Loose motions or diarrhea is not a disease, but a symptom. It can have many different causes and is one of the most common health disorders. If you suffer from diarrhea, you are not alone because every third adult suffers from it at least once a year. Let’s find out what causes loose motions.

What happens if you have diarrhea?

Before we discuss the loose motion causes, let’s discuss what happens if you have diarrhea. As long as your digestive system works in the normal rhythm, food and liquid are coordinated from the mouth to the intestine. But what happens if the intestine gets out of sync with diarrhea? The functional states of the intestine change:

Motility increases

The gut works faster than normal. As a result, the contents of the intestine are directed to the exit of the intestine more quickly.

Decreased absorption of fluid from the intestine

With normal digestion, fluid, electrolytes and nutrients are absorbed from the intestine. Due to the increased motility in case of diarrhea, the body has less time for this process, and the stool remains fluid. Since the body now receives less fluid and nutrients, the risk of dehydration increases multifold.

Loose motion causes

Increased secretion

The body releases more fluid and electrolytes into the intestine. This makes the stool more fluid and the urge to excrete stronger.

Acute or chronic loose motions?

A difference is made between acute and chronic diarrhea. Acute diarrhea occurs suddenly and is usually short-lived. Chronic diarrhea is prolonged or repeated. If you suspect you have chronic diarrhea, you should have a doctor examine you.

Are you unsure if you have loose motions at all? You can orient yourself on these three factors:

  • The stool is emptied more than three times a day
  • The stool consistency is mushy to liquid
  • The amount of stool has increased significantly

Causes of acute diarrhea

Diarrhea can be triggered by a variety of factors. Possible causes of acute diarrhea are:

Eating Habits & Diet

Certain foods and beverages, but also the way you eat, can upset your digestive system and cause acute diarrhea.

causes of loose motion

Food allergies and intolerance

Do you often have loose motions after eating certain foods? This could be an indication of food intolerance, for example, lactose or gluten intolerance. Allergies to certain foods, such as nuts, can also lead to diarrhea.

Food poisoning

With food poisoning, harmful pathogens or toxins get into your digestive tract through contaminated food. Food poisoning can hit you not only on vacation but also at home if you consume something that your stomach does not agree with. It is one of the most common cause of loose motions.


About one in five people have acute diarrhea from stress at work or social events. Events associated with stress, such as job interviews, exams or appearances in front of a larger audience, are often to blame for the fact that the natural rhythm of the digestive system gets mixed up.

Gastrointestinal flu (Gastroenteritis)

Every fifth person is also affected by an unpleasant gastrointestinal flu, which is triggered either by viruses or bacteria that colonize the intestinal mucosa, at least once a year and cause loose motion. In addition to diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, headache and mild fever are symptoms that usually subside after a few days. The norovirus is the most common virus that causes loose motions. Noroviruses are highly contagious and spread particularly quickly through people gathering in small spaces like in kindergartens, schools, clinics.

Irritable bowel

The exact cause of irritable bowel syndrome is not known in full detail, but there are some factors that can contribute to irritable bowel syndrome. Nearly 20% of the population suffers from irritable bowel syndrome.

Chronic inflammation of the stomach lining or colon

Reasons of loose motions

In some cases, acute diarrhea is a serious disease of the gastrointestinal tract. If the intestinal or gastric mucosa is inflamed, certain parts of the food cannot be used properly by the digestive system. Such a disease should always be clarified by the doctor and should not be treated yourself.


Hormonal changes and the increased release of the body’s own messenger substances such as prostaglandins are responsible for the fact that around a third of all women develop diarrhea during their menstrual period even if they normally do not have any intestinal problems.


If you are taking a lot of medication, it risks causing loose motions. Various drugs attack the intestinal flora and can cause unpleasant diarrhea; for example, antibiotics often cause diarrhea.

To Travel

Especially when travelling to distant countries, many suffer from diarrhea. Unfamiliar, spicy, or very fatty foods can cause traveller’s diarrhea, also known as Montezuma’s Revenge. Mostly, however, there is contact with contaminated food or water or bacteria previously unknown to the body.

Loose motions reasons

Loose motions can have a variety of causes, but one thing is certain that you should treat acute diarrhea quickly. According to a survey, 84% of all those affected feel weak and beaten down with acute diarrhea. This is not surprising when you consider how much water and important electrolytes the body loses in the event of loose motions.

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We hope this article helps you to know more about the loose motions though it might be the last thing you would want to know. It would make it easy for you to stop loose motions and to find your way back into your everyday life.

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