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What causes watery bowel movements?

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Quick Answer

A variety of factors can cause watery bowel movements, also referred to as diarrhea, including food poisoning, laxative use, food allergies and stomach viruses, according to WebMD. Diarrhea is also a common symptom of irritable bowel syndrome, a condition that also causes constipation.

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Full Answer

Medications, such as antibiotics; artificial sugars; and digestive disorders, such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, can cause watery bowel movements, according to Mayo Clinic. Individuals who have an intolerance to lactose found in dairy products and those who have undergone abdominal surgery are also susceptible to diarrhea. Less common causes of diarrhea include radiation treatments and medical conditions that affect the intestinal nerves, explains MedlinePlus.

Individuals who suffer from chronic diarrhea caused by irritable bowel syndrome may find relief by changing their dietary habits. It is important for individuals suffering from diarrhea to seek medical attention if their symptoms are accompanied by blood in the stools, stomach pain that is not relieved following bowel movement, or a fever of 101 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. People suffering from diarrhea must drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration, notes MedlinePlus. Proper hand washing to prevent the spread of germs, taking probiotic supplements or eating yogurt, and using hand sanitizer gel on a frequent basis can help prevent diarrhea.

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