Understand The Root Cause of Your Diarrhea and Stop it Fast

Understand The Root Cause of Your Diarrhea and Stop it Fast

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It seems hard for anyone who’s never suffered through an extended bout of diarrhea to talk about it without cracking one joke or another.

Yes, it can be a funny topic, but only when it’s not happening to you.

For the millions of people worldwide that it affects, it’s anything but funny.

It can be painful, annoying, and inconvenient.

What Exactly is Diarrhea?

When you eat, the food you’ve eaten is sent to the gastrointestinal tract, where it’s broken down so that your body can absorb the nutrients and fluids it needs.

The leftover waste passes through your rectum and anus as stool (a bowel movement).

For some people, a stool weight greater than 200 grams a day suggests diarrhea, and for others it can be the passage of loose stools more frequently than usual.3,5 Not that you’re interested in weighing your fecal matter, but still a stat worth knowing. Moving on…

Illustration of various microorganisms

Types of Diarrhea

Non-infectious diarrhea: There are organisms that affect the gastrointestinal tract and cause acute diarrhea. Non-infectious diarrhea can be caused by toxins (food poisoning), chronic disease (inflammatory bowel disease), or drugs (antibiotics). It can’t be spread from person to person.

Illustration of Celiac Disease

Inflammatory diarrhea: Many microbial infections cause acute diarrhea, but others bring on inflammation (invasive pathogens) or malabsorption (giardiasis). These are characterized by blood and pus in the stool and an elevated fecal calprotectin level. Inflammatory diarrhea is often due to autoimmune disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which can manifest as intestinal diseases like ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.

Photo of different brand of drugs that may cause leaky gut

The watery diarrhea category may be subdivided into osmotic, secretory, and functional.

Functional diarrhea: This stems from hypermotility of the gut. Disorders in motility that accelerate transit time could decrease absorption, resulting in diarrhea.8 Abnormally slow motility may result in bacterial overgrowth and thus diarrhea. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the most common cause of functional diarrhea. Endocrine disorders (hyperthyroidism or diabetes, for example) also increase motility.

Photo of woman holding her stomach in pain

Symptoms of Diarrhea

  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Bloating
  • Frequent urge to evacuate the bowels
  • Incontinence
Photo of a syringe with antibiotic pills

Root Causes of Diarrhea

Changes in bowel flora are believed to be contributing factors in many chronic diseases and their symptoms.

The following factors contribute to intestinal dysbiosis:

A standard American diet (SAD) that is low in fiber, rich in sugar, low in nutrients, and high in processed foods changes the ecosystem in our gut.

Overuse of medications such as anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, and steroids can disrupt gut flora.

Exposure to toxins such as mercury and mold can damage the epithelial cells or intestinal barrier function of the gut.

Chronic stress alters digestion and water intake to the intestines in a way that either slows or pushes food too quickly through the digestive tract.

Chronic low-grade infections from pathogens cause inflammation and mucosal damage to the colon.

Image of Processed Foods

Root Cause of Diarrhea: Diet

A diet high in sugar, grains, alcohol, starchy vegetables, and lactose (the sugar in milk) can lead to an overgrowth of candida. Candida is a yeast that resides in our gut as part of a healthy human microbiome.

Signs and symptoms of IBS include headaches, irritability, cognitive difficulties, bloating, gas, cramps, constipation, and diarrhea.

Photo of bottles of prescription drugs

Root Cause of Diarrhea: Medications

Antimicrobial agents can’t differentiate between friendly and pathogenic bacteria. When you take these, it disrupts the balance of the intestinal ecosystem by killing off the bad bacteria in your gut while also destroying the good bacteria, leading to intestinal dysbiosis.

Overgrowth of these organisms has been recognized as a cause of antibiotic-associated diarrhea, also known as antibiotic-associated colitis.

Other medications that can alter intestinal barrier function and affect intestinal microflora include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and naproxen.

Illustration of food toxicity

Root Cause of Diarrhea: Toxins

Dr. Mark Hyman reminds us that toxic substances are everywhere in our environment—the food we eat contains pesticides and chemical food additives (flavorings, preservatives, dyes, artificial sweeteners, and MSG).

The repercussions of this imbalance result in undigested food molecules and foreign particles (bacteria, yeast, toxins, and waste) that your body normally doesn’t allow through to leak into your bloodstream.

Photo of a stressed man

Root Cause of Diarrhea: Stress

Stress can be mental or emotional, but it can also be physical, such as surgery, injuries, infections, and excessive exercise.

Illustration of round virus particles

Root Cause of Diarrhea: Infections

Bacteria: Bacteria consumed through contaminated food or water can cause diarrhea. Common culprits include Campylobacter, Salmonella, Shigella, and Escherichia coli (E. coli).

Viruses: Many viruses cause diarrhea, including rotavirus, norovirus, cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex virus, and viral hepatitis.

Parasites: Parasites can enter the body through food or water and settle in the digestive system. Parasites that cause diarrhea include Giardia lamblia, Entamoeba histolytica, and Cryptosporidium.

Photo of a bowl with beef broth, boiled bones and fresh vegetables

Natural Relief from Diarrhea

Eating a whole, unprocessed foods diet as well as herbal and botanical supplements can help alleviate diarrhea. Increased exercise will promote regularity, but you should also engage in the following:

Rehydrate by increasing fluids to help prevent dehydration.

High-potassium foods and liquids can be lost through diarrhea; replace with leafy greens, avocado, fish, bananas, and almonds.

High-sodium foods and liquids can also be lost; replace with bone broths, soups, and Celtic sea salt.

Glutamine and zinc help heal the gut.14 Bone broth, oysters, and mussels can be helpful.

Illustration of different probiotic foods

As with anything new that you introduce into your system, go slowly. Going too fast can fool you into thinking that something isn’t working, when in reality it might if you pace yourself properly.