Having diarrhea once in a while is normal. However, if it occurs regularly or every morning over a long period, then it means there is a problem somewhere.
Relieving yourself every morning is normal. If you pass out stool that is not watery every morning then you are good to go. Experiencing diarrhea every morning can be caused by a lot of things.
It may be a sign of a temporary illness or the choices you make when it comes to your lifestyle. Morning diarrhea can also be caused by the type of food you eat.
To know the exact cause as to why you have diarrhea every morning, we need to take a look at certain factors, why it happens, if there is a way to treat it and if you can avoid it altogether.
What is diarrhea?
This is a condition in which stool is passed out frequently and in liquid form. The most common cause of diarrhea is a virus that infects your bowel (viral gastroenteritis). The infection lasts for a couple of days.
Another cause of diarrhea is infection by bacteria. Eating contaminated food can also make you get diarrhea. Symptoms of diarrhea include;
- loose stool
- watery stool
- stomach pain.
Most cases of diarrhea disappear on their own. However severe cases might require medication such as antibiotics.
What is morning diarrhea?
Morning diarrhea is when an individual passes watery loose stools during the early hours of the day (in the morning). Morning diarrhea can wake someone up to go to the bathroom.
If you are unlucky and the bathroom is occupied when you urgently need to go, you might end up defecating on yourself.
Diarrhea in the morning happens at some point in time. However, if the morning persists for a long period, it can indicate that you might be sick or have an underlying condition.
Is it normal to have diarrhea every morning?
Having diarrhea once in a while in the morning is common. However, if you have diarrhea every single morning when you wake up is unusual. It can be a sign of a health condition or an indicator that you need to change your lifestyle and eating habits.
What are the causes of morning diarrhea?
Morning diarrhea can be caused by contaminated food, lifestyle choices, or even a health condition. Below are some of the causes of morning diarrhea.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
This is a condition that affects your intestines, both small and large. The exact cause of IBS is unknown but it can be triggered by psychological stress and certain foods.
A study conducted in 2016 found a correlation between anxiety, depression, and IBS. Symptoms of IBS include;
- abdominal cramps
- mucus in the stool
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
A condition that causes inflammation in the digestive tract. It is a general term used for a variety of conditions that can cause inflammation in the gut. Some of these conditions include
Ulcerative colitis (a condition that causes sores on the lining of the large intestine) and
Crohn’s disease (a condition that spread inflammation from the digestive tract line to any surrounding tissue)
Symptoms of IBD and its diseases (namely Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative colitis) include;
- Abdominal pain
- weight loss
- morning diarrhea
Cigarettes contain nicotine which is known for causing loose stools. Morning diarrhea can happen if you smoke before you go to bed. Smoking is a major risk factor for Crohn’s disease, as well as for many other problems affecting organ health.
Another reason you can get morning diarrhea is alcohol. Drinking too much alcohol can cause your stool to become loose or watery. Drinking too much the night before can make you visit the washroom early in the morning to relieve yourself.
A lot of medications have diarrhea as a side effect. For example, certain antibiotics have diarrhea as a side effect. Taking any of such medications right before you sleep can result in morning diarrhea. This is because the drug is in your body or system through the night.
Anxiety or any form of emotional stress can trigger diarrhea in the morning. If you wake up feeling anxious, morning diarrhea might occur.
Too much coffee
Coffee is a stimulant that can increase the number of bowel movements you have. It also contains caffeine and too much of it can eventually lead to you having diarrhea in the morning.
Another reason why you might have diarrhea every morning can be as a result of infections. Viral or bacterial infections when left untreated can cause diarrhea in the morning for you.
One viral infection that triggers diarrhea is the rotavirus (a virus that is the most common cause of diarrheal diseases among infants and young children).
Salmonella is an example of a bacterial infection that can cause diarrhea in the morning. Bacteria infections cause your stool to loosen. This usually happens after consuming or eating food or water that has been contaminated.
Eating foods that you are allergic to can also cause you to have morning diarrhea. Allergies can develop irritation in the gut leading to diarrhea.
Popular foods people are allergic to are peanuts, wheat, dairy, fruits, egg, etc. Eating any of these foods or the specific food that you are allergic to before you sleep can lead to diarrhea in the morning.
Is there any treatment or cure for morning diarrhea?
Depending on the cause of diarrhea occurring in the morning, the treatment may differ.
- Avoiding eating foods or foods that you are allergic to can help you avoid visiting the washroom early in the morning.
- Emotional stress can also cause morning diarrhea. Try different activities that can reduce your stress levels.
- If either IBS or IBD is the main cause of your morning diarrhea, you might need different treatment methods. See a doctor or pharmacist for the appropriate treatment.
- Changing your diet can also help
- Avoid eating heavy foods right before bed
For treating IBS
Antidepressants like tricyclic antidepressants are very effective for treating IBS symptoms.
Anticholinergic medication is also used for IBS treatment. These medications may reduce spasms leading to diarrhea. An example of an anticholinergic medication is dicyclomine (Bentyl).
Anti-diarrheal medication like loperamide may also help with morning diarrhea.
For treating IBD
Anti-inflammatory medications for IBD target inflammation in the gut that cause symptoms including:
Corticosteroids, aminosalicylates, immunosuppressant drugs