Morning diarrheais a condition that creates an urgent urge for a bowel movement every morning after waking up. In this condition, the patient usually will pass loose and watery stool. The urge may cause sleep disruptions in the morning hours. Often, this type of diarrhea is not associated with one specific disease but is a common symptom of gastrointestinal conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Reasons Why You Have Diarrhea Every Morning
Morning diarrhea can be associated with various conditions; sometimes, it is nothing to worry about, while other times it could indicate something serious that requires immediate medical treatment. Below are some of the reasons why it occurs:
1. Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) causes the highest percentage of diarrhea conditions. Doctors examine patients for this condition first whenever they report diarrhea symptoms. IBS occurs when the colon and intestines contract abnormally. It may also occur due to some unhealthy eating habits and allergic reactions to foods.
This conditions is often treated by changing eating habits such as eating early in the evening, including more natural foods and reducing salt intake. Besides, bananas and yogurts with active and live cultures improve stool stability, thus helping to treat IBS.
2. Bacteria and Viruses
Viral and bacterial infections can cause diarrhea every morning. These infections may result from contaminated foods. The most common causes are E.coli and food poisoning. Vomiting and diarrhea caused by bacterial and viral infections can happen at any time of the day. However, there’re cases when the symptoms are only present in the morning, especially when the body is reacting to foods consumed the previous night or if the infection is mild.
3. Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic condition that causes inflammation on the bowel wall. The main types of IBD are ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Both types of IBD cause the diarrhea to be either bloody, watery or have mucus in it. The diarrhea occurs in acute attacks or episodes, which are worse at certain times. The diarrhea may not be severe in the morning but it will start once the patient wakes up. Severe cases of diarrhea will cause the patient to wake up several times in the night to pass stool.
4. Substance Misuse
Alcohol and nicotine abuse causes bowel irritation. Most people misuse these substances at night during social events. They may experience diarrhea the morning after misusing the substances. Diarrhea from substance misuse occurs in isolated cases unless if the abuse is consistent. Misusing other substances may also cause the same issue.
5. Reactions to Medication
Medications such as antibiotics can cause diarrhea every morning. Diarrhea associated with antibiotics can occur at any time. However, early morning diarrhea occurs because internal organs begin to function as the person wakes up. They become active after a period of dormancy through the night. Medication that has stayed in the bloodstream throughout the night triggers a severe early morning diarrhea.
Pregnancy increases levels of hormones such as human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) and estrogen hormones. This increase causes morning sickness and may lead to early morning diarrhea as well. The first trimester is characterized by nausea and vomiting, which can occur at any time but is severe in the morning for many women. And it also goes true for some oral contraceptives.
7. Psychosocial Stress
Bowel movements reduce when a person is relaxed or sleeping. They worsen when the person wakes up with intense emotions, which could be reason for morning diarrhea. However, it usually reduces when the stressful situation is resolved.
8. Other Causes
Additional causes of early morning diarrhea include:
- Changes in circadian rhythm in the morning: The cycle curbs bowel movements late in the night and triggers an urge to pass stool in the morning around 8am. Disrupting this 24-hour cycle will lead to abnormal bowel movements including early morning diarrhea
- Intense physical activities
- Taking breakfast immediately after waking up may cause defecation reflexes such as gastrocolicreflexes and duodenocolic. These reflexes increase colonic motility in the stomach and the first section of the small intestine.
- Abnormal changes in hormone and nerve functions interrupt bowel movements and lead to early morning diarrhea.This is becausehormone levels and nerve activities intensify in the morning, increasing activeness and alertness in the body.
- Food intolerance: Diarrhea every morning is common after taking milk for lactose-intolerant persons and fruit juice for people with fructose mal-absorption.
- Stool and water buildup in the colon during the night.
How to Deal With It
Treating early morning diarrhea is sometimes difficult because it can result from many underlying conditions.
Doctors should identify the underlying cause of early morning diarrhea before prescribing any treatment.
- A licensed medical provider will study a patient’s lifestyle including exercising patterns, diet and stress level to identify the underlying cause.
- Doctors may also conduct lab test on tissue and stool samples to find out the exact cause and treat it accordingly.
- A colonoscopy is used to treat chronic morning diarrhea, which refers to a daily occurrence of early morning diarrhea. In this procedure, doctors insert a small camera through the rectum, bowels and colon. This camera shows the state of the lower digestive tract and helps in diagnosing Crohn’s disease and colon cancer.
The recommended treatments for diarrhea every morning include:
- Probiotics, which restore normal functions of intestinal flora
- Reducing intake of irritant foods and drinks- these include spicy foods, alcohol, dairy, caffeinated beverages, and sweeteners.
- Controlling fiber intake, which can worsen pre-existing diarrhea
- Taking antidiarrheal medication such as loperamide- the ultimate solution is to treat the underlying condition or disease.