10 Common Causes of Diarrhea

Common Causes of Diarrhea

Do you know what is causing your diarrhea?

Diarrhea is a common problem that can have many different causes.

It’s important to know what the most common causes are so you can take steps to prevent diarrhea from happening.

If you or someone you love suffers from diarrhea, then this information is for you.

Learning about the ten most common causes of diarrhea can help you take steps to avoid it and get relief when it does happen.

But before we get into the common causes, let’s first define what diarrhea is.

What Is Diarrhea?

Diarrhea is defined as having three or more loose or watery stools in a day.

It’s commonly caused by an infection of the gut, but there are other things that can cause it too.

Diarrhea can last for a few days or even a week.

In most cases, it’s not serious and will go away on its own.

However, severe diarrhea can lead to dehydration, so it’s important to see a doctor if you have bloody stools or diarrhea that lasts longer than a week.

Now that we know what diarrhea is let’s look at some of the most common causes.

Here are the 10 most common causes of diarrhea

1. Infection

One of the most common causes of diarrhea is an infection.

The most common infections that cause diarrhea are the stomach flu, food poisoning, and bacterial infections.

These infections can be caused by eating contaminated food or water or by contact with someone who is infected.

For example, you may get the stomach flu if you eat food that has been contaminated with the virus.

Or, you may get food poisoning if you eat contaminated meat or vegetables.

Bacterial infections can also cause diarrhea.

You may get a bacterial infection if you consume contaminated water or raw milk that contains Campylobacter, Cryptosporidium, E. coli, Listeria, or Salmonella.

2. Antibiotics

Another common cause of diarrhea is antibiotics.

Antibiotics kill the bad bacteria in your gut, but they also kill the good bacteria.

This can cause diarrhea because the good bacteria help keep the gut healthy and functioning properly.

3. Traveler’s diarrhea

Traveler’s diarrhea is a type of diarrhea caused by eating food or drinking water contaminated with bacteria or viruses.

It’s common in developing countries where there are not as many sanitation and hygiene standards.

4. Milk and dairy products

For some people, milk and other dairy products can cause diarrhea.

This is because they are unable to digest the lactose in milk properly.

5. Celiac disease

Celiac disease is a condition that prevents the body from being able to digest gluten.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye.

If you have celiac disease and eat gluten, it can cause inflammation in the gut and lead to diarrhea.

Learn more: 9 Early Signs of Celiac Disease You Shouldn’t Ignore

6. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a condition that affects the digestive system.

It can cause a variety of symptoms, including diarrhea.

Other symptoms of IBS include constipation, stomach pain, and bloating.

7. Stress

Stress can also be a trigger for diarrhea.

When you’re stressed, your body releases hormones that can lead to changes in the digestive system and cause diarrhea.

8. Medications

Certain medications can also cause diarrhea.

Examples include antacids, laxatives, and some cancer treatments.

If you’re taking any medication and have concerns about side effects, talk to your doctor.

9. Alcohol abuse

Heavy alcohol use can also lead to diarrhea.

This is because alcohol can irritate the lining of the gut and cause inflammation.

It can also lead to changes in the way the gut absorbs nutrients and fluids, which can cause diarrhea.

10. Poorly controlled diabetes

Diabetes that isn’t well-controlled can also cause diarrhea.

When blood sugar levels are high, it can pull fluid from other parts of the body into the intestines and cause loose stools.

If you have diabetes, it’s important to talk to your doctor about how to best manage it to avoid problems like diarrhea.

Common Causes of Diarrhea

Is diarrhea a symptom of COVID-19?

As of now, research published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology revealed that some patients had diarrhea as their initial symptom of COVID-19.

According to another study, approximately 18% of COVID-19 patients experience gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea.

However, the other symptoms of COVID-19 are fever or chills, cough, loss of taste or smell, fatigue, and shortness of breath.

So if you experience any of these along with diarrhea, it is best to get yourself tested for the virus.

What can stop diarrhea fast?

There are a few things you can do at home to help relieve your symptoms and stop diarrhea fast.

These include:

  • Drinking plenty of fluids, especially water or sports drinks.
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Eat light and bland foods, such as rice, toast, applesauce, or bananas.
  • Avoid dairy products, fatty foods, high-fiber foods, and caffeine.

Read more: How to Stop Diarrhea Fast


There are many different things that can cause diarrhea.

Some causes, like stomach infection, will go away on their own.

Other causes, like celiac disease or IBS, are chronic conditions that will require treatment.

If you have diarrhea that lasts longer than a week or is accompanied by other symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor to rule out any serious problems.