Picture: Derneuemann 

Diarrhea is unpleasant, uncomfortable, and unwanted, but it’s also incredibly common. Most people will experience loose and watery stools, classified as diarrhea, at least a few times a year. However, knowing why it happens may allow you to take preventative measures or at least alert you to what you can expect. Below are some of the most common causes of diarrhea. 

A Virus

You may start looking for remedies for diarrhea when you are struck down by a virus, which also goes by the name of stomach flu or intestinal flu. One of the most common symptoms associated with a virus, like gastroenteritis, is diarrhea. However, those with a virus may also suffer from vomiting, stomach pain, cramps, headache, fever, and nausea. A trip to the doctor may be necessary for a diagnosis, especially if the diarrhea lasts for more than a few days. 

Food Allergies

If you’re suffering from a food allergy or intolerance, one of the ways it presents itself is in diarrhea. The body responds in different ways, depending on the food you have an intolerance to. For example, if you are allergic to nuts, fish, eggs, peanuts, or soy, the gastrointestinal reaction is to neutralize the irritant. It does this by causing abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. 

An Inflammatory Bowel Disease

If you have an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), such as Crohn’s disease, diarrhea is a common symptom. This disease affects the digestive tract due to a defective immune system and causes diarrhea, abdominal pain, weight loss, and sometimes bloody stools. The more severe the condition, the more severe the symptoms. IBD affects around three million Americans, and the cause is unknown. 

Food Poisoning

Around 48 million Americans are struck down by food poisoning every year, with salmonella proving to be the most prevalent cause. Diarrhea is a common symptom of food poisoning because the inflammation your body is experiencing causes your bowel to be less effective at reabsorbing the fluids you consume. Food poisoning can be minor or severe. However, given how easy it is to become dehydrated by diarrhea, seeing a medical professional may be necessary.

Alcohol Abuse

Many people experience diarrhea after drinking alcohol to excess. The reasons why that happens may surprise you. During regular bowel movements, your colon muscles move in coordinated squeezes to push the stool out. Drinking large volumes of alcohol speeds up these squeezes, which results in the colon being unable to absorb water before a bowel movement. Your stool then comes out quickly and with extra water. 

Medication Use

Most medications come with a booklet outlining the common and uncommon side effects that are possible to experience. Sometimes, diarrhea is one of them. Antibiotics are known to destroy some bacteria types and allow others to grow too much. As a result, you may experience watery and sometimes even bloody diarrhea, known as pseudomembranous colitis. 

In most situations, diarrhea will disappear in just a few days with a few different remedies. However, it’s essential to watch your condition closely. Depending on the severity of the diarrhea and what caused it, some conditions may call for doctor visits to rule out any severe conditions that could be to blame.