Diarrhea is quite common, but never a welcome issue. While most cases of diarrhea aren’t cause for serious concern or medical intervention, some common side effects can occur. Read on to learn about five of the most common side effects of diarrhea, and how to reduce them.
5 Common Side Effects of Diarrhea
Dehydration & Fatigue
Fatigue is one of the most common side effects of diarrhea and usually stems from dehydration. Diarrhea can cause you to lose liquids quickly, which can lead to dehydration. Fatigue is one of the main symptoms, along with a dry mouth, increased thirst, light-headedness, and decreased urination.
Dehydration can potentially be very serious, so it’s important to immediately start hydrating upon the onset of diarrhea with pure water, coconut water (no added sugars), or a store-bought or homemade electrolyte drink. If symptoms of dehydration persist, call your doctor.
It’s not uncommon for diarrhea and constipation to come hand in hand. You might experience diarrhea and then immediately become constipated, or vice versa. This often happens for those who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), but can occur in other instances, too. If your shift between diarrhea and constipation is due to IBS or another medical condition, it will be key to work with a doctor to uncover the cause.
Diarrhea is often accompanied by bloating, but bloat can often be prevented by avoiding foods known to further agitate the digestive system. To help prevent bloating during a bout of diarrhea, skip foods that are greasy, spicy, or high in refined flours and sugars. Sticking with gentle and easy-to-digest foods such as broths and broth-based soups, bananas, and unsweetened applesauce can make a big difference.
Diarrhea accompanied by back pain may be a sign of something more serious. Peptic ulcers and appendicitis are two conditions that are known to cause both back pain and diarrhea, often together. However, many other causes can also bring on diarrhea with back pain, including food poisoning, traveler’s diarrhea, or any bout of diarrhea that is also accompanied by cramping. Back pain and cramping can be relieved by a heating pad or a hot Epsom salt bath.
As always, if diarrhea or any symptoms of diarrhea are also accompanied by black, tarry or bloody stool, a high fever, dehydration, or if symptoms persist for more than 24 hours, it’s always best to check in with your doctor.