“Hey, Lena! I often get acute diarrhea and my stomach becomes dysfunctional after almost every meal, which stresses me a lot every time I plan to eat with others. If I am on my own, I feel like I can handle it, as long as I know where the nearest toilet is. I never leave home without Imodium. How can I avoid these acute stomach problems? Thanks for an informative page!”
Since you need to rush to the toilet after almost every meal and also get stressed by the whole situation, I think you should contact your health center to be properly investigated. Regardless of what it may be caused by, you should always talk to a doctor for long-term gastrointestinal problems management. Remember not to take Imodium (the active substance Loperamide) for more than two days straight without consulting a doctor as prolonged or recurrent diarrhea may be a sign of an underlying illness.
Other possible causes of acute diarrhea
You describe that you get stressed when eating with others because you are worried about your stomach causing problems and you may urgently need to go to the toilet. Different forms of stress cause certain stress hormones in the body to be secreted, such as adrenaline. Stress hormones affect the muscles in the intestines and can make them work faster than usual. When digestion is faster, less fluid is also absorbed, which in turn causes loose stools and sometimes the need to empty the bowel also increases more often, which can lead to acute diarrhea.
Stomach ailments and allergies
Stomach ailments and allergies are also possible causes of acute diarrhea, but we can probably rule these out based on your problems. Some women get diarrhea during menstruation (while others become constipated). Another common cause of diarrhea is poor eating habits such as not chewing properly, eating too fast or eating too large portions.
General dietary advice for acute diarrhea
To counteract/improve diarrhea and acute diarrhea, it is important to eat the right amount of fiber in your diet. You should eat some fiber with all meals of the day. Fiber-rich foods that are also gentle on the stomach are, for example, cooked/baked/stir-fried root vegetables, zucchini, eggplant, green beans, potatoes, pineapple, citrus fruits, banana, rhubarb, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, walnuts, peanuts, buckwheat, quinoa, oats, råris m.fl. If you often have diarrhea, you should also think about drinking extra!
Eat breakfast, lunch, dinner and 1-3 snacks at regular times each day. If you eat often and regularly, it is easier to eat smaller portions. Remember to not only introduce snacks but also limit the size of the main meals – otherwise, it can be too many calories.
Too much fiber can aggravate your problems. Be moderate with wholemeal bread and wholemeal flakes. Finely ground cereal products (eg crispbread) often work better than bread with whole grains and seeds.
Eat small amounts of high-fiber foods at each meal rather than large amounts of fiber at once and the same time.
Cooked / stir-fried / oven-baked root vegetables and vegetables are often better tolerated than raw vegetables.
Think about the consistency – mash and mix – this further facilitates digestion.
Berries usually work better than fruits. Remember not to eat too much fruit – a maximum of three fruits or portions of berries per day and not at the same time. Chew carefully and peel.
Banana, blueberries, corn gruel/rice gruel, flour food as pasta, white bread and pancakes, carrot puree / boiled carrot, rice, almonds/nuts, black/green tea consumption can be reduced.
Remember to drink water regularly, especially in the case of repeated diarrhea. Ordinary tap water works great!
Take time when you eat – chew carefully and let the meal take about 15-20 minutes.
A smaller portion of food causes less inconvenience – feel free to eat small portions often (and regularly!)
Fatty foods can cause diarrhea – e.g. pizza, fried foods, cream sauces, ice cream, pastries. Reduce the amount of fatty foods.
Spicy foods (such as chili) can cause diarrhea.
Alcohol can cause diarrhea – limit the amount.
Do not eat too late in the evening. Eat no later than 2-3 hours before going to bed.
Adequate daily physical activity has a beneficial effect on bowel function – at least 30 minutes every day – walking, swimming, cycling are just a few examples.
Kind bacteria – probiotics (lactic acid bacteria) – can have a positive effect on intestinal function if you eat them daily. These bacilli are added in certain types of fillets and yogurts as well as in certain fruit drinks but are also available in the form of capsules, drops and tablets.
If you have not noticed the effect of daily use of a particular probiotic product after 4 weeks, there is no reason to continue with that particular product. You may not have found the right composition for your gut. Just because a type of probiotic does not work does not preclude another product from having the desired effect. Each product has its own composition of bacteria.
Do not exclude foods unnecessarily
Do not exclude foods if you are not sure they cause symptoms. If you suspect that a food is causing problems – exclude it consistently for 1-2 weeks. If you do not notice any improvement, reintroduce the food again. If you exclude too many foods, you risk that the diet will be both one-sided and poor in nutrients – and sometimes socially inhibiting.
Which foods affect gastrointestinal symptoms is very individual and just because they obviously cause symptoms one day, they do not necessarily have to do it another day. Many things affect digestion!
Diarrhea and acute diarrhea can have several causes and some questions you can ask yourself are…
- Do you chew carefully enough?
- Do you eat slowly enough?
- Are you stressed or anxious?
- Have you slept badly?
- Is there a lot of fat in the food?
- Do you drink alcohol?
If you agree with any of the following, it is especially important that you see a doctor:
- Is over 50 years old and has new gastrointestinal problems.
- Has involuntarily lost weight and/or has decreased appetite.
- Have had diarrhea for more than a week.
- Has blood in the stool.