Burning diarrhea might seem like a symptom of something seriously going wrong with your health. The good news is that it's usually not the case. The bad news is that it's still seriously uncomfortable.
Most of the time, your diarrhea will go away in just a few hours, although it can take several days. This will happen on its own without you getting treatment or applying even basic home remedies.
Still, if your diarrhea lasts a while or is serious enough, dehydration and malnutrition can result. Eventually, dehydration can turn fatal.
If you have burning diarrhea for more than a few days, or if it's particularly bloody or painful, then you should get medical attention. Of course, knowing why diarrhea burns is helpful in educating yourself about this painful condition and how to deal with it.
Burning Diarrhea vs Explosive Diarrhea?
Part of knowing why diarrhea burns is simply knowing what burning diarrhea is. It's not technically burning in the sense of fire and flames, but it does involve a burning sensation.
Diarrhea happens when your intestines don't absorb enough fluid out of the waste passing through them. That means that when you sit down to poop and eliminate stools, they'll be loose and full of surplus fluids. Sometimes this will result in explosive diarrhea due to bowel contractions going into overdrive and forcing everything out as quickly as possible. This extreme activity in itself isn't necessarily painful but may lead to burning diarrhea depending on a variety of factors we'll discuss below.
Normal diarrhea that can be controlled, usually isn't a cause for concern. However, it can sometimes be intense and even chronic, resulting in a painful burning sensation in your anus and rectum.
Most adults have occasional diarrhea, so don't worry about having a round of it here and there. However, if you have irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease, then you might be at risk of diarrhea more often and for longer stretches of time.
Burning diarrhea is when the fluid waste inflames your skin. Some burning can happen due to acidic content. Burning diarrhea might also be more likely if you have an ileoanal anastomosis procedure that alters or removes your colon.
Potential Causes Of Painful Burning Diarrhea
Burning diarrhea can happen for many reasons. Many sufferers assume they just made a mistake with spicy foods, and that can be a trigger. However, causes also include internal biochemistry and physical foods, among others.
Spicy Foods Can Cause Intestinal Pain
Certain spices have chemical compounds known to produce warm and even burning sensations if they come into contact with your body. Many spicy foods have capsaicin as a primary ingredient. It's also used in over-the-counter numbing products, so imagine what it can do inside you ... and more importantly as it passes out of you!
Actually, you don't have to imagine. It can trigger diarrhea. Since you know diarrhea expedites the digestive process, you know that capsaicin might not be totally broken down before it passes through you.
In this particular matter, your internal biochemistry that matters includes bile, digestive enzymes, and stomach acids. When food gets to your stomach, its acids and digestive enzymes attach to the food to start the process of breaking it down into specific nutrients your body can use.
Food that gets to your small intestine has bile added to it. Once food gets all the way through you, there shouldn't be any acidic enzymes or acids present any longer.
Since diarrhea expedites the process of digestion, foods don't break all the way down. Given that, bile, digestive enzymes, and stomach acids might still be around in your diarrhea. These can hurt sensitive tissue and result in burning sensations around your anus and in your rectum. It can happen during a bowel movement, after, or even both.
Trauma To Your Digestive System And Anus
While rare, sometimes food might not be entirely broken down during digestion. When this happens, as it exits your body, these rough foods might rub, tear, or cut your rectal tissues. Any food with shells, pods, or edible seeds might do the same.
There are times that you pass a stool that's rougher than normal, and you wind up wiping harder or just more often to get clean. This can also add to your irritation and be an external agitator resulting in diarrhea burning you.
Beer and Excessive Alcohol Consumption
Beer, as well as wine and other alcoholic beverages that have large amounts of carbohydrates can cause diarrhea when consumed in large quantities. When combined with factors like various flavors and foods that you may also be consuming, this can be a bad combination if you are looking to avoid a rumbly belly and a painful ending to your evening.
Alcohol is actually a double whammy here when it comes do causing intestinal distress and problems with uncontrollable bowels because it also acts to speed up the contraction rate of your colon muscles. This will help evacuate stool faster and cause it to come out as diarrhea instead of a nice solid turd.
Furthermore, when this happens you'll probably end up having to wipe excessively and this can irritate your anus leading to additional pain.
Other Potential Causes Of Painful Burning Diarrhea
Burning diarrhea can be triggered by many other things, including caffeine, artificial sweeteners, and laxative abuse. Stress is a common trigger, which isn't surprising. Something that might be surprising is fructose, a natural sugar in fruits that are normally an underused and healthy food group.
Burning diarrhea can also happen as a result of irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and celiac disease. Hemorrhoids, food poisoning, and certain medical treatments or surgeries are also risk factors.
In fact, estimates suggest that 20% of Americans face symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), including burning diarrhea and other related discomfort. However, few Americans with mild symptoms have talked with their doctor about this problem to find solutions.
Diabetics might be at risk if they are being treated with metformin. This particular drug has diarrhea as a known side effect in a statistically significant number of patients, although most people develop tolerance over time.
How to Make Burning Diarrhea Less Painful
Most bouts of diarrhea resolve themselves within hours or days. If you can't wait it out or want to help your body, do what you can to keep your anal area clean. Use a barrier cream, and avoid exposing the area to hot bath or shower water. Rehydrate with lots of liquids, and don't sit anywhere for too long at once. Avoid any problem foods you can, or just follow a bland diet.
If you're ever unsure that you're doing enough, or you suspect a real issue, never hesitate to reach out to your doctor or physician.