Introduction of Morning Diarrhea
One of the ways the body tries to get rid of any unwanted waste or substance is through diarrhea. This is done by secreting extra fluid to the intestine and thus producing an unusual number of strong contractions of the intestine. This in turn leads to loose or watery stools.
This is mostly triggered by a bacterial infection in the body. Everyone must have experienced diarrhea at some point in their lives. It may happen after eating something in excess, leading to you running to the washroom to relieve yourself again and again.
For some people, diarrhea is not just something which happens occasionally; rather, it is something which may happen on a daily basis. Some people are distressed with diarrhea first thing in the morning. It tends to disturb one's sleep, as well.
There can be varied reasons for morning diarrhea, such as something one ate in the night before which the body cannot process correctly, or maybe long late night physical activity could have increased the bowel motility. At times, morning diarrhea can also be caused due to morning cigarettes, coffee, or tea.
Diarrhea is not a disease; it is a symptom of an underlying medical condition.
Why Do We Have Morning Diarrhea?
While we are asleep, it is natural for the bowel activity to decrease, as is the same with the other organs. This is due to the nervous system stimulation of the bowels, which slows down during this period.
However, when a person is in an active mode, such as walking, running, or carrying out any physical activity, the bowel motility is influenced. Since a person is still during sleep, there is a lack of any physical activity; hence it slows down the bowel movement, so the urge to empty the bowel is also suppressed during the sleeping phase.
Therefore, it is not something uncommon for people to feel the urge to empty their bowels while walking in the morning or while returning back to regular activity. People who have a good bowel training will feel the urge to defecate first thing in the morning, but these can’t be termed as morning diarrhea.
When a person is stricken with morning diarrhea, it can be related to inactivity of the former hours while asleep. The water starts accumulating in the colon, where it usually should be reabsorbed. Also, another factor which can cause morning diarrhea is continuous bacterial activity, which takes place in the bowels while one is asleep.
Changes in the hormone levels and activity of the nervous system once we are in the waking state keeps the body more active and alert. This can also lead to an effect on the normal bowel motility. Eating upon waking up is also known to stimulate the reflexes of defecation, wherein food in the stomach of the first part of the small intestine may increase colonic motility.
This is also known as gastrocolic and duodenocolic reflexes. At times, milk or fruit juices can tend to irritate the gut in a person, and if it is consumed in the morning as part of breakfast, then it may lead to lactose intolerance or fructose malabsorption, thus causing bowel movement in the morning.
Causes of Morning Diarrhea
There are many things which can act as a trigger for the morning diarrhea. It can be a simple change in the individual’s body clock. For example, a person may have a bowel movement in the late evenings and then one again at 7 in the morning. If this body cycle is disrupted, then it can lead to loose bowel movements at uncommon times. Below are few potential causes of chronic morning diarrhea:
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): IBS is a quite common cause of morning diarrhea. For a person suffering from IBS, the bowel movement becomes unpredictable, causes pain, and is considered erratic or irregular. The person may experience bouts of diarrhea and constipation at alternate times. A few of the causes of IBS are allergies to certain foods, stress, anxiety, candida overgrowth, and parasites.
Drug or substance abuse: The bowel irritation can be caused to alcohol or nicotine drug abuse. These substances are commonly consumed during the night, and, as a result, the person suffers from diarrhea in the morning. For those who abuse substances, diarrhea can happen in isolated situations, and at times it can happen in those people who drink and smoke on a regular basis.
Pregnancy: The hormone levels of estrogen and human chorionic gonadotropin tend to increase during the pregnancy period. These fluctuations in the hormones are also known to cause morning diarrhea and nausea. This is usually called morning sickness.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD): IBD is a term for chronic inflammatory intestinal disorder. This also includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. One experiences watery diarrhea in Crohn’s disease, whereas those suffering from ulcerative colitis would experience bloody diarrhea followed by severe lower abdominal cramps. These symptoms usually tend to disturb the sleep and occur right from the time one gets up in the morning, hence making the person feel restless.
Reactions to medications: Some medications are also known to cause morning diarrhea. One of the most common medications that causes diarrhea is antibiotics. It is known that antibiotics can cause diarrhea at any time during the day; however, it can occur in the morning as well. This happens because the internal organs become active once we wake up from the dormant state that took place throughout the night. The morning diarrhea would be caused because of the antibiotics staying in the blood stream overnight, thus triggering the diarrhea in the morning. There are certain drugs such as cancer treatment drugs, antacids, blood pressure drugs, and gout medications that are also known to cause morning diarrhea.
Infection caused by bacteria or viruses: There are various viral or bacterial infections that usually cause chronic diarrhea. A few of the most common types of viral infections which cause diarrhea are norovirus, adenovirus, and rotavirus. One of the common causes of diarrhea in babies is rotavirus. Hence, there are rotavirus vaccinations, which is must be given to small infants. When it comes to bacterial infections, they can turn out to be some serious cases of diarrhea. Bacterial diarrhea usually occurs when one tends to consume contaminated water or food. A few of the most common types of bacterial strains that cause diarrhea are salmonella, shigella, and campylobacter. People would experience certain symptoms apart from diarrhea if they are affected with a bacterial or viral infection; these symptoms may include vomiting, coughing, sneezing, cramping in the abdomen, fatigue, inflammation, and fever.
Allergies to food or food intolerance: When a person is allergic to any food or has a food intolerance, they can complain of cramps in the abdomen, diarrhea, and bloating issues after consuming such foods. A few of the foods that are known to cause allergies or intolerance reactions are peanuts, dairy products, such as milk, wheat, and eggs. A few of the food intolerance reactions remain for a lifetime, such as intolerance toward wheat and dairy items.
Candida infection: If a person is affected with candida or a parasitic infection, then one of its most common side effects is diarrhea. The fungus that grows in the gastrointestinal tract is known as candida albicans. There are also several parasites that are known to cause diarrhea as a side effect; these include entamoeba histolytica, giardia lamblia, and cryptosporidium. Apart from diarrhea, other symptoms which the person can experience are fatigue, allergic reactions to food, and constipation.
Dehydration or imbalance in the electrolytes: Electrolytes are basically minerals which have an electric charge. A few of such electrolytes are potassium, phosphate, sodium, magnesium, calcium, and chlorine. Dehydration is caused when the electrolytes becomes too high or too low. The symptoms that are associated with an imbalance in the electrolytes are abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and constipation.
Stress: The bowel movement decreases when the person is in a relaxed state of mind or when the person is sleeping. However, when the person wakes up, they can experience a bowel movement. For example, anxiety is commonly known to cause diarrhea; however, this goes away the once the person is relieved from the stress and is in a relaxed state of mind.
What are the Treatments for Morning Diarrhea?
There are various treatments available, which can eliminate the condition of diarrhea. However, one should first determine the root cause of the problem before going ahead with the treatment. A few treatments are discussed below:
Eliminate allergies and food intolerance: If the root cause of diarrhea is food allergies or intolerance, then one should keep a close watch on which food item is causing the issue and eliminate it from the diet. There are certain foods which are most commonly considered as healthy, but at times they can lead to worsening of the digestive system for few people. Hence, it’s important to determine such foods. One can determine sensitivity toward certain foods in a number of ways, such as bio-energetic testing, bio-analysis, meridian stress assessment test, elimination diet test, or bio-meridian testing. Once the exact cause is determined, it is imperative that the particular food is minimized or eliminated from the diet.
Probiotics: Also known as beneficial bacteria, probiotics are used to restore the intestinal flora. Two of the most important probiotics are called lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidobacterium bifidum. Probiotics play the role of displaying a protective effect against any infections that cause diarrhea. This can include rotavirus and clostridium difficile. Supplementation of probiotic can also prevent diarrhea caused by antibiotics and also promotes a healthy and quick recovery.
Acupuncture: For people suffering from chronic diarrhea, acupuncture is one of the treatment options for a healthy and safe recovery. This is particularly true for people who are suffering from irritable bowel syndrome with predominant diarrhea; acupuncture is a good treatment option for these patients.
Tormentil root: Extracts of the tormentil root are known to shorten the duration of diarrhea, especially when it is caused by rotavirus.
Homeopathy: Apart from the allopathic medicines, homeopathy has also been found to decrease the duration of diarrhea and also the number of stools in children who are suffering from acute childhood diarrhea. One of the homeopathy remedies that is especially helpful is known as aloe socotrina. Apart from this, other homeopathic medicines which are known to heal morning diarrhea are arsenicum album and china sulphur.
Herbs containing berberine: There has been a long history of plants which contain alkaloid berberine to help in the treatment of infectious diarrhea. A few of the plants which include berberine are barberry, goldenseal, Oregon grape, and goldthread. Studies reveal that berberine is proven to be an effective remedy against diarrhea that is caused by parasites, food poisoning, cholera, E.coli, and shigellosis. Berberine is also known to be more effective than the antibiotics that are available for diarrhea.
Supplementation: There are other supplements which can help to get rid of morning diarrhea and its various associated causes. These include activated charcoal, vitamin A, digestive enzymes, betaine hydrochloride, colostrum, L-glutamine, lactase, and vitamin C.
Herbal remedies: There are various herbal remedies that are known to treat morning diarrhea and other medical conditions related to digestive system. For example, peppermint oil has anti-fungal properties, which are known to be very effective when it comes to intestinal cramps that are associated with diarrhea or candida overgrowth. A few of the other herbal remedies are oregano oil, milk thistle, black walnut, red raspberry, aloe vera juice, astragalus, ginger, black walnut, and gentian root.
Prevention of Morning Diarrhea
One can look for ways to prevent morning diarrhea; these include:
- Aromatherapy: There are innumerable essential oils that contain antispasmodic properties, which help to relieve stomach cramps and morning diarrhea. These essential oils are lavender oil, chamomile oil, and lemon balm.
- Increased intake of fluids: When one is suffering from morning diarrhea, then its best to first and foremost focus on keeping oneself hydrated. Since diarrhea leads to loss of fluids, dehydration can make a person weak. Be sure to consume at least two cups of fluids every couple of hours. Fluids can include water, lemon juice, freshly made fruit juices in moderation, bone broth, and vegetable juices.
- Avoidance of consuming substances: Avoid the consumption of caffeine or alcohol. These substances tend to stimulate the digestive tract, thus causing diarrhea.
Morning diarrhea can have many causes, and it is important to find the cause of your diarrhea before attempting to treat it. Treatment will be based on the root cause of your diarrhea, but it always important to stay hydrated when you are experiencing diarrhea.