eli5 – what causes diarrhea and why does (or can) it cause such pain in your stomach?

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eli5 – what causes diarrhea and why does (or can) it cause such pain in your stomach?

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Anonymous 0 Comments

Your body does. Essentially it’s a response to something in your intestines that your body thinks is a problem (usually bacteria, viruses, or some chemical/substance), so it washes it out with water. That’s why dehydration is such a concern with diarrhea. As for the pain, depending on the person a normal bowel movement will move through you pretty slowly over the course of several hours. Diarrhea on the other hand is given the freaking fast pass and shoots through you like a fat kid at disney world, which the muscles that move your intestines now have to all move way faster than normal and in sync with eachother, causing cramping. I read one study that claimed normal digestion is incredibly painful, but it happens so slowly that our brain can block out any pain, before we can process it. No clue if that’s true though

Anonymous 0 Comments

Normally digested food passes slowly through your intestines and the liquid can be absorbed so you’re left with mostly solid stool. Diarrhea occurs when something causes your body to push the waste through quickly, so there isn’t enough time to reabsorb the moisture that’s added. A number of things can cause diarrhea, from pathogens that your body wants to get rid of, to irritants which cause the muscles to spasm, to excess gas which distorts the intestines and causes distress.

As for the pain it can be related to the cause of the diarrhea, such as an bloating from gas for example or irritation due to some substance, a result of the process, muscles spasming as they try to move things through quickly, or a combination.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Hi. Doctor here. There are a couple different kinds of diarrhea.

For INFECTIVE diarrhea, the body tries to flush the invader out of your system by ADDING water to the gut and speeding up gut motility. That water being added is from the body’s own water reserves, hence the risk of dehydration.

for OSMOTIC diarrhea (such as after ingesting sugar-concentrated foodstuffs like very sweet sodas), the high concentration of sugars PULLS water from the body to the gut and the increased water content in the gut leads to liquid stool. Again the water being pulled here is from the body’s cells itself, hence the risk of dehydration.

Hope that helps.