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It’s common to have a bowel movement at a regular time of the day, like when you wake up every morning. However, having loose or watery stools, or diarrhea, can be a sign of a problem in your digestive tract. You may be able to control your symptoms by carefully monitoring your diet. However, if you have an underlying condition that’s leading to your morning diarrhea, you may need to talk to your doctor about your treatment options.


[Edit]Adjusting Your Diet

  1. Keep a food diary and avoid any foods that make your diarrhea worse. Each day, write down everything you eat, and the times of day you eat it. In addition, use an asterisk or other symbol to keep track of days when you experience diarrhea in the morning. Then, look for patterns and consider avoiding foods that may aggravate your condition. Some foods that commonly lead to diarrhea include:[1]
    • Spicy food
    • Dairy
    • High-fiber foods like vegetables, cabbage, dried beans, and corn
    • Fruits, juices, and beverages with caffeine
    • High-fat foods like sweets, chips, and fatty meats
    • Artificial sweeteners
    • Nuts and nut butters
  2. Ask your doctor about trying an elimination diet. An elimination diet can help you identify the source of your diarrhea by eliminating a variety of potential triggers and then gradually adding them back into your diet. Work with your general practitioner, an allergist, or a dietitian to help you plan your elimination diet effectively.[2]
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    • These diets typically involve avoiding all possible trigger foods completely for 2-4 weeks. After that time, you can start adding foods back one at a time, adding a new food every 3 days. If your symptoms return, you’ll be able to tell which food(s) caused the problem.
    • When you start an elimination diet, your symptoms might briefly get worse before they get better. If foods are the problem, you should see a significant improvement after about a week. Let your doctor know if your symptoms persist or become worse.
  3. Talk to an allergist about managing your diet if you have food sensitivities. If you keep a food journal and you start to notice a pattern in the food you eat and the symptoms you experience, make an appointment with an allergist. They can perform skin or blood tests that will indicate whether you’re sensitive to those foods. They can give you advice on how to manage those sensitivities.[3]
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    • An allergist might also be able to help you determine whether you have a condition that’s aggravated by food, like IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease), or celiac disease.

      Tip: If your morning diarrhea is due to a condition like pregnancy, cancer, or a medication you’re taking, consider talking to a nutritionist about how you can manage your symptoms with your diet.

  4. Eat soft, bland foods if you’re experiencing severe diarrhea. If you’re having stomach cramps and frequent, loose stools, stick to soft, easily digestible foods. Also, since fiber can worsen diarrhea symptoms, stick to low-fiber foods like yogurt, rice, white bread, and lean meats. As your symptoms start to subside, you can begin adding the foods you normally enjoy back into your diet.[4]
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    • For instance, you might stick to the BRAT diet, which stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast, until your symptoms subside.
    • To replace nutrients lost due to diarrhea, add in foods containing sodium and potassium, like broth, sports drinks, and mashed potatoes as you can tolerate them.
    • While it’s typically best to avoid dairy when you have diarrhea, eating low-sugar yogurt can help balance the bacteria in your digestive system. However, avoid yogurt containing a lot of sugar, as this can make your diarrhea symptoms worse.[5]
  5. Drink 2–3  qt (1.9–2.8 l) of liquids a day while your symptoms persist. While it’s always important to keep your body hydrated, it’s essential when you have diarrhea, since your body is losing liquid. However, water alone doesn’t contain the electrolytes or nutrients your body needs, so try to include other liquids while you recover. For instance, throughout the day, you might sip on fluids like broth, sports drinks, fruit juice, and herbal or caffeine-free tea with honey.[6]
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    • Sometimes hot or cold beverages can worsen diarrhea, so it may help if your drink is about room temperature.
  6. Try to drink most of your fluids between meals, rather than with them. While it’s fine to have a few sips of water while you’re eating, drinking a lot of liquids with your food can encourage your body to digest it more quickly. When you have diarrhea, you want to slow that process as much as possible.[7]
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    • For instance, you might have a few sips of water with lunch, then wait about half an hour before having another beverage.
  7. Eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day. Instead of eating 3 large meals a day, try to have smaller meals and snacks around 5-6 times a day. This may help your body regulate its digestion more easily, which can help get your stools back to normal after a few days.[8]
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    • For instance, you might have a slice of toast and a banana for breakfast, yogurt for a mid-morning snack, broth with rice for lunch, applesauce for an afternoon snack, and a grilled chicken breast with mashed potatoes for dinner.
  8. Relax for 20-30 minutes after you eat. Try not to get up and rush off as soon as you finish eating. Instead, sit back and relax for about half an hour after your meal, if you can. That can slow how quickly your body digests your food, which may help prevent diarrhea.[9]
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    • Even if you do have things to do right after eating, try to avoid any strenuous activity or exercise for half an hour to give your body time to digest your food.
  9. Avoid drinks that are high in caffeine. Highly caffeinated beverages, such as coffee and energy drinks, can cause diarrhea. Avoid drinking energy drinks or consuming more than 2-3 cups of coffee or tea each day.[10]
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    • If you’re a big coffee drinker, ease back on the amount you drink gradually to avoid headaches and other caffeine withdrawal symptoms.
    • Some sweeteners can also cause diarrhea, so be careful of sweetening your coffee or tea with sugar substitutes such as sorbitol.
  10. Limit your alcohol intake to no more than 1-2 drinks a day. Alcohol can make diarrhea worse, so it’s best to avoid it entirely if you’ve been having diarrhea in the mornings. However, even after you’re feeling better, limit your intake to 1-2 drinks a day at the most to help keep your morning diarrhea from returning.[11]
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    • A standard serving for a drink is 12  fl oz (350 ml) of a beer with 5% alcohol, 5  fl oz (150 ml) of wine that’s around 12% alcohol, or 1.5  fl oz (44 ml) of a distilled liquor that’s 40% alcohol.[12]
    • If alcohol seems to trigger your symptoms or worsen them, avoid drinking it altogether.
    • If you need help to quit drinking, talk to your doctor about treatment options like therapy or a support group.[13]

[Edit]Making Lifestyle Changes

  1. Try stress relief techniques for anxiety-related diarrhea. Nerves can have an effect on your stomach, so if you’re dealing with anxiety or stress, it might help to try deep breathing exercises each day. For instance, when you feel tense, you might breathe in as you count to 5, hold that breath for 5 counts, then exhale for 5 counts. [14]
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    • Other techniques for managing stress include exercise, yoga, and mindfulness or meditation exercises.
    • To help prevent new stress, learn to say no if you’re overloaded. Also, when you’re confronted with a stressful situation, focus on what you can control instead of what you can’t.
  2. Quit smoking if you’re a smoker. Giving up cigarettes or e-cigarettes can be really hard, but if you’re dealing with chronic morning diarrhea, the added nicotine may be irritating your bowels, making your symptoms worse. Ask your family and friends for support as you try to quit, and talk to your doctor about cessation aids if you can’t quit on your own.
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    • If you smoke, you may have an increased chance of developing Chron’s disease.
    • Unfortunately, you might also experience digestive problems while you’re trying to quit smoking. Nicotine gum or medications like varenicline and bupropion may help with that. Also, keep in mind that these symptoms will be temporary, and the trade-off for your long-term health is much higher.[15]
  3. Add supplements to your diet to regulate your digestive system. If you experience morning diarrhea often, adding a supplement like psyllium or pectin might help alleviate your symptoms over time. Taking a psyllium supplement may help firm up your stools, while a pectin supplement may slow your body’s digestion.[16]
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    • A probiotic supplement might also be helpful for regulating the bacteria in your gut. If you prefer, however, you can add probiotic-rich foods to your diet rather than taking a supplement, including yogurt, miso, pickles, tempeh, kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, and sourdough bread.[17]

      Tip: Always talk to your doctor before you start taking a supplement.

    • Some supplements may worsen diarrhea, such as flaxseed oil, senna, activated charcoal, bee pollen, cayenne, and guarana.
  4. Try prebiotic foods or supplements. Prebiotic foods help feed the good bacteria that are already present in your gut. These foods contain fibers that are indigestible by humans, which the bacteria in your digestive tract can ferment to create a healthier environment in the gut.[18] Incorporate prebiotics into your diet, such as:
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    • Whole grains (such as oatmeal, whole grain breads and pastas, and bran cereals)
    • Garlic
    • Apples
    • Bananas
    • Prebiotic supplements, as recommended by your doctor or dietitian

[Edit]Working with Your Doctor

  1. Talk to your doctor about severe or persistent morning diarrhea. Having occasional morning diarrhea isn’t necessarily anything to be alarmed about, and it can likely be managed through changes to your diet. However, if your symptoms interfere with your life, occur daily and don’t improve after 2 weeks, or become severe and persist through the day, make an appointment with your primary care physician. Also, contact your doctor if you experience symptoms such as:[19]
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    • Dark urine or small amounts of urine
    • Rapid heart rate
    • Headaches
    • Dizziness
    • Fatigue, irritability, or confusion
    • Severe pain in your abdomen or rectum
    • Tar-like or bloody stools
  2. Work with your doctor to identify the possible causes of your diarrhea. Chronic diarrhea can have a variety of possible causes. Talk to your doctor about getting a proper diagnosis so you can treat the problem appropriately.[20] Your doctor may wish to do a physical exam and lab work to confirm or rule out a variety of conditions, such as:
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    • Irritable bowel syndrome
    • Celiac disease
    • Hyperthyroidism
    • Pancreatic insufficiency
    • Diabetes
    • Side effects from certain medications, such as antibiotics
  3. Take an antidiarrheal for quick relief. If you’re experiencing morning diarrhea that isn’t severe or long-lasting, try an over-the-counter medication like loperamide or bismuth subsalicylate. For longer-lasting symptoms, your doctor might prescribe an antidiarrheal like octreotide or a corticosteroid to reduce the amount of fluid in your digestive tract. In severe cases, your doctor might admit you to the hospital to get fluids and nutrients intravenously.[21][22]
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    • These medications typically come in tablet form, although you may be able to find a liquid form for faster-acting relief. Either way, follow the dosing instructions on the label carefully, and don’t take more than the recommended amount.
    • If you’re pregnant, talk to your doctor before you take these or any other medications.
    • Avoid anti-diarrheal medications if you believe your diarrhea is caused by an infection or a parasite. Your body needs to completely excrete the bacteria, virus, or parasite, and the medication can prevent that, prolonging your symptoms.[23]
    • Before prescribing medications such as octreotide or corticosteroids, your doctor will likely wish to perform tests, such as a biopsy or colonoscopy, to confirm that these medications will be effective for you.
  4. Take antibiotics if your diarrhea is due to an infection. Diarrhea is frequently caused by infections, including the yeast candida, bacteria like E. coli, or parasites. If your doctor determines that you have one of these infections, they’ll prescribe you a course of antibiotics to treat it. Be sure to take the whole course of antibiotics to ensure the infection is gone, even if your symptoms go away.[24]
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    • Antibiotics won’t be effective against viral infections that cause diarrhea, including norovirus and rotavirus.[25]




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