A liquid bowel movement, or diarrhea, is usually due to a short-term illness like food poisoning or a virus. However, it can result from a different underlying medical condition.
If your liquid bowel movements are a side effect of a chronic condition, a doctor can usually help you treat or manage them.
This article discusses the various causes of liquid bowel movements, potential complications, and the range of available treatments.
- acute digestive infection
- constipation, since liquid stool can escape around blockages
- digestive tract disorders, like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and Crohn’s
- intolerances such as celiac disease
- history of damage to the anal sphincter
- surgeries like hemorrhoid or tumor removal, or treatment for anal abscesses and fistulas
- malabsorption syndromes
Stool is usually brown because of compounds like bile and bilirubin that are present in it. But if you have liquid bowel movements, you may find the liquid is another color entirely.
Yellow liquid poop
Yellow liquid poop could indicate an underlying disorder in the liver or gallbladder. Bright yellow liquid stool can also be a sign of giardiasis, an infection caused by an intestinal parasite you can get from drinking unclean water.
Green liquid poop
Diarrhea can appear green due to green foods you ate or stool moving too quickly through your colon.
Pooping clear liquid
Intestinal inflammation can cause the secretion of mucus in the intestines. This causes clear liquid bowel movements.
Black liquid poop
Black liquid poop can be a cause for concern because it can indicate bleeding from a location somewhere in the higher portion of the digestive tract.
Loose bowel movements can have a lot of unpleasant symptoms, including:
- cramping and abdominal pain
- urgency for bowel movements that may result in loose stool
If you see unexplained color changes in your liquid bowel movement, especially red, black, or tarry stool, seek emergency medical treatment.
Diarrhea, especially severe or chronic, may cause other complications in your body. These include:
You should always inform your doctor if you experience severe or consistent diarrhea lasting
Ensuring proper hydration and electrolyte balance is essential in all diarrhea management.
If the causes of your liquid poop are acute, symptoms should resolve within a few days. Until you feel better, the goals are to stay hydrated and rest.
Certain home remedies can ease your symptoms and promote recovery:
- Drink plenty of clear liquids. Oral rehydration solutions, like Pedialyte, may also help restore fluid and electrolyte balance.
- Limit physical exertion and rest thoroughly.
- Take over-the-counter medications such as loperamide (Imodium) and bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol, Kaopectate).
When experiencing or recovering from diarrhea limiting intake of certain foods and drinks
Food and drinks to limit or avoid include:
Doctors can prescribe medical treatments to remedy the underlying causes of diarrhea. For example, doctors will prescribe antibiotics to treat bacterial diarrhea and other relevant medications for IBD cases.
In cases of infectious diarrhea, doctors may even warn against taking anti-diarrheal drugs because they may back up the bacteria or viruses in your digestive tract, extending your illness. If you have a high fever or blood in your stool, avoid anti-diarrhea treatments like bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol) and loperamide (Imodium).
Liquid bowel movements often resolve independently as the body passes the bacteria or other harmful factors contributing to your illness.
However, if you have bloody or regular diarrhea that lasts longer than 48 hours, contact a doctor to make sure your symptoms do not get worse.
A doctor may obtain a stool sample to send to a laboratory to test for the presence of certain bacteria, parasites, or viruses.
Liquid bowel movements can lead to cramping, abdominal discomfort, and dehydration.
If your diarrhea lasts longer than a few days, contact a doctor to determine a potential underlying condition. Staying hydrated and eating bland foods can help you regain strength and avoid dehydration.