Diarrhea in adults is very common. And let’s face it, there is no good time for the dreaded d word to strike. But why do adults get diarrhea in the first place? Let’s take a look at a few of the culprits.
Unfamiliar or Unwanted Microorganisms
Maybe you tried out that new taco truck in the parking lot at work or perhaps you were exposed to a sick coworker. When we are exposed to unfamiliar or unwanted microorganisms, often times, diarrhea is the natural immune response that follows – the body is trying to rid itself of those pesky, unfamiliar intruders. Unfortunately, that means your body is also ridding itself of fluids, electrolytes, and good bacteria.
It should come as no surprise that stress, chronic or acute, can cause diarrhea. Maybe you have an upcoming public speaking gig, or you’ve finally nailed down a meeting with your boss to ask for that raise. Whatever the circumstances, stress and anxiety can lead to a range of symptoms including insomnia, diarrhea, constipation, and nausea.
There are a number of medications that can cause uncomfortable side effects like diarrhea. Most doctors and pharmacists will point out these side effects before you begin taking your medication. If you think a medication may be the culprit of your diarrhea, it’s always best to talk with your doctor.
Allergies & Intolerances
Have you noticed that every time you have ice cream, you feel a little off? Or maybe you just can’t eat those spicy enchiladas you used to love so much as a kid without running to the bathroom shortly after. Either way, if dairy, gluten, or any other type of food is giving you gas, diarrhea, bloating, or indigestion, don’t ignore it. Your health care provider can help determine if you might be experiencing these symptoms as a result of an intolerance or allergy.
How Can Adults Stop Diarrhea?
There are many ways adults can stop diarrhea. The goal is to tackle the symptoms early to prevent more serious complications later on. Some easy solutions include:
Change your diet.
If you know specific foods or foods groups upset your stomach, search for alternatives. Additionally, stay away from potential triggers like artificial sweeteners, caffeine, alcohol, greasy foods, fiber-rich foods, and spicy foods. When you do get diarrhea, try eating small meals throughout the day that include bland, easily digestible foods.
As your body is getting rid of nasty intruders, it’s also getting rid of all those healthy electrolytes and fluids that are keeping your intestines working at optimal levels. To replace those, take small sips of water, coconut water, decaf tea, clear broth or oral rehydration solutions. Avoid excess sugar and caffeine, as these can potentially worsen symptoms.
If stress is a major player in your day-to-day, consider finding a few methods to relax. From meditation to exercise, there are numerous ways to escape stress for a few minutes each day. Go for a walk, write in a journal, or just kick back and listen to a favorite song. A small change can make a big difference.
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