Although it is uncomfortable, burning diarrhoea is not usually a sign of a serious health condition. Most cases resolve within a few hours or days on their own, or with the help of basic home remedies.
What is burning diarrhoea? Diarrhoea occurs when the intestines do not absorb enough fluid from the body’s waste. This means a person will experience fluid-filled, loose stools passed with or without pain 3 or more times daily. Sometimes, especially in intense or chronic cases, diarrhoea can cause a painful, burning sensation. When food enters the stomach, particular acids and digestive enzymes attach themselves to it and begin breaking it down.
By the time food has passed through the small intestine, where bile is added to the mixture to help absorb nutrients, these acids and enzymes should be neutralized. Diarrhoea speeds up the digestion process, so foods are often not broken down properly, which means stomach acids, digestive enzymes, and bile may still be present in diarrhea. These can damage tissues and cause a burning sensation.
Physical trauma: Because foods may not be entirely broken down when they leave the body, large, rough foods, or those with edible seeds, pods, or shells may rub, cut, or even cause small tears in delicate rectal tissues. Occasionally, just the increase in wiping, even with soft bathroom tissue, is enough to cause irritation.
Spicy foods: Some spices contain chemical compounds that cause a burning, warm sensation when exposed to tissues. Capsaicin, the primary active ingredient in most spicy foods, is also used in over-the-counter numbing products. Capsaicin can irritate digestive tissues, triggering diarrhoea. As diarrhoea speeds up the digestive processes, the capsaicin consumed in spicy foods may leave the body before being broken down, causing a burning sensation.
Other common causes of burning diarrhoea include:
- alcohol abuse
- artificial sweeteners
- fructose, a naturally occurring sugar found in fruits
- laxative abuse
Associated conditions: There are a number of conditions that can increase the risk of burning diarrhoea.
IBS and other gastrointestinal disorders: Diarrhoea is a common symptom of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). For people with IBS, diarrhoea can be chronic or may alternate between periods of constipation.
According to one study, people with IBS-D (IBS with diarrhoea) experience an average of 200 episodes of gas and diarrhoea per year. Other gastrointestinal conditions known to cause chronic diarrhoea include:
Hemorrhoids: Are swollen veins in the lower rectum or around the anus. They are often irritated by episodes of diarrhoea and can cause a burning, painful sensation.
Food allergy or intolerances: When the small intestine senses a compound or substance that it is allergic to, it sparks an immune response. One response is diarrhoea, which works to remove the irritant as quickly as possible.
Food poisoning: Nearly all types of food poisoning cause diarrhoea. Some cases of food poisoning may last for several days, weeks, or even months, increasing the chances of irritation from frequent wiping. Most types of bacterial and parasitic infections require medical treatment.
Antibiotics: May cause diarrhoea by disturbing the natural balance of intestinal microbes, allowing bacterial overgrowth or infection by toxin-producing bacteria. Cases of antibiotic-associated diarrhoea may require medical treatment.
Surgery or medical therapies: According to the American Cancer Society, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and several other cancer management medications can cause diarrhoea. Tumor growth itself can also cause diarrhoea.
Diarrhoea caused by cancer therapy can last for up to 3 weeks after treatment sessions end. Surgeries involving the gastrointestinal organs are also known to cause diarrhoea.For bothersome, intense, or chronic cases of burning diarrhoea, a few at-home remedies may help reduce symptoms without dramatically interfering with the immune process. Diarrhoea usually causes fluid loss, so increasing fluid intake can help prevent dehydration.
It may be helpful to drink more water during periods of diarrhoea, but it is also important to replace salt and sugars with things such as saltines and diluted juice. An alternative is oral rehydration solutions that contain electrolytes and can be purchased at most pharmacies. A person should also try to consume bland foods, such as toast, rice, or bananas if they are experiencing symptoms of diarrhoea. Dense carbohydrates can help make stools more solid.
Yogurt may also help restore the natural balance of gastrointestinal flora, or microbes, after diarrhoea. A person with burning diarrhoea should also:
- avoid spicy foods or food allergens
- be as gentle as possible when wiping
- wash the area with lukewarm water and scent-free baby wipes
- sit in a warm bath with Epsom salts
- avoid dehydrating foods, such as caffeine or alcohol
- avoid tobacco
- apply a water-repellent cream or ointment to the affected area
- avoid foods high in sugar or fat
- use over-the-counter hemorrhoid creams
- use over-the-counter pain medication
- use probiotic supplements
Source: Medical News Today