Diarrhea, a common complaint of many people is termed when the stools are abnormal, mostly loose and are accompanied with other gastric problems. Watery stools are not always termed as diarrhea and the causes of diarrhea are also many. Diarrhea after eating spicy food may be experienced commonly by many people. It is necessary to know the causes of diarrhea and how to prevent diarrhea after eating spicy food.

Usually, the spell of diarrhea remains for one to three days and alleviates normally. This condition accompanies other symptoms like nausea, stomach cramping, excessive sweating and stomach pain. Diarrhea can prove to be serious when the condition is accompanied with difficulty in breathing, chest pain, bloody stool and fever.

Causes of Diarrhea after Eating Spicy Food & Ways to Prevent it

What Causes of Diarrhea After Eating Spicy Food?

In some cases, dietary components are responsible for causing diarrhea. Diarrhea can be experienced if a person is allergic to food, food poisoning or spicy food stuffs. Diarrhea, in some may begin within few hours after eating the food, while in some it can occur after many hours. There are many people who complain of diarrhea after eating spicy food.

Spicy food results in more acid secretion, which actually stimulates heartburn, indigestion and loose stool in some people, while others can eat spicy food without facing any difficulty. Diarrhea after eating spicy food usually occurs due to the chemical composition of spicy food items, to which your body reacts in different ways. Some may feel irritation in stomach, indigestion while some may have loose stools or diarrhea after eating spicy food. Moreover, eating spicy foods for dinner can cause more trouble in most of the people.

According to the experts, the lining of the stomach gets irritated and inflamed if you eat spicy food and this causes diarrhea in people who are not regular spicy eaters.

Causes of Diarrhea after Eating Spicy Food

Many people complaint of diarrhea due to spicy food items. Here are some of the main causes of diarrhea after eating spicy food.

Irritation of Intestinal Lining - Spicy foods usually irritate the intestine and this causes diarrhea. As the pH level in spicy food is much higher compared to the bland foods, they are more acidic in nature. This tends to irritate the intestines, resulting in frequent loose stool and bowels in some people. When the spicy food item passes through intestines it makes them irritated and as a result the body sends the retained water to intestines to make it calm. The water mixes up with stool to dilute the irritation and results in watery stool.

Spicy Food Composition - After eating spicy food, people often experience burning sensation in the mouth and throat. This happens due to the chemical components that food comprises, like the capsaicin in cayenne peppers and chili peppers. The digestive system is not able to break down these strong components during the process of digestion and hence it causes irritation in the intestines and lining of the stomach. This results in loose and watery stools because the spicy food passes quickly through the digestive tract during the digestion process. These components present in the stools can also irritate the anus while coming out and this is the reason why most of the people experience burning sensation during bowels and diarrhea after eating spicy food.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome – Irritable bowel syndrome is one of the commonest causes of diarrhea after eating spicy food and many people complain of it. This is the most common condition where the muscles and nerves in bowels become more sensitive than usual to certain foods like spicy foods and hence it causes diarrhea, bloating, abdominal pain and more. This is not a serious ailment and can be controlled using home remedies and other treatments.

Food Allergies – People with food allergies may be at increased risk of experiencing diarrhea due to various food items and can also have diarrhea after eating spicy food. Some people are allergic to specific spices or other food stuffs, which increases their sensitivity and makes them more prone to intestinal irritation.

Other Disorders - People who have gastrointestinal problems, like indigestion, hyperacidity, gastro-esophageal reflux disorder (GERD), peptic ulcers, etc. may experience more problems and cause diarrhea after eating spicy food. This is mainly because their gastric mucosa and the gastrointestinal system is oversensitive and spicy foods irritates the inner lining, which results in various abdominal symptoms including diarrhea after eating spicy food. Certain gastric infections too can cause diarrhea after eating spicy foods and must be evaluated if accompanied with other serious complaints like fever or blood in stools.

Ways to Prevent Diarrhea after Eating Spicy Food

To prevent diarrhea after eating spicy foods, it is important to understand your dietary pattern and modify your lifestyle to suit your health. If you like spicy food but have trouble after eating it, go for it once in a while but make sure you have enough to neutralize the acidic content in it. Increase water intake and regularly take soothing foods like milk, fresh fruits like banana and eat healthy. Take dinner early and avoid heavily spiced or seasoned foods late at night. Regular exercise and physical activity also helps to tone muscles, which can improve immunity and aid better digestion.

Tips to Prevent Diarrhea after Eating Spicy Foods

  • Spicy foods are acidic in nature and hence to neutralize the spiciness you must consume food that is alkaline. This will prevent the spicy food to have adverse effect on the lining of the intestine. The spiciness in the food can be neutralized by eating foods with basic pH like sour cream, buttermilk, yoghurt and cream cheese.
  • Lemon is considered to be acidic when not consumed. But, once it enters the body it changes into alkaline in nature, especially when it is metabolized inside the system completely. So, drinking lemon juice after spicy foods can neutralize the spiciness of the food before it enters the intestine and help to prevent diarrhea after eating spicy food.
  • To neutralize the pH of acidic spicy food, you can eat bread or rice gruel. You can incorporate these foods into your diet after you eat spicy food. However, eating oily foods and greasy foods should be avoided as it can increase the frequency of bowels during diarrhea.
  • Water is helpful and hence you must prefer drinking plenty of water prior to eating spicy food. Water will dilute all the stomach content and it will decrease the irritation in the lining of the intestines and can provide relief from diarrhea after eating spicy food.
  • If you are prone to experiencing diarrhea after every spicy indulgence, then restricting its limit and frequency would help you greatly. Moreover, you must eat more fruits and vegetables prior to or after eating spicy foods.
  • Food allergies must be known and the specific foodstuff or a spice causing diarrhea should be avoided.

Diarrhea after eating spicy food is a complaint that needs assessment with their dietary preference and the capacity to eat spicy food. Some people get used to it over time and the complaint fades away, while for some it may progress into more troublesome problem. With these tips on how to prevent diarrhea after eating spicy food, it may be easy to manage the condition, however, if symptoms persists, it is advisable to seek medical opinion.

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:


Last Modified On: October 12, 2016

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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