17 Common causes of diarrhea

Diarrhea is the passing out loose, watery stool or the passing out of stool more frequently.

Causes of diarrhea

The common causes of diarrhea are;

  • Alcohol use – Alcohol use in some cases can speed up the rate of digestion and cause faster movement of food in the digestive system leading to passing out of the loose, watery stool.
  • Food allergy – People who are allergic to certain foods can have diarrhea whenever they consume it. The person will have diarrhea alongside other food allergy signs like nausea and vomiting.
  • Viral infection – A viral infection such as stomach flu or gastroenteritis is a common cause of diarrhea in most individuals. Rotavirus is also a very common cause of acute diarrhea in children.
  • Bacterial infection – A bacteria can enter your body through the consumption of contaminated food and cause diarrhea. Bacterial gastroenteritis is also a common cause of diarrhea.
  • Intestinal disease – An infection in the intestines can impair the digestive process and absorption of water into the body. This will cause a person to pass out a watery stool. Giardia infection is one of the intestinal infections that can cause diarrhea.
  • Parasitic infection – Giardia infection is a common parasitic infection in the intestines that can lead to diarrhea. It causes persistent diarrhea and is a very common cause of diarrhea in the United States.
  • Laxative abuse – Laxative abuse can cause chronic diarrhea in some cases. They cause too much contraction of the intestinal muscles thus causing faster movement of food in the intestines, allowing no time for absorption of water into the body.
  • Radiation therapy and chemotherapy – Chemotherapy and radiation therapy can also cause diarrhea if they kill nontarget, healthy cells in the intestines thus disrupting the absorption of fluids.
  • Some cancers – Colon cancer can cause passing out of the watery, loose stool.
  • Diabetes – High blood sugar in the body can destroy some of the nerves and also affect the digestive system thus causing a person to have diarrhea.
  • Overactive thyroid – Hyperthyroidism can cause sympathetic hyperstimulation in the gut thus causing increased motility which leads to diarrhea.
  • Medications – Use of some medications such as antibiotics, antidepressants, antacids, and proton pump inhibitors can cause diarrhea. These drugs can increase the contraction of the intestinal muscles or draw water into the gut thus causing diarrhea.
  • Running – Some people can get “runners diarrhea” during their workouts. The actual cause of this is not clear. This type of diarrhea usually lasts for less than 24 hours.
  • Food intolerance – A person with food intolerance such as lactose intolerance can have diarrhea if they consume it. These foods can activate the digestive system and cause contraction of intestinal muscles causing a person to pass out the watery stool.
  • Surgery on your digestive system – Surgery of the digestive system can impair the process of digestion in the system. This can impair the absorption of fluids into the body thus causing them to be passed out with stool.
  • Malabsorption – Malabsorption is a condition whereby certain nutrients are not absorbed into the body as required. This condition can cause diarrhea.
  • Artificial sweeteners – Consuming food with artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, saccharine, and sugar alcohols can disrupt the digestive system and thus cause diarrhea.


The above causes of diarrhea are very common and the only way to prevent diarrhea is by avoiding them.

What kind of virus gives you diarrhea?

The common viruses that can cause diarrhea include; Norwalk virus, cytomegalovirus and viral hepatitis. Rotavirus is also a common cause of diarrhea especially in children.

How long can a diarrhea virus last?

Diarrhea symptoms can usually last for 2 or 3 days but in some cases it can persist for almost 10 days.

When should you worry about diarrhea?

You should worry about diarrhea if you experience a high fever of over 102 degrees Fahrenheit, the diarrhea lasts for over 2 days, or you pass frequent stool for over 5 times in 24 hours.

Is it better to let diarrhea run its course?

Most people have said that its better to let diarrhea run its course but in some case if the diarrhea is severe there is need to see a doctor.

What should I eat if I have a watery stool?

It’s always advisable to take more fluids when you have a watery diarrhea and eating small meals throughout the day. A person can also eat some salty foods and high potassium foods.

What bacteria can cause diarrhea?

Several bacteria can cause diarrhea but the common bacteria that cause it are; campylobacter, Escherichia coli, Salmonella, and Shigella.

What is the most common bacterial cause of diarrhea in the US?

The common bacteria that cause diarrhea in United States are; Campylobacter, Salmonella, Shigella, and Escherichia coli.

How long is too long for diarrhea?

Diarrhea in most cases should last for 3 to 5 days but if it last =s for more than 4 to 6 weeks it will be too long for it.

What does giardia poop look like?

A person having giardia infection v=can have a watery, foul-smelling diarrhea or soft, greasy stools.

Can too much insulin give you diarrhea?

YES, excessive insulin use can cause diarrhea in some cases.

What drug gives you diarrhea?

Drugs that can cause diarrhea are; antibiotics, antidepressants, antacids, proton pump inhibitors, and chemotherapy medicines.

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