Why Do I Have to Poop After I Eat?

It is quite normal to have a bowel movement after you eat something, but if that happens often, it could indicate an underlying condition. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may lead to this issue, but other things may play a role. It is important to talk to your doctor in case you have other symptoms as well, such as abdominal pain, constipation, etc.

Is It Normal?

Your stomach gets stretched after you have a meal. Once it is full enough, the nerves in your stomach signals your large intestine to get ready to evacuate some of what you have eaten. This leads to the contraction of muscles in your large intestine and you have a bowel movement. What it means is that you do not usually need to worry when you have a bowel movement soon after eating something. It is quite normal in most cases.

It is worth mentioning that many people experience the same issue, but they manage to resist the temptation to go to the bathroom. However, it is not a good idea to postpone the call because it could lead to several complications. You should see your doctor in case you have the urge to empty your bowel every time you eat something. It may indicate a problem in the GI system.

Why Do I Have to Poop After I Eat? 

So many factors can play a role here. Here are some possible causes of having the urge to poop after you eat. 

1. Bowel Irritation

The bowel becomes hyperactive when its lining is inflamed or irritated. Because of this, there is a decrease in bowel transit time. The stomach content will move faster and you may have to use the bathroom after eating your meal. This movement is called peristalsis, which starts at the esophagus and then extends down to the rectum. Sometimes, a bowel disorder can exacerbate these movements, resulting in an urge to poop after you eat.

2. Inflammatory Bowel Disease

IBD can be of two types – Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis – and refers to the inflammation in the intestines. The inflammation can lead to multiple daily bowel movements, abdominal pain, stomach pain after eating, and blood in the stools. You may also have an urgent need to poop. Ulcerative colitis only affects the colon, but Crohn's disease can affect the entire GI tract.

3. Bile Acid Diarrhea

Why do I have to poop after I eat? It could be bile acid diarrhea. Research shows that people who have bile acid diarrhea are often misdiagnosed with IBS. Your gallbladder secretes bile acids that help you digest fats. It is important that these acids are absorbed again by your body or else they will lead to contractions in your large intestine. This can result in diarrhea. What causes BAD is not clear yet, but it could be the result of an illness involving your pancreas, gallbladder, or small intestine.

4. Lactose Intolerance

When you have lactose intolerance, your body cannot digest a certain type of sugar, called lactose, which is found in milk and milk products. It means that you will have a bowel movement (diarrhea) after consuming dairy foods. The use of breath test may help confirm the diagnosis.

5. Celiac Disease

When you have celiac disease, your immune system reacts when you consume gluten, a protein found in rye, wheat, and barley. You will have diarrhea after eating wheat, but your stool may float rather than sink. It is important to talk to your doctor if you have chronic diarrhea after eating because celiac disease needs medical attention or else it may cause several complications.

6. Colon Cancer

Why do I have to poop after I eat? It could be colon cancer. You develop colon cancer when cells in the rectum or colon start growing abnormally and affect normal bowel function. This cancer type is curable 90% of the time, especially when diagnosed early. Along with an urgent need to poop, you may also have abdominal and stomach pain. A change in the size or shape of your bowel movements, blood in your stool, and ongoing diarrhea are some other signs of colon cancer.

7. Microscopic Colitis

It is different from ulcerative colitis. Even though the cells in the intestinal lining will become inflamed, they will only be visible under a microscope. What causes this condition is not clear yet. Along with an urge to poop, you may have some other symptoms as well, such as intermittent or persistent episodes of diarrhea.

What Can be Done to Help?

"Why do I have to poop after I eat?" Your doctor is in the best position to answer this question. You should schedule an appointment, especially if you have some other symptoms as well. It is important to follow your doctor's advice to manage your condition better. Here is what else can be done.

  • It is a good idea to eat smaller meals more often than having three large meals throughout the day. You may want to avoid fatty foods, such as fatty meats, fried food, and thick gravy.
  • Make use of relaxation exercise because this helps your brain and your gut. Learn to manage stress better because it can always be one of many triggers for diarrhea. You can try progressive muscle relaxation or breathing exercises to help control your stress.

When to See a Doctor

You usually do not have to worry when you experience diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms occasionally, but you should see your doctor if you have to go to the bathroom after every meal. Here are some situations when you should seek medical help:

  • You have diarrhea that does not improve after three weeks.
  • You have diarrhea along with a fever higher than 102F.
  • You have diarrhea along with severe rectal or abdominal pain.
  • You have diarrhea that is black, bloody, or gray.
  • You experience signs of dehydration, such as dizziness, thirst, weakness, etc.
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