11 Causes of Loose Stools & Ways to Deal With it

What can be worse than a date which never went out the way you had imagined? Well you are right, acute indigestion caused from your previous night’s food intake forcing you to stay locked inside the washroom for hours. Loose stools or inconsistent bowel movements are softer in texture than normal and in cases can even be shapeless, mushy or watery. And if you are really going through one of those hard luck phases, then your loose stool might even be accompanied with foul odour. The following details focus on the facts as to what to do the next time you find yourself in such a soup:-

11 Causes of Loose Stools & Ways to Deal With it

11 Causes of Loose Stool

Nothing happens without a reason. This also holds true in the case of loose stools. Following are some of the causes of loose stools that one needs to be careful about:-

#1. Food and Drinks – Coffee is known to stimulate intestinal muscles whereas spicy and oily foods can cause stomach irritation. Some other risky foods which can pave the way for mushy stools are fructose, alcohol and sugar alcohols.

#2. Infections and Food Poisoning – Parasites, viruses or bacteria can cause food poisoning and loose stools can heighten the level of such infections. Other symptoms include vomiting, fever, nausea and stomach cramps.

#3. Lactose Intolerance – People suffering from lactose intolerance don’t have enough supply of lactose enzyme in their body which is necessary for breaking down dairy and might fall prey to loose stools much more easily.

#4. Supplements and Medications – Consuming magnesium or laxative supplements can affect bowel movements. Additionally chemotherapy and intake of antibiotics are also known to have positive links with loose stools.

#5. Ulcerative Colitis – This chronic disorder might cause inflammation in the digestive system opening the floodgate for loose stools and a bevy of associated discomforts in the form of rectal bleeding, pain, fatigue, fever, cramps and weight loss.

#6. Irritable Bowel Syndrome – IBS which is known to adversely affect our intestine can lay the stepping stone for both diarrhea and loose stools apart from causing stomach pain, constipation, gas, cramps and bloating.

#7. Bile Acid Malabsorption – This occurs when our body fails to reabsorb acids secreted by gallbladder leading to tummy irritation and loose stools. You can detect bile acid malabsorption if you suffer from gas, cramps, pain and bloating of stomach.

#8. Celiac Disease – This autoimmune condition diminishes our body’s ability to process the gluten content in food thus causing uncontrolled bowel movements. Other symptoms are pain, constipation, headaches, weight loss, bloating, fatigue, cramping etc.

#9. Dumping Syndrome – This is common amongst people who have undergone gastric or weight loss surgery. They are prone to loose stools as food cannot move rapidly through their small intestine. Other symptoms are sweating, stomach cramps or pain, dizziness, nausea, feeling flushed, vomiting, feeling full even after taking small helpings and fast heartbeat.

#10. Hyperthyroidism – Loose stool might receive a positive stimulus from thyroxine hormone which is secreted all the lot more when our thyroid becomes overactive. Hyperthyroidism is also known to adversely affect our body’s metabolism and brings in sleep disorders, weight loss, anxiety, tremors, irritability, fast heartbeat and thin skin and hair.

#11. Crohn’s Disease – This chronic ailment affects the digestive tract and might usher in loose stools along with lack of appetite, fatigue, gas, stomach pain or cramps, fever, nausea, bloating and vomiting.

Symptoms of Loose Stools

You should search for the following signs which signify that you are suffering from loose stools: Shapeless stools, soft or mushy stools, watery stools, and gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, stomach pain, stomach cramps

Loose Stools Vs Chronic Loose Stools

Loose stools might result from chronic illness or unhealthy eating habits. For curing the same we need to demarcate between the two.

Loose Stools: If loose stools occur after eating something which did not settle well with our system then it shall not persist for a long span of time. Lactose intolerance, food poisoning or infections might fuel loose stools associated with unhealthy eating. Drinking excessive coffee or taking in magnesium rich and oily food can also usher in the loose stools syndrome.

Chronic Loose Stools: Chronic loose stools on the other hand can carry on for weeks. Thus you can easily differentiate between the two by keeping track of how long the associated symptoms last. In very rare cases, does one experience chronic loose stools.

Risks and Complications of Loose Stools

Dehydration: Dehydration might result straight out of loose or watery stools since a lot of our body’s water content flows out. Thus it is advisable to drink plenty of fluids for staying hydrated.

Malnutrition: Malnutrition can also come along as a grave side-effect since our body loses out on all the essential minerals, vitamins and other nutrients every time we flush it down the commode. If such be the case then you should seek out for medical help immediately.

Loose stool is a very common disease which can barge upon our life unannounced and does not discriminate between age, race or gender. However people suffering from chronic health hazards such as Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, bile acid malabsorption, dumping syndrome, celiac disease, hyperthyroidism and ulcerative colitis stand much more vulnerable to loose stools than others.

Do I Need to Consult a Physician?

If loose tools occur as a temporary phenomenon, then it is most likely that it shall get cured on its own. But if the symptoms keep on worsening then you should not delay visiting the physician any further. It is mandatory to seek expert medical help if you experience any of the following:

  • Weight loss
  • Confusion
  • Chronic loose stools
  • Bloody diarrhoea
  • High fever
  • Chills
  • Fast heart rate
  • Fainting or dizziness
  • Severe stomach cramps
  • Severe dehydration

Ways to Deal with Loose Stools

Health specialists might come up with various recommendations starting from increasing the fiber intake to changing the diet completely for treating loose stools. You might even be prescribed anti-diarrheal medications depending upon the situation.

Immediate treatments to put a cork on loose stools include:

  • Consuming more fiber
  • Adding honey to the diet
  • Taking anti-diarrhoeal medications
  • Avoiding drinks and foods which act as triggers
  • Staying hydrated

Long-term treatments of loose stools include:

  • Adjusting supplements and medications
  • Taking probiotics
  • Making dietary changes
  • Discovering and treating medical conditions causing loose stools


Loose stools might take up a chronic form if not treated on time. Thus one needs to be highly cautious the next time you fall prey to its clasps. And in case you are not confident about implementing the home remedies then don’t think twice before giving your house physician a call.

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:March 14, 2018

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