Explosive diarrhea can be very uncomfortable and unpleasant for the person experiencing it. Diarrhea itself can trouble the person due to having to go to the washroom often, and explosive diarrhea creates more trouble for the person as he feels an urgency to use the washroom.
What’s explosive diarrhea?
Before knowing about explosive diarrhea, let us understand stool and diarrhea first. Our food is digested in the stomach and small intestine. During digestion, many fluids and secretions are released into the gut to facilitate digestion. The majority of nutrients are absorbed into the body in the small intestine. The fluids in the food are absorbed in the large intestine.
Later whatever food is not absorbed into the body is released outside like stool or faeces. Stool contains carbohydrates, fat, fibre, protein and liquids which are not absorbed into the body.
Diarrhea is the passage of liquid stools compared to normal or passing more stools per day or passing more volume of stool than usual. In explosive diarrhea, the affected person passes stool with more pressure or force and passes stool more frequently than normal diarrhea. Explosive diarrhea is a type of violent or loud diarrhea that is caused mainly due to gas buildup inside the rectum.
What causes explosive diarrhea?
There are many different causes of explosive diarrhea. Most of the causes are due to some or other form of infection. But, sometimes explosive poop or explosive bowel movements can also be caused due to bowel inflammatory disorders and food allergies. Let us explore them below.
Sometimes when you consume food from outside or food handled by people having any bacterial infections, you can become prone to bacterial infections like Escherichia coli or E.coli, Salmonella, Shigella, etc. These bacteria can colonize your gut and lead to explosive diarrhea. So, you should be very careful when eating food outside.
Along with viruses and bacteria, parasites like Giardia lamblia and Cryptosporidium can infect you if you happen to drink contaminated water or eat contaminated foods and cause explosive diarrhoea or explosive bowel movements.
If you have the habit of going trekking or camping, etc, you should be very careful when drinking water. You should carry your water and avoid drinking untreated water to prevent catching these infections.
Explosive diarrhea can be caused by infection of the gut with viruses like Rotavirus. These viruses can be spread from one person to the other in places where there is overcrowding of the people like hospitals, clinics, schools, child care centres, etc.
Allergic reactions to food:
If you have certain food allergies or cannot tolerate certain foods, you can be susceptible to develop explosive diarrhea if you ingest such foods to which you are allergic. In people who have lactose intolerance, consumption of lactose-containing foods like milk can lead to explosive poop.
If you have celiac disease, eating gluten-containing foods like wheat, refined flour, barley, rye can give rise to explosive bowel movements or explosive diarrhea after eating foods.
Some people are allergic or intolerant to sugars like fructose, mannitol and sorbitol. They can have explosive diarrhea after eating these sugars.
Bowel or gut diseases:
In certain gut disorders like Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), there can be malabsorption of food substances leading to explosive diarrhea. Have you ever heard of Crohn’s disease? Both Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative colitis are part of IBD or Inflammatory bowel disease.
Your gut can have a malabsorption problem if you have certain diseases like celiac disease, lactose intolerance, Whipple’s disease, cystic fibrosis, etc. In such disorders, as the gut is unable to absorb certain constituents of food, you can have explosive diarrhea or explosive poop when you happen to consume these foods. Malabsorption problems can also occur if you have any chronic liver disorders or suffer from certain types of cancer.
Drug or medicines side effects:
We all might have experienced diarrhea after using antibiotics at some or other point in our life. Do you know why the usage of antibiotics causes explosive diarrhea? Antibiotics destroy the helpful or good bacteria in the gut or gut flora along with the harmful bacteria that is causing infection.
Generally, these gut florae prevent the proliferation of bad bacteria in the gut. But as antibiotics destroy gut flora, there is an increase in the number of harmful bacteria in the gut like Clostridium difficile, etc which cause antibiotic-associated diarrhea.
Several antibiotics like Penicillin, Amoxicillin, Ampicillin, Cephalosporins, Ciprofloxacin, etc damage healthy gut bacteria and lead to explosive diarrhea.
Intake of Proton pump inhibitors or PPI medicines like omeprazole, Pantoprazole, etc can also lead to explosive poop. Some people tend to take laxatives more often to get relief from constipation. But, this can lead to explosive bowel movements.
Excess intake of fibre containing foods:
If you did not have the habit of taking high fibre containing foods like fruits, vegetables, etc and you started using them more now, these fibre containing foods cannot be absorbed from the gut. So, there can be sudden expulsion of these foods in stools along with the formation of gas leading to explosive diarrhea. Your body will get adjusted to fibre rich foods eventually.
Amyloidosis is the accumulation of an abnormal type of protein called amyloid protein in different parts of your body like the gut, joints, etc. There is rapid movement or transit of food through the gut in people with Amyloidosis leading to explosive diarrhea.
People with Amyloidosis can suffer from many other symptoms like weakness, fatigue or tiredness, joint pains, decreased appetite or hunger, decreased haemoglobin or anaemia, loss of weight, tongue swelling, skin colour changes, etc.
Explosive diarrhea Treatment/How to stop explosive diarrhea?
Explosive diarrhea caused by infections mostly resolves on its own in 1 to 3 days. If it’s not reducing in 3 days, you need to consult your physician for further treatment and evaluation. When you have explosive diarrhea, you need to keep yourself hydrated well. You need to drink lots of water and take oral rehydration solutions.
You need to take sufficient rest. This enables the body to recuperate from the weakness caused by diarrhea. You need to avoid taking foods with excess sugars, fats and also avoid dairy containing products like milk when having diarrhea as they aggravate explosive diarrhea.
But, you can take yoghurt or curd as it contains helpful bacteria like lactobacilli which help in repairing the damaged gut. You can take probiotics to heal the gut.
If your explosive diarrhea is caused by bacteria or parasites like giardia, you can experience fever, chills, or have blood or mucus in the stool. In such cases, you need to take antibiotics or anti-parasitic drugs based on the type of infection you have after getting your physician’s prescription.
If you have prolonged explosive diarrhea that lasts for 15 days or more, you need to be evaluated for causes like IBD, IBS by your physician.
If you have an intolerance to any foods like gluten-containing foods or lactose-containing foods, try to avoid taking such foods to prevent explosive diarrhea.