Morning diarrhea describes the urgent need to have a bowel movement, followed by watery, loose stool, when you first awaken in the morning. It may even disturb your early morning sleep. It is not one specific symptom that will indicate a clear cause.
If you have a gastrointestinal disorder with diarrhea, you may experience these morning urges. It actually tends to be found more often in people with bowel problems, like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It may likely indicate a psychosomatic element, since both of those bowel disorders can be aggravated by anxiety and stress.
Why do you have Diarrhea every Morning?
Morning diarrhea may be associated with a number of different conditions. Sometimes you may not need to worry, but in other cases, it could be indicative of a serious problem that requires immediate treatment. Here are some of the reasons why morning diarrhea occurs:
- Viruses and Bacteria
Bacterial and viral infections may cause morning diarrhea. They can be the result of eating foods that had become contaminated. The most often seen causes are food poisoning and E. coli.
Diarrhea and vomiting caused by these infections may occur anytime during the day. But there are also cases when your symptoms might only be present early in the morning, particularly if your body is reacting to some food you ate the night before.
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is the most common cause of diarrhea. If you report diarrhea to your physician, he or she will check for IBS first. IBS occurs when your intestines and colon have abnormal contractions. It could also be caused by allergic food reactions and unhealthy eating habits.
IBS may be treated by changing your eating habits. Eating earlier in the evening, reducing salt intake and eating more natural foods can help. In addition, yogurts and bananas with live, active cultures will improve the stability of the stool, which helps in treating IBS.
- Substance Misuse
Nicotine and alcohol case irritation in the bowel. The time when these substances are typically misused is at night, at parties and dinners. You may experience diarrhea in the morning if you misuse these substances at night.
Diarrhea is not normally caused by abusing these substances, unless it’s consistent. If you misuse other substances, it could lead to the same problem.
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is chronic, and is a cause of inflammation on the wall of the bowel. The major kinds of IBD are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Both of these types cause your diarrhea to be watery, bloody, or mucus-y.
The diarrhea will occur in acute episodes or attacks, which will be worse at some times. It may not be quite as bad early, but will start up as soon as you’re awake. In severe cases, you may wake up at night in order to pass stool.
When you’re pregnant, it increases hormone levels, including estrogen and human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG). This may cause morning sickness that sometimes leads to morning diarrhea. This is especially true in the first trimester. Some types of oral contraceptives create much the same effect.
- Psychosocial Stress
Bowel movements are reduced when you’re sleeping or relaxed. They will worsen if you wake up feeling intense emotions. This brings on morning diarrhea. It will usually be less severe when you resolve the stressful situation.
- Medication Reactions
Some medicines, like antibiotics, may cause diarrhea. It can occur any time of day, but often hits you in the morning, as your organs function more when you wake up. The organs are active in the morning because they are often dormant at night. Medication that remains in your system overnight can trigger severe morning diarrhea.
- Other Causes
Other situations that lead to morning diarrhea may include:
- Changes in Circadian Rhythm
Your circadian rhythms change in the mornings. This curbs late night bowel movements and triggers the urge to have to move your bowels early in the morning. If you disrupt this cycle, you may have abnormal bowel movements, and this can include diarrhea every morning.
- Hormone Changes
Abnormal hormone changes and functions of the nerves can interrupt bowel movements, leading to morning diarrhea. This is due to the fact that nerve activity and hormone levels are intensified in the morning, which increases alertness and activity in your body.
- Eating as soon as you Awaken
If you eat breakfast as soon as you wake up, it can cause the defecation reflexes to act up. These reflexes increase motility in the colon and stomach, as well as in the first section of your small intestine. In addition, water and stool can build up overnight.
- Intolerance for certain Foods
Diarrhea in the morning is fairly common after lactose-intolerant people drink milk, or after people with mal-absorption of fructose drink fruit juice.
Dealing with Diarrhea every Morning
Treating morning diarrhea can be difficult, since there are many conditions that might cause it.
A physician needs to identify the cause of your morning diarrhea before any treatment plan can be devised. He or she will study your lifestyle, including stress level, exercise patterns and diet, to identify the cause.
Physicians may conduct lab tests on stool and tissue samples, in order to determine the exact reason, so that it can be properly treated.
A colonoscopy may be used in diagnosing chronic early morning diarrhea. In that procedure, a physician inserts a small camera into the rectum, colon and bowels. The images will show the state of the lower part of your digestive tract. It can help in the diagnosis of colon cancer and Crohn’s disease.
Recommended treatments for your diarrhea every morning include:
- Reducing your intake of irritant drinks and foods, including spicy foods, dairy, alcohol, beverages with caffeine and products with sweeteners
- Probiotics, to restore your normal intestinal flora function
- Taking anti-diarrhea medications like loperamide
- Controlling your intake of fiber, which may worsen your pre-existing diarrhea
The best solution is treating the underlying disease or condition, not just the symptoms.