Watery Diarrhea: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

watery diarrhea

You know those dodgy gas station tacos would come back to bite you. But they were so darn good!

The next morning, you were attached to the toilet as your body emptied its contents in a gush.

When it comes to things your body does that do not feel good, diarrhoea is pretty high on the list. It may leave you weakened, exhausted, and even in the hospital if you’re not careful.

Interestingly, not all diarrhoea is the same. It may surprise you to know that there are different types of diarrhoea with various symptoms, causes and treatments.

In this article, we will learn about watery diarrhoea.

What is Watery Diarrhea? 

Watery Diarrhoea or liquid poop refers to stool’s increased frequency and fluidity. It is defined as the passage of loose, watery stool (as opposed to formed stool) three or more times a day. 

Diarrhoea is a very common occurrence with around 179 million cases per year in the United States alone.  

Watery Diarrhea (Liquid Poop) Causes

There are many reasons that may lead to liquid poop. Sometimes it may seem to develop without any cause but rest assured there was probably a causative agent behind it. Here are some of the causes of watery diarrhoea.

  • Infection- Infection by parasites, bacteria such as E. coli and C. difficile and viruses like enteroviruses and rotaviruses is the most common cause of diarrhoea. They typically enter our bodies through contaminated food and water. 
  • Medication- Many medicines may interfere with our intestinal mobility. Chief among them are antibiotics. Antibiotics are essential for fighting harmful bacteria during infections but also indiscriminately kill the good bacteria in our gut which leads to liquid poop. Laxative abuse may also lead to you needing to poop several times a day.
  • Food Intolerance- Extremely spicy foods may lead to intestinal upset and liquid poop. Water diarrhoea may also result from intolerance to certain food groups such as milk and milk products.
  • Digestive Tract Disorders- Disorders of the intestines such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease(IBD), Celiac Disease or even tumours may lead to continuous watery diarrhoea. 
  • Surgery- Surgery for fistulas, haemorrhoids etc may also lead to liquid poop.


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    What are the symptoms of Watery Diarrhea

    The most noticeable and uncomfortable symptom is the increased frequency and liquid nature of defecation. Make note of the colour of your stool as it may point to the causative agent (for example iron supplements may give a black colour to stool) Other symptoms include-

    The most dreaded complication you ought to be on the lookout for is dehydration. It may be fatal if undiagnosed. Replenishing both electrolytes and water is essential. 

    Also Read: Keto Diarrhea: Symptoms, Causes & How It Can Go Away

    Watery Diarrhea Treatment

    More often than not, diarrhoea is self-limiting and subsides on its own within a day or two. Continuous watery poop for a long time such as more than 3 days necessitates a trip to the doctor.

    Here is the treatment modality-

    • Avoid spicy and greasy foods as they will further irritate your intestines.
    • Avoid milk and milk products.
    • Drink boiled water and replenish electrolytes through Oral Rehydration Solution or ORS.
    • Eat a gut-friendly diet such as the BRAT diet which comprises bananas, rice, applesauce and toast.
    • Strictly avoid alcohol and caffeine.
    • If needed, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to you.
    • For diarrhoea due to chronic causes, lifestyle modifications or surgical intervention may be necessary.

    How to Prevent Watery Diarrehea

    Diarrhoea may easily be prevented through some simple precautions

    • Wash hands well with soap and water before and after touching food or eating.
    • Boil or purify water before drinking.
    • Make sure raw foods are well washed and cooked foods are cooked thoroughly.
    • Avoid extremely spicy or greasy foods.
    • Get vaccinated or take doctor-recommended antibiotics before travelling to avoid the traveller’s diarrhoea.

    Also Read: Diarrhea And Weight Loss: Causes And Treatments


    Diarrhoea can be troublesome and debilitating. Liquid poop drains us and can be embarrassing as well. It may be caused due to a multitude of reasons but thankfully the treatment is relatively simple. Armed with the right knowledge you’ll be able to look after yourself and your loved ones.

    Watery Diarrhea Related FAQs

     What type of diarrhoea is watery?

    Acute diarrhoea, which usually lasts for around 2 days, is watery in nature.

    When should I be worried about watery diarrhoea?

    If watery diarrhoea lasts for more than 2 days then it is fairly concerning. If you see blood in your stool or if liquid poop is accompanied by fever and chills then you ought to consult a physician immediately.

    What should I do if my diarrhoea is like water?

    If you’re having liquid poop for a few hours then you need not panic. Diarrhoea is usually self-limiting and the main thing you should worry about is getting adequate nutrition, electrolytes, water and rest. 

    What does it mean if your diarrhoea is very watery?

    If your diarrhoea is very watery it probably was caused due to an infection or upset stomach due to food intolerance. It indicates that your body is rapidly losing water.


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