Some people experience diarrhea after eating certain foods, while some others experience diarrhea after every meal.
In this article, some of the common causes of diarrhea and treatment are discussed.
If you indeed do suffer from this, please read this article thoroughly and make an appointment to see your doctor if the symptoms persist.
What is Diarrhea?
Diarrhea can be defined as an increase in the frequency of bowel movements or as a change in the form of stool. It can also be off-color such as green or yellow diarrhea. However, it has to be differentiated from four other conditions: incontinence of stool, rectal urgency, incomplete evacuation and bowel movements immediately after eating a meal.
Increase in the Frequency of Bowel Movements: The maximum number of bowel movements among healthy individuals is three in a day. Therefore, absolute diarrhea can be defined as more bowel movements than normal and relative diarrhea as more than usual.
- Looseness of Stool: It is difficult to define diarrhea on the basis of consistency of stool as it keeps changing based on the diets that healthy individuals have each day. People who eat vegetables in large quantities will pass looser stools compared to those who eat less of vegetables. However, watery stools are not normal and can be considered diarrheal.
Diarrhea can be in response to many acute and chronic conditions. In some cases, there may not be a known cause at all and diarrhea will pass of without any side effects.
However, chronic diarrhea along with other symptoms may be a sign of a serious health condition. So, what causes diarrhea?
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may be a reason for experiencing chronic diarrhea after eating meals. People suffering from IBS may experience bouts of diarrhea and constipation. Studies indicate that 20 percent of the adults suffer from IBS. The direct cause of IBS is not known.
- Gastroenteritis: Infections of the gastrointestinal tract caused by microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses or parasites can lead to diarrhea. Gastroenteritis is diagnosed by doing a stool culture test. Improper hygiene, contact with infected persons and consumption of spoiled foods are some of the reasons for contracting infections. Consumption of contaminated water, raw foods, shell fish and unpasteurized milk can also cause gastrointestinal infections.
- Disorders of the Autoimmune System: Autoimmune disorders, including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, are also known to cause chronic diarrhea after eating a meal. The major factors that contribute to autoimmune disorders are genetic makeup and lifestyle.
- People with gluten or lactose intolerance can also experience diarrhea after consumption of food. It is the body’s reaction to get rid of a foreign material.
In order to understand the treatment for diarrhea, it is important to consider the two situations, acute and chronic diarrhea.
Medications may be essential in some cases.
Natural home remedies for diarrhea are also becoming popular.
- Acute Diarrhea: In many cases of acute diarrhea after eating, replacement of lost fluids through oral re-hydration may be the only treatment required. The body may just be reacting to an infection or to ingestion of bad food. Once the body gets rid of the cause of infection, the bowel movements will become normal. Some people may find medications like Imodium (loperamide) and bismuth subsalicylate to be beneficial. The most common pill used to stop diarrhea is Imodium, especially in situations such as traveler’s diarrhea. This pill works by slowing down the gut and decreasing the bowel movements. This makes the stool less watery. One of the recommended home remedies to stop diarrhea is consumption of pro-biotic yoghurt. It relieves the symptoms of diarrhea in some people reasonably fast. Absorbents like attapulgite and polycarbophil and bismuth compounds are also used in the treatment of acute diarrhea.
- Chronic Diarrhea: In order to treat chronic diarrhea after eating, it is important to determine the cause. If infection is the cause, then antibiotics may be of help. Generally, antibiotics are used when people have severe and persistent diarrhea, additional debilitating diseases, and stool testing reveals serious bacterial infections. However, it is difficult to treat diarrhea not caused by an infection. Sometimes people may have to go for long-term medication or even a surgery may be recommended in certain cases. People with lactose intolerance, celiac disease, or irritable bowel syndrome may have to modify their diets. Oral rehydration is important to people suffering from chronic diarrhea as in the case of acute diarrhea. People suffering chronic diarrhea may be advised to avoid beverages containing caffeine, alcohol and maintain a well-balanced nutrition to enable quick recovery.
How to Stop Diarrhea After Eating Using Alternative Therapies or Home Remedies?
- Alternative Therapies: Research studies indicate that zinc supplementation is beneficial to children, six months or older, suffering from diarrhea in developing countries. Foods and supplements containing beneficial bacteria may be helpful in treating diarrhea, particularly viral diarrhea in children. Beneficial bacteria that live in the digestive tract help digest the food and provide protection against harmful bacteria. Probiotics contain strains of living bacteria that are similar to the ones normally found in digestive system. Yogurt, cheese, miso and tempeh, are some of the safe probiotic foods. However, side effects may include gas and bloating. Homeopathic remedies include the following treatments depending on the specific symptoms:
- Arsenicum: for people suffering from diarrhea with nausea, extreme thirst and weakness.
- Chamomilla: good for children, especially if they are oversensitive and inconsolable.
- Sulphur: for people suffering from diarrhea in the morning, changeable stools, or diarrhea alternating with constipation
- Natural Home Remedies for Diarrhea: Taking some of the dietary supplements mentioned below, when suffering from diarrhea, can be helpful:
- One teaspoon of food-grade clay with a glass of water absorbs and binds wastes in the intestines.
- Multivitamin and multi-mineral supplements to compensate for the loss of large amounts of the electrolytes.
- One teaspoon of acidophilus powder thrice daily re-establishes the healthy balance of intestinal flora.
- Bromelain or papain tablets chewed after each meal will relieve symptoms of diarrhea caused by the deficiency of digestive enzymes.
- Addition of fiber to the diet helps add bulk to stools and relieve diarrhea.
- Ingestion of one tablespoon of pectin thrice daily provides protective coating over the irritated intestinal lining.
- Tea made with herbs such as mulletin, red raspberry leaf or meadowsweet has been found to be useful in alleviating diarrhea symptoms. Two other effective anti-diarrheal herbs are slippery elm and marshmallow root.
- Essential oils like peppermint oil are anti-spasmodic and applying them on the abdomen for about 10 – 15 minutes will also be of help.
- Triple Complex Digestion Tonic is a safe, non-addicting, organic cure consisting of 100 % natural components to alleviate digestive distress, including diarrhea, irregularity, flatulence and abdominal pain. Learn more about Triple Complex Digestion Tonic here.
Summarizing, there are a number of approaches to treating diarrhea after eating. People have the option to choose the approach that they feel will be beneficial to them. Of course, people should check with their physicians before deciding on the kind of treatment they would like to follow.
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