I thought you’d find this LIVESTRONG. Why Do Some Spicy Foods Cause Diarrhea? Michael Baker has worked as a full-time journalist since 2002 and currently serves as editor for several travel-industry trade publications in New York. He previously was a business reporter for “The Press of Atlantic City” in New Jersey and “The Facts” in Freeport, Texas.
Baker holds a Master of Science in journalism from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn. Spicy peppers can irritate the digestive tract, leading to loose stools. Even if you can down curry vindaloo or burritos doused in hot sauce without flinching, your body might not be able to hold its poker face as well. Spicy foods can provoke indigestion, heartburn and loose stools in many people, though others can eat them with no problems. Spicy foods cause a burning sensation in your mouth because of the chemical compounds they contain, such as capsaicin in chili peppers and cayenne peppers.
Your body does not break down these compounds during digestion, and they can cause irritation to the lining in your stomach and intestines. As a result, food sometimes moves more quickly through your digestive tract, resulting in loose stools. If you experience diarrhea constantly after eating spicy foods, you might have a condition known as irritable bowel syndrome.
This is a fairly common condition in which the nerves and muscles in your bowels are more sensitive than normal, meaning certain foods — including spicy foods — cause diarrhea, abdominal pain and a feeling of bloating. IBS is not life-threatening, and doctors can suggest ways to keep it under control. Although diarrhea induced by spicy foods is unpleasant and uncomfortable, there’s little evidence suggesting it causes long-term damage to your digestive system. A study published in the “Journal of the American Medical Association” in 1988 noted no damage to the stomach and small intestines after subjects ate spicy meals. If you are susceptible to diarrhea after spicy foods, the easiest prevention is to avoid them altogether, but taking steps to improve your overall digestive health can help if you still want the occasional indulgence. Increasing your fiber intake by eating more fruits and vegetables or drinking more water improves digestion, as does eating regular meals. Can You Eat Anything to Get Rid of Heartburn? Get the latest tips on diet, exercise and healthy living.
You can use a shallow bath, or a special device that fits over the toilet seat. Soak the anal region in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes two to three times daily for fast, effective relief. If you’re experiencing hemorrhoids, dry toilet paper can scratch and tear at already swollen, inflamed veins. Instead of toilet paper, use unscented baby wipes or flushable wipes instead. Make sure you use wipes without fragrance or alcohol, as these may irritate hemorrhoids. There are a number of over-the-counter topical medications designed to help treat hemorrhoids, including creams, ointments, medicated wipes, and suppositories. Other topical medications contain steroids, anesthetics, astringents, and antiseptics.
Do not use over-the-counter topicals for longer than one week unless otherwise directed by your doctor. Many people with hemorrhoids experience pain, especially during bowel movements. If you’re experiencing pain because of hemorrhoids, try taking an over-the-counter pain reliever, like acetaminophen, in conjunction with topical treatments. Because hemorrhoids are caused by swollen, inflamed veins, an ice pack or cold compress can help reduce inflammation by slowing blood flow to the site of the hemorrhoid. Seal an ice pack or cold compress in a plastic sandwich bag and apply to the anus for fast relief. One of the best things you can do to care for hemorrhoids is to keep the anal area clean. Bathe or shower daily, and clean the skin in and around the anus with a gentle stream of warm water. You may do this with or without soap, but soap may irritate the hemorrhoids. One of the most common causes of hemorrhoids is excessive straining while going to the bathroom.
This may be caused by constipation, or by chronic diarrhea associated with digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease. Try elevating your feet slightly while sitting on the toilet. This may help facilitate a less-strenuous bowel movement. Constipation is a side effect of many over-the-counter and prescription drugs, so talk to your doctor about any medications you may be taking and if you can switch to something less likely to cause constipation. If you are prone to hemorrhoids, it’s important that you use the restroom immediately when you feel the need. Putting off a bowel movement or waiting for a “more convenient” time can cause constipation and painful bowel movements, which can cause hemorrhoids or aggravate existing ones.
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