What It Means When You Have Diarrhea Every Morning

Some mornings might be difficult for you to get up and go. On other mornings, you might have too much "go" — diarrhea, that is. An upset stomach could sabotage your plans for that early morning yoga class while you reach for the Pepto-Bismol to find a bit of relief.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, it's normal to have loose stools or frequent bowel movements in the morning every once in a while. The cause of your diarrhea depends on how long you've had it. Acute diarrhea might last just for a morning or resolve after a few days. Persistent diarrhea can last for several weeks, while chronic diarrhea can last for months. Acute or occasional morning diarrhea could be caused by an infection, stress, or caffeine, according to Healthgrades. Even imbibing in too much alcohol can disrupt your digestive system the next morning. However, if your morning diarrhea is chronic, it could be a sign of a more serious condition. These include irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, or exaggerated gastrocolic reflex.

Serious conditions that can cause morning diarrhea

According to Healthgrades, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is relatively common, as the condition has many potential influences. Changes in the way the brain and gut communicate can influence gastrointestinal function and sensitivity. Stress, anxiety, and other emotional factors can trigger or exacerbate IBS symptoms in some people. Hormonal changes could also influence IBS, and people with a family history of IBS are more likely to develop the condition themselves.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is an umbrella term that can include Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Your diet, environmental factors, and an imbalance of the bacteria in your gut can factor into your experience with morning diarrhea. IBS could also be caused by your immune system not functioning properly.

Even without these conditions, you're more likely to poop in the morning because the gastrocolic reflex, which moves food from your stomach through your colon, is more likely to be active earlier in your day. However, some people might experience an exaggerated gastrocolic reflex as a result of IBS or IBD.

Treating morning diarrhea

While morning diarrhea can be a stressful start to your day, milder cases can be treated with an over-the-counter anti-diarrhea medication. Drinking plenty of water will protect your body from diarrhea's dehydrating effects. Rather than reach for something high-fat or greasy, opt for bland foods like bananas, white rice, apple sauce, or white toast. Some foods might make you particularly gassy, such as beans, Brussels sprouts, and carbonated beverages, so it might be a good idea to avoid those. You'll also want to cut back on caffeine to avoid its laxative effect on your system.

If your diarrhea is from an infection, you might need to take an antibiotic. Some people's diarrhea might be the result of an imbalance of your gut microbiome, so your doctor could suggest a probiotic to restore that balance. Your doctor might prescribe medications if you are diagnosed with IBD or IBS to help you manage your condition. If you frequently experience diarrhea in the morning, your doctor might also suggest keeping track of any foods that trigger your IBS. Potential triggers could include foods with gluten or fermentable short-chain carbohydrates, known as FODMAPs (via Healthline).