Loose stools – what could that mean?

Health and nutrition

If your stools are loose often, what could that mean? And what can you do about it? Loose stools can be mushy, shapeless or even watery, like diarrhea. They can come with – but not always do – with urgency, cramps and pain. If you experience this regularly, it’s a sign that something is wrong. Here are some reasons why!

The perfect poop

Before we go to what’s not right, let’s first look at what a perfect poo looks like:

  • Comes out easily, without straining
  • Number 4 on the Bristol Stool chart (see below)
  • 1-3 times a day
  • Hardly any toilet paper needed

Temporary or all the time?

You can have loose stools every now and then after eating. This can happen after food poisoning, lactose intolerance, a stressfgul time or infections. You may also have loose stool after eating if you’re taking too much magnesium or have been drinking too much coffee. Certain foods, such as spicy or oily foods, can also create loose stools.

Do you experience loose stools all the time? Here are some reasons why that happens:

  • You’re not chewing your food well
  • Stress or anxiety
  • Too much sugar (sugar can be a laxative!)
  • You have trouble breaking down your food (proteins, fats, carbohydrates) well and now they are causing problems in your gut
  • An allergy, sensitivity or intolerance to certain foods (like lactose, fructose, gluten, eggs or other foods)
  • Your microbiome is imbalanced – you don’t have enough beneficial bacteria in your gut and too many of the not-so-helpful ones
  • Parasites
  • You have leaky gut
  • Your medication can cause this
  • Taking too much magnesium or vitamin C
  • You have celiac disease, IBS, IBD or some other digestive illness

What to do?

Before you start trying to remedy your loose stools, make an appointment with your GP. It’s important to have them check what’s going on. Especially when it’s getting worse, you see blood and/or mucus in your stool or you lose weight.

Some simple things to do first:

  • Take time to eat and chew well!
  • Cut down on sugar
  • Write down what you eat and when it happens so you get a sense of which foods affect you in this way
  • Maybe you have low stomach acid? There’s a test in the link…
  • Do an elimination diet and find out what foods you’re sensitive to
  • Get some testing done, like a thorough assessment with a nutrition practitioner, a food sensitivity test or a comprehensive microbiome test. I can help you with that – just send me a message or schedule a free call with me here.


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