Discover what causes diarrhoea—and what you can do about it.

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What is diarrhoea?

Put simply, diarrhoea is when you poop a lot—and you may feel you can’t always control it.

It’s normal to pass stools up to three times a day. A healthy stool (a.k.a. a poop) should be solid but not difficult to pass, ideally forming a gentle ‘S’ shape. When you have diarrhoea, your stools tend to be more mushy than solid. They may even be watery.

Diarrhoea often means your digestion is struggling in some way. Thankfully, there’s a lot you can do to help it.

What causes diarrhoea?

Chronic, persistent diarrhoea can be influenced by several factors:


Diarrhoea is frequently associated with SIBO—a condition in which bacteria from the large intestine have migrated to the small intestine, where they cause irritation.

Food sensitivities.

These are a known contributor to diarrhoea. In simple terms, if your body doesn’t like something, it will try to get rid of it as quickly as possible.

Chronic stress.

The stress hormone, cortisol, disturbs the digestive system. It’s a known contributor to symptoms of IBS, including diarrhoea.

Parasites or infections.

Parasites can attach themselves to the lining of the small intestine, affecting nutrient absorption and causing diarrhoea.

Low stomach acid.

Without enough stomach acid, food cannot be broken down properly. This can lead to diarrhoea.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Diarrhoea is frequently associated with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, which are inflammatory conditions of the intestines.

Too much caffeine.

This can act as a prokinetic, meaning it makes food move through the digestive system too quickly.

Too much alcohol.

Alcohol irritates the digestive tract, affecting its function and contributing to diarrhoea.


This is a condition in which you have too much thyroid hormone available. It causes everything to speed up, leading to diarrhoea.

Find out how to improve your gut health, speak to our experts.

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3 natural remedies for diarrhoea

Start with three simple steps:


Keep a food and symptom diary.

This can help you to see patterns between certain foods and worsening of symptoms.

Keeping a food diary

Eat at least 30g fibre daily.

This helps to create a fully formed stool. Fibre comes from vegetables, fruits, wholegrains, beans and legumes.

Scales showing 30g of fibre

Take probiotics.

These have been found to be effective against diarrhoea caused by C. Difficile infection.

Taking probiotics

Or take our free online symptom checker:

Healthpath can help you to identify what’s going on:

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Related conditions

Diarrhoea is associated with other conditions.