Acute Causes of Diarrhea After Eating

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Have you suddenly come down with the problem of experiencing diarrhea every time that you eat? Typically the reasons for diarrhea after eating are related to the reasons behind any acute onset of the symptom. In this overview we will talk about some of the more common causes as to what may be causing you to be sick - and what you can do about it. 

Note: This article is about sudden onset of diarrhea after eating.

If you have been dealing with this symptom for a long time, the following article may be more relevant for you:

Acute Diarrhea Causes

Acute diarrhea is a sudden onset of diarrhea episodes. The following is a list of the most common causes of acute diarrhea.

With any of these conditions, diarrhea may occur after eating, as the simple act of eating stimulates muscle movement within your large intestine to empty your bowels. Because of the underlying illness, these contractions may be stronger and more painful than usual, and come with a sense of urgency.

  • Bacterial infections, e.g. Salmonella, E. coli
  • Food poisoning
  • Viral infections, commonly referred to as the "stomach flu"
  • Parasites, e.g. Giardia
  • Medications, e.g. antacids, antibiotics, chemotherapy
  • Lactose intolerance
  • IBS-D

What to Do For Acute Diarrhea

1. Stay hydrated: You will need to replace the fluids and minerals that your body is not absorbing due to the rapid transit of stool through your system.

Try to ingest water, broth, and clear fruit juice.

2. Don't rush to an over-the-counter diarrhea product such as Imodium or Kaopectate. These products should not be used if you are suffering from with fever or mucus or bloody stools. Pepto Bismol may be an option, but check with your doctor first. None of these medications should be given to children without permission from the child's doctor.

3. Be careful with your diet and only eat small meals. The following articles offer some helpful food tips:

When to Call Your Doctor

You should call your doctor immediately if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • Blood in your stools
  • Dehydration, e.g. decreased urine, dry mouth, sunken eyes
  • Fever above 100 or that lasts more than three days
  • Severe stomach pain
  • Worsening of diarrhea symptoms, or if diarrhea is still present two days later in an infant or child, and five days later for an adult.

For more information about how immediate the need for medical care is, see:


"Diarrhea" Mayo Clinic Accessed January 23, 2013

"Diarrhea" Medline Plus Accessed January 23, 2013.

"Diarrhea" National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC) Accessed January 23, 2013.

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