What do you really mean by loose bowels? As the name suggests, loose bowels refer to the stool that comes out in a thin or watery form. Anyone can experience loose bowels anytime. There is no fixed time or age of this problem. The main reason behind loose bowels is that it happens when you eat something and your body is not able to digest it properly. This causes irritation in your gastrointestinal system and thus your body prepares itself to get rid of such foods more quickly than usual.
Furthermore, this leads the food to get out of the body, much prior to its nutrients absorption phase. You can notice such undigested substances or foods in your stools, when you face the problem of loose bowels. Additionally, loose bowels can often be caused due to other symptoms and conditions too that can affect the wellbeing of your gastrointestinal system.
Causes of loose bowels
- Pancreatic Insufficiency
Pancreatic Insufficiency happens when the quantity of enzymes in your body become limited due to a pancreatic deficiency. These enzymes help in properly breaking down the food that goes into your body. Pancreatic Insufficiency can result in loose stools or gas, since your stool consists of excessive protein, fat, or starch.
In order to treat pancreatic Insufficiency, it is important to first determine the reason behind this condition. Some people are prescribed vitamin supplements, so that their body absorbs fats more effectively and can easily break down foodstuffs during digestion. Others are given oral doses of pancreatic enzymes, so that their body gets a sufficient amount of enzymes, which their body fails to produce.
Diarrhea can also lead to loose, thin, and watery stools. It can also cause cramps and bloating in the abdomen of your body. When experiencing loose bowels due to diarrhea, you may notice undigested food, blood, or mucus in your stool. Other symptoms of diarrhea include fever, sudden weight loss, vomiting, feeling nauseous, or having a feeling of urgency to pass stool.
In most of the cases, diarrhea just needs to continue in a regular way, so that your body can get rid of the loose bowels causing irritants. You can use various retail medications from a chemist, like Bisomol or Kaopectate, in order to control your diarrhea problem, if necessary. Additionally, you must drink lots of fluids in the entire day, so that you do not get dehydrated. This is because loose bowels can make you dehydrated, as during such times your body looses more water. Hemorrhoid cream or warm baths can also help you, if you experience irritation in your rectal area due to recurrent bowel movements.
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Irritable Bowel Syndrome, better known as IBS, is one of the major causes of loose bowels. Its triggering mechanism can cause hyperactivity in your body’s colon, which can result in loose bowels. Usually, such attacks are caused by irritating foods like caffeine, diary, or chocolate products. In addition to this, some environmental factors can also be the reason behind IBS symptoms, such as nausea, constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating, cramping, etc. When you experience IBS, you will have a feeling that your bowels are still not empty even after using the washroom. You will also notice mucus in your stool or will feel relived after passing gas or feces.
You can prevent the symptoms of IBS by avoiding foods that trigger these attacks. Such substances can be different for different people. Generally, dairy products or foods that cause acidity are the common triggers of IBS. Dramatic changes in your eating routine or environmental stress are also some of the things that can cause IBS. IBS patients can use pain relievers, antispasmodic drugs, antidiarrheals, or constipation medications. They can also increase their fluid or fiber intake, in order to manage their IBS symptoms.
- Ulcerative Colitis
Ulcerative Colitis causes the colon and rectum to grow inflamed, probably from an autoimmune retort. In such cases, chronic ulcers are formed in these areas, which further cause rectal pain and bleeding, when they burn up, subsequently resulting in a remission period. You can also experience fever, blood, and dehydration during this condition.
Most of the Ulcerative Colitis patients are generally prescribed anti-inflammatories and immunosuppressants. They are also told to follow a high protein and low fiber diet. However, if these preventive measures do not work in controlling your symptoms, then you are advised to get a surgery done, so as to remove your colon’s damaged portions.
- Crohn’s Disease
Crohn’s Disease causes the small intestine and digestive tract to get inflamed, most probably due to an immune retort. This, in turn, causes chronic loose stools, abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, fever, arthritis, skin problems, or weight loss.
There is no suitable treatment for this chronic condition. Usually, the doctor prescribes anti-inflammatory medications, immunosuppressants, and anti-diarrheals, in addition to dietary restraints, so that its symptoms could be managed. However, in severe cases, it is advised to go for a surgical procedure that removes a part of your digestive tract, in order to save it from becoming severely damaged.
- Gallbladder Problem
Some of the early indications of a gallbladder problem are bloating, belching, heartburn, burping, and gas. You may also suffer from headaches, notice stomach flu symptoms, or not digest your foodstuffs properly. The advanced symptoms of this disease include chronic bad breath, foul body odor, chalky stool, dark colored urine, chills, shivering, fever, or excessive bowel movements on a daily basis.
Many patients who face gallbladder problems are advised to get their gallbladder removed, in order to eliminate their symptoms. You can also eat a balanced diet with lots of water to avoid the symptoms of this illness. Furthermore, you should not consume certain foods that trigger its symptoms, including pork, spicy foods, fatty meats, seeds, cauliflower, eggs, and corn.
- Celiac Disease
This condition can cause constipation, loose stools, and abdominal bloating and pain in patients who consume gluten rich products. Celiac disease patients can also experience epilepsy, rash, delayed puberty, tooth enamel loss, anemia, depression, osteoporosis, and fertility problems stemming from this illness.
If you have celiac disease, then you should not eat gluten rich foods, such as oats, barley, rye, wheat, etc. If you avoid these foods, then your symptoms will certainly calm within a couple of days. However, if you have already too severe damaged intestines, then you may have to take IV nutritional supplements.
- Early Pregnancy
Pregnant women may suffer from loose stools, which are generally caused by dietary changes, hormonal fluctuations, and eating prenatal vitamins.
Pregnant women should avoid dried fruits, spicy foods, and milk products, as well as increase their intake of starchy foods, such as potatoes, lean meat, or bananas, which can help avoid the symptoms of loose bowels. Ensure that you consume enough fluids, so as not to get dehydrated. However, you must see a doctor right away, if you notice blood or mucus in your stool or if your symptoms continue for more than 3 days.
- Lactose Problem
Lactose problems can be caused due to eating dairy products. Nearly after half an hour to two hours of consuming these substances, you can experience pain, cramps, gurgling or rumbling sounds in your belly, bloating, throwing up, gas, diarrhea, or loose stools.
Lactose intolerance cannot be cured, but its symptoms can be prevented by avoiding dairy products and further replacing them with soy, lactose free, and other non-dairy substances. Some people can eat dairy foods such as yogurt that comprises of live cultures, but some people cannot. Therefore, you must experiment with different foodstuffs, in order to know about the foods that are appropriate for your body. You can also take supplements, eat lots of green leafy vegetables, or consume foods that are fortified with calcium, so that your body gets enough calcium.
- Other Causes
Loose bowels can also be caused by food poisoning, which can result from contaminated foods that contain toxins, viruses, or bacteria. Furthermore, consumption of drinks that contain plenty of caffeine and spicy, greasy, or fatty foods can also cause inflammation, in turn leading to loose stools.
There are also some other indications that point towards a urinary tract infection. Generally, children can get loose bowels when they eat poorly, experience fever for a long period of time, become irritable, or face loose stools, an urination pattern change, or a bowel control lack. Moreover, not consuming a roughage rich diet, food poisoning, anxiety, or certain medications can also lead to loose bowels.