat to the life of a patient. Approximately 1 in 133 Americans suffer from celiac disease.
Chronic diarrhea is often an early indicator of celiac disease. Unexplained weight loss and fatigue are also common symptoms of celiac disease. These symptoms are very damaging to the body; seek treatment as soon as possible. A gluten free diet will be a major part of the treatment plan.
Cause #7: Certain Medications
Whenever you fill a prescription for drugs, ask your pharmacist for a printed copy of the product information and possible side effects. Some medications alter the bacterial balance in the gut, by killing off some bacteria and promoting the growth of others.
The balance of helpful and harmful bacteria is sometimes tipped in favor of the harmful bacteria. Antibiotics, antacids, blood pressure medications and chemotherapy are among the most frequent causes of bacterial imbalances in the gut. If you experience this side effect, drink 6 - 8 glasses of fluids daily and see your doctor immediately to discuss a change in your medication.
The odd bout of stomach flu is commonly treated with lots of rest and plenty of fluids. There is a danger that children and older adults may suffer serious dehydration. Flu sufferers must be kept well hydrated. The stomach flu can go on anywhere from three to eight days and develops around two days after exposure to the virus that causes the stomach flu.
Foreign travel is a common way for a person to contract this affliction, often caused by unfamiliar viruses or parasites. Campylobacter, salmonellae and shigella organisms are among the most common causes. Less common causes are Escherichia coli (commonly called E. coli) Yersinia and Listeria. Parasites cause infection of the digestive system by the use of contaminated water. Common parasitic causes include Giardia lamblia, Entamoeba histolytica, and Cryptosporidium.
Characterized by mild to moderate symptoms with frequent watery bowel movements, abdominal cramps and a low-grade fever, this tends to last three (3) to seven (7) days. This is also known as viral gastroenteritis.
Norovirus (for example), Norwalk virus, caliciviruses is the most common cause of epidemics among and adults and school-age children. Viral infections can spread rapidly on cruise ships and in nursing homes, day-care facilities and restaurants.
Rotavirus is a common cause in infants.
Adenovirus infections are common in all age groups.
Other factors that may upset the gut include:
- Alcohol Abuse: Both binge drinking and chronic alcoholism may lead to loose stools.
- Laxative abuse: Laxatives are for occasional use only.
- Diabetes: this can be a complication.
- Radiation therapy or chemotherapy may cause loose stools for up to three weeks after treatment ends.
- Some cancers, including carcinoid syndrome, colon cancer, lymphoma, medullary carcinoma of the thyroid, pancreatic cancer, and pheochromocytoma.
- Digestive surgery including stomach or intestinal surgery.
- Running: sometimes referred to as “Runner Trots,” this usually happens over longer distances over 10K or particularly hard runs.