Liquid Poop – Causes

Liquid poop can be caused by varied reasons and most of them trigger a temporary case of loose watery stools. Severe instances of liquid poop are uncommon and are marked by long-term disturbances in bowel movements and prolonged changes in consistency and shape of stool.

Liquid poop is usually harmless and short-term and hence medical treatment is not needed. Patients may opt for home remedies and self-care to alleviate symptoms. However, chronic instances of liquid stools need to be checked by a doctor for underlying causative conditions/factors and then treated accordingly.

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Causes of liquid poop

Some of the common causes of liquid poop along with associated symptoms are mentioned below:

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  1. Food allergy/intolerance
  • The condition of food intolerance refers to inability of the intestines to process and digest certain kinds of foods. In affected people, such foods remain as solutes in the gut. They seep in water and hence prevent water absorption by the large intestine, a critical element for occurrence of solid stools.
  • Lactose intolerance is the most widespread type of food intolerance. It is caused due to deficiency of lactase enzyme in the body and its inability to break down sugars that naturally occur in dairy and milk.
  • Food allergy also caused liquid poop and symptoms similar to food intolerance; but the two are different. Allergic reactions to presence of certain foods in the bowels are triggered due to adverse immune system reaction. It may or may not be linked to enzyme deficits that cause accumulation of unprocessed nutrients in bowels.
  1. Malabsorption syndromes
  • Diseases or other problems of the bowels may prevent the gut from absorbing nutrients from consumed food. Such dysfunction of the bowels is termed as malabsorption syndrome. It can have genetic causes, or may be triggered by a preexisting inflammatory bowel disorder. When the bowels experience inflammation for prolonged periods, then it is not able to properly absorb all food nutrients.
  • Fructose malabsorption is a common type of malabsorption syndrome. In this patients’ bodies are unable to absorb fruit sugars which stay undigested and trigger varied bowel problems, including liquid poop.
  1. Infections of gastrointestinal system
  • Gastrointestinal infections is one of the most prevalent causes of liquid poop. Gastroenteritis is a type of gastrointestinal viral infection that lasts for a short time and causes increased watery poop/diarrhea, vomiting, and severe pain in abdomen. Continuance of symptoms for more than 2-3 days and/or occurrence of bloody stools may signify a severe infection that needs to be immediately checked by a doctor.
  • Persistent infections of gut with chronic liquid poop are typically seen in persons with weakened immune systems. It can also affect people with normal immune system if there is abuse of antibiotics. Chronic bowel infections-induced liquid poop caused by long-term and/or frequent use of antibiotics is termed as antibiotic associated diarrhea.
  1. Bowel function problems
  • Unlike malabsorption syndrome which are triggered by inflammation or other problems of the gut, bowel function issues refer to underactive or overactive bowel functioning. It means that the bowels functions may be abnormally reduced or elevated.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS is one of the most common types of bowel function condition. The condition is characterized by rapid food transit across gut, which is what causes liquid poop. Patients may also suffer from cramps in abdomen due to spasms of the gut wall muscles.
  1. Digestive system conditions
  • Diseases and other defects of different organs of the digestive system can also cause liquid poop among varied other health problems.
  • Some conditions known to cause loose watery stools include hepatitis, pancreatitis, and gallstones, etc.
  1. Bowel disorders
  • Persistent and chronic instances of bowel conditions, like celiac disease and inflammatory bowel disease, can adversely affect the bowels’ ability to digest nutrients. This can cause water accumulation in gut and faster food passage across the bowels, thereby limiting the ability of large intestine to absorb water and triggering liquid poop.
  • Patients may also experience symptoms like bloody stool, mucus in stool, etc.
  1. Certain foods
  • Consuming foods like chili, different spices, etc., can irritate the gut walls and trigger mild case of liquid poop.
  • Overeating normal food can also result in loose bowel movements.
  • Eating a diet abundant in processed foods, refined foods, and junk foods, etc. with low or nil quantities of vegetables or fruits often causes liquid poop. Food-induced loose stools can be easily recognized as the symptoms often occur just after the intake of such foods.
  1. Mental issues
  • Depression, excessive stress, and anxiety can cause varied bowel problems like elevated bowel motility, gut function disturbances, and nutrient and water absorption issues, which may eventually cause temporary and mild instance of liquid poop.
  1. Other causes
  • Intake of water and food contaminated by virus, bacteria, parasites, or other germs can cause gut infections and trigger loose bowel movements
  • Abuse of antibiotics can destroy good bacteria in gut and disturb intestinal flora, thereby causing loose stools. Other medications can also cause liquid poop as a side effect (side effects are listed on label).
  • Depending on tolerance of individuals, use of illegal drugs or alcohol abuse may also cause temporary liquid poop.
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