Dealing with chronic diarrhea is, let’s face it — annoying and uncomfortable. You’re always worried about when the next attack will happen. And, you might avoid going anywhere as a result. Besides getting enough rest and fluids, there is something else you can do to help deal with this problem, especially if it’s chronic. If you tend to have diarrhea on a regular basis, you should consider staying away from these five foods that are known to cause chronic diarrhea:
1. Dairy Products
It can be hard to give up food items such as milk, cheese, and ice cream. But if you have chronic diarrhea, you might not have a choice. Many people are lactose intolerant. This means you have an allergy to lactose, a type of sugar found in most dairy products. Your body can’t digest lactose, and you may have diarrhea as a result.1 If you don’t want to ditch dairy completely, you might be able to take lactase enzyme products before you eat. That could help prevent another attack. There are also lactose-free dairy products you could try.
2. Foods With Wheat Flour
You’ve probably heard of lactose intolerance before. But you might not know about “wheat intolerance.” This is basically a problem some people have with gluten, a protein found in wheat. It’s commonly found in foods such as pasta, bread, and cereal.2 People with gluten intolerance are at a high risk of celiac disease.3 You might need to follow a gluten-free diet, which includes food such as fish, fruits, meats, and vegetables. There are also gluten-free breads and pastas available.
3. Greasy, Fatty Foods
If you indulge in greasy, fatty foods on a regular basis, you might suffer diarrhea as a result. Eating high-fat foods can cause digestive problems.4 Your doctor might recommend you try a more bland diet, to see if that clears up your symptoms. This type of diet includes foods such as rice, potatoes, and bananas. Bananas provide potassium, an essential mineral that you may lose during a bout of diarrhea.5
4. Foods High in Fiber
You might assume that fiber is good for your digestion, and in most instances, it is. But if you consume too much fiber, you might be at a higher risk for developing diarrhea. There are a lot of foods that contain insoluble fiber, which is a type of fiber we can’t digest. But even though we can’t digest it, insoluble fiber is still important. It helps add bulk to stools and helps them pass through the intestines.6 Corn, broccoli, and cauliflower contain this type of fiber.
But when you eat too much of these foods and you quickly increase your intake of insoluble fiber, that can cause issues. The reason is that food is moving too fast through your digestive tract. Your stools don’t have time to bulk up, and remain loose as a result. Loose stools are closely associated with diarrhea.8
Talk to your doctor about whether fiber could be contributing to your problem. They might recommend that you cut back on the high-fiber foods for a few weeks, to see if that helps.
5. Spicy Foods
It would seem obvious that spicy foods might trigger a bout of diarrhea. Foods with a “kick” to them can irritate the lining of the stomach and intestines. This may lead to digestive issues, including diarrhea.7 While eating spicy foods can be a great culinary experience, consider cutting back a bit. You might even need to switch to a bland diet for a while, to see if that relieves the problem.
The Bottom Line
If you are experiencing diarrhea on a regular basis, it will be critically important that you speak with your doctor as soon as possible. You could become dehydrated due to a loss of fluids, and that could be extremely dangerous. Your doctor will work with you to help determine the possible cause of your problem and come up with a plan to address it. Also, always seek medical advice first before making any sort of sweeping changes to your diet.
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