Loose stools, or simply known as loose motion, are bowel movements that typically appear softer than normal. These stools are more watery, and appear shapeless. Sometimes, they may have a strong odor as well.
There are many causes of loose stools. Generally, they happen after eating something; however, they can happen throughout the day in the case of severe infections.
Loose stools symptoms:
Common loose stools symptoms include:
- Watery stools
- Shapeless stools
- Appear mushy or soft
In some cases, you may also have other symptoms, such as:
- Abdominal pain
- Abdominal cramps
Note: It is important to understand the differences between loose stools and diarrhea. If you are diagnosed with diarrhea, you may experience loose stools repeatedly. If you experience loose motion rarely, it is not considered diarrhea. If you pass loose stools several times a day, you have diarrhea.
If you are wondering how to stop loose stools, you need to identify the underlying cause. Consult a general doctor to receive appropriate treatment.
Causes of loose stools:
There are many different causes of loose motion. They are:
- Some kinds of food & drinks
As mentioned, few food groups can cause loose stools temporarily. They include:
- Oily/ spicy foods
- Food poisoning
Food poisoning is caused by dangerous bacteria or viruses being present in the food that we consume. You may also experience other symptoms, such as abdominal pain, cramps, and nausea,
Certain supplements can also cause loose motion. Medicines that have too much magnesium, laxatives, and a few antibiotics can trigger loose stools.
- Lactose intolerance
If you are intolerant to lactose, then you may experience loose motion from time to time. Individuals with lactose intolerance do not have the enzyme lactase to break down dairy. Thus, consuming dairy products can cause loose stools.
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Loose stools are common symptoms of IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome. It is a condition that affects your large intestine. Other symptoms of IBS include:
- Abdominal cramps
- Stomach pain
- Flatulence (Gas)
Hyperthyroidism affects your metabolism. Individuals with hyperthyroidism often pass loose stools from time to time. They may also experience other symptoms, such as:
- Thin hair and brittle nails
- Weight loss
- Sleep issues
- Irritability/ Restlessness
Other than the above-mentioned causes, there are other reasons for loose stools as well. They include:
- Ulcerative Colitis (UC)
- Celiac disease
- Dumping syndrome
- Crohn’s disease
- Bile acid malabsorption
If any of the above-mentioned causes or conditions seem familiar to you, visit your nearest general doctor/ clinic immediately. It is best to get your symptoms checked to accurately diagnose the underlying cause.
With the ongoing pandemic, it is understandable to be wary of stepping into hospital premises to get yourself checked. You must strictly follow safety guidelines to avoid the chances of getting infected by the novel coronavirus. Wear a mask and sanitize your hands regularly when you are outside, and follow social distancing.
If you or someone you know are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, perform the RT PCR test at home to understand your health status better!