What Causes Explosive Diarrhea? How to Stop it?

Almost anyone of us experiences diarrhea at one point or another in his life [1].

Diarrhea is not a condition.

It is a symptom of many conditions.

Explosive diarrhea or severe diarrhea is a diarrhea in overdrive.

At this point, the contractions of your bowels that help you pass feces become stronger and more forceful.

The result is increase in ejection and loudness of the bowel movement.

Think of it as a more violent and loud passing of watery stool.

Explosive diarrhea requires drastic diet changes, and sometimes medications and medical attention [2].

What is diarrhea?

The best way to define diarrhea is “a bowel movement of a more liquid consistency, or an increase in the number or volume of bowel movements”.

According to the World Health Organization, diarrhea is defined as three or more loose or liquid stools per day [3].

What you need to understand is that 75% of your stool is actually made of water.

The other 25% is a combination of fiber, protein, fat, mucus, intestinal secretions, and undigested carbs.

As feces travel through the digestive system, electrolytes and fluids are added to the content.

In normal situations, your large intestine will absorb the excess fluid.

However, when you have diarrhea, digestion speeds up and the large intestine is not able to absorb the rush of fluid.

Causes

Excessive fiber

One of the biggest reasons for diarrhea is your diet.

When you increase consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grain, and bran cereal, you are consuming more indigestible fiber.

This excess fiber can soften your stool and speed up the transit of fecal matter through the intestines [4].

Any drastic increase in fiber intake will cause gas and diarrhea, including severe or explosive diarrhea.

Bear in mind that fruits and vegetables can also contain poorly digested starches and sugars.

If consumed in large quantities, they can also cause diarrhea.

To prevent this, gradually increase the amount of high fiber foods in your diet.

That will allow your body to adjust to the new regime of higher fiber intake.

Gastrointestinal infections

A common cause of short-term diarrhea is an infection in the gut caused by virus, parasite, or bacteria [5].

Most of the intestinal infections resolve on their own in a few days.

However, bacterial infections caused by Salmonella, E. Coli and similar can produce explosive diarrhea lasting for more than 48 hours [6].

Medications

Most of the medications we consume affect our bowel habits.

Some of these medications can even result in explosive diarrhea.

For example, laxatives, especially when overused are a common cause of diarrhea.

Magnesium-containing antacids are another example.

Most medications that treat heartburn and diabetes are linked with diarrhea, but not one of the explosive type [7].

Health conditions

Some chronic conditions can cause inflammation of the colon, resulting in explosive diarrhea.

Some of these conditions include irritable bowel syndrome, Chrohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and colon cancer.

The symptom of diarrhea is most commonly associated with ulcerative colitis.

Allergies and food intolerance

If you allergic, or have an intolerance to a certain food, consuming it might result in diarrhea.

For example, lactose intolerant people can experience diarrhea among other symptoms when consuming dairy products.

Are you at risk of explosive diarrhea?

We mentioned that diarrhea is a common condition that most of us experience.

According to statistics, there are 99 million episodes of diarrhea in the United States on a yearly basis [8].

And while it can hit anyone, some people are at higher risk:

  • Children and adults exposed to feces, especially those involved in changing diapers [9]
  • People traveling to tropical regions and developing countries where hygiene is not at a high level
  • People taking certain medications, most notably medications that are used to treat heartburn
  • Patients with bowel disease

Should you check with a doctor?

What you need to understand is that diarrhea is a symptom, not a condition.

The cause of diarrhea can vary greatly.

If you have signs and symptoms of complications of chronic diarrhea you should consult with a physician as soon as possible.

In most cases, however, diarrhea will clear up without any special treatment or a trip to the doctor.

When diarrhea leads to dehydration, a trip to the doctor’s office is mandatory.

If the diarrhea is accompanied by blood or pus in the stool, fever, dry and cracked lips, or yellow and dark urine, see a doctor.

Your symptoms may not be as urgent, but nonetheless, let the doctor decide.

Can you do something at home?

As mentioned previously, in many cases, treatment for diarrhea can be done at home [10].

The primary treatment is to replace fluids and electrolytes lost due to explosive diarrhea.

Electrolytes are minerals in our body that conduct the electricity your body needs to function.

Here are some tips for a home treatment and self-care for explosive diarrhea [11]:

  • Drink more fluids, including water, juice, and broths
  • If needed, consume oral hydration solutions that contain important electrolytes
  • Pay attention to sanitation and hygiene. Wash your hands with soap and warm water before handling food and after using the toilet
  • Avoid sugary drinks, caffeine, carbonated drinks, dairy products, and greasy food
  • Avoid food high in fiber
  • Stick to a diet of bland and soft foods for a day or two. It is crucial that you stick to strict diet regime in 48 hours to get rid of diarrhea

What to eat?

Let’s pay more attention to what you can, what you cannot, and what you should eat during a diet for diarrhea.

As mentioned previously, you ned to re-hydrate yourself with electrolytes.

That means drinking a lot of water with some lemon juice and salt in it.

Salt and lemon juice will help you add more potassium and other minerals needed.

Another important aspect is to eliminate gluten (wheat) and lactose (dairy products) from your diet.

Watch the symptoms.

If it works out, then the cause for your explosive diarrhea is gluten and dairy foods.

Here are some foods that help with diarrhea as well:

  • Banana is high in potassium, one of the crucial remedies for diarrhea
  • Garlic is another ingredient that can help, as garlic can kill of bacteria causing diarrhea
  • Probiotics like yogurt to restore gut balance. Yogurt is rich in friendly bacteria that can clean up your intestines

explosive diarrhea

Sources:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/global/diarrhea-burden.html
  2. https://data.unicef.org/topic/child-health/diarrhoeal-disease/
  3. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs330/en/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15556256
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4349824/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3035144/
  7. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/heartburn-drugs-cause-diarrhea/
  8. http://www.clevelandclinicmeded.com/medicalpubs/diseasemanagement/gastroenterology/acute-diarrhea/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4775889/
  10. http://www.who.int/maternal_child_adolescent/documents/9241593180/en/
  11. http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/43209/1/9241593180.pdf

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