In my practice as a gut health dietitian I love talking about poop! On Instagram @AndreaHardyRD, I talk all about the diarrhea basics!
Did you know there are different types of diarrhea? 💩
Some types of diarrhea include:
1️⃣ Watery diarrhea (when water is drawn into the bowels, making the stools loose)
2️⃣ Inflammatory diarrhea (often related to inflammatory conditions like IBD or diverticulitis)
3️⃣ Malabsorptive diarrhea (when fat is not properly absorbed)
The type of diarrhea can often give us a clue as to what might be causing it. Some of the different causes of diarrhea include IBS, IBD, celiac disease, diverticulitis, bile acid malabsorption, GI infections, SIBO and lactose intolerance.
Because there are so many different types of diarrhea, there are a number of different strategies we can use to get your guts back on track. Keep in mind, not all strategies will work for everyone – sometimes a bit of trial and error is required!
Here are 5 basic strategies for managing diarrhea:
-Adequate hydration. Hydration is KEY when managing diarrhea. While it won’t necessarily improve symptoms, it’s important to replace the fluid that’s being lost through stools. Replacing electrolytes can be key as well – this includes sodium, potassium, and magnesium)
-Soluble fibre. Increasing soluble fibre in certain types of diarrhea can be a great way to firm up loose stools – especially watery or malabsorptive diarrhea. Soluble fibre acts as a sponge for excess water in the bowels. Sources of soluble fibre include psyllium, chia, and oats.
-Reduce roughage. Roughage refers to the insoluble fibre found in foods like wheat bran, leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds and fruits with the skin on. While the fibre in these foods is generally considered healthy, it can speed up how quickly things move through your bowels. Noticing indigested skins in your stool? Temporarily reducing these foods in your diet can help.
-Limit gut stimulants like coffee, spice and alcohol. These foods can irritate the gut lining, leading to cramping and loose stools.
-Limit high fructose and high lactose foods. These foods can pull water into the bowels, leading to loose stools.
The takeaway? Different strategies work for different people, depending on the type of diarrhea you’re dealing with.