Intermittent fasting is not quite for everyone. Some people reject the idea of doing intermittent fasting because of the challenge of eating within a tiny window of time. Imagine squeezing in 3000 calories in less than 8 hours. It probably would be a hard feat, especially if you opt for whole foods. Then there are symptoms like intermittent fasting diarrhea that can really throw people off.
In the first few days of taking the plunge on intermittent fasting, you may experience some difficulties during the adjustment period. Some of these symptoms include:
- Hypoglycemia. Despite having body fat that contains calories, hypoglycemia can cause low energy, dizziness, exhaustion, and other related reactions. Hypoglycemia is energy-draining and can be potentially dangerous.
- Fasting will initially do a number on your muscle mass. So, you might notice a decrease in your muscle mass, but this is quite normal.
- Mood changes. You can get cranky when you begin your fasting journey. You might feel grumpy or lethargic that people may stop hanging out of you. Try eating something before going out with your friends, so you don’t snap at people while out and about.
- A tendency to binge-eat during the feeding window is a lot possible. Once they start munching, they find it hard to stop until they are practically immobile. Mindful eating will be your best defense during these moments.
These are some of the difficulties related to intermittent fasting. But, in this article, the primary focus of this article is diarrhea related to intermittent fasting.
Why Do You Get Diarrhea while Intermittent Fasting
Some people experience bowel movement changes in the early days of intermittent fasting. This is because of the change in the microbiome of the gut.
Our excrements are formed through the food that we consumed. The rate of digestion, however, depends on your body. Normally, it takes a day to three days for food digestion. What remains will create the stool. With the rate of motility in the gut, it will take some time to push the excrement out of your system.
When you are fasting, there is a lack of food in your gut. In this sense, there is not enough food to create the stool and speed up the digestive process. Bowels being empty and a reduction in fiber, constipation may occur.
Okay, so if this is the case, then it is impossible for you to experience diarrhea on your intermittent fasting adventure, right?
How can it be possible?
You do not have enough food in your digestive system to manufacture fecal products, right?
Unfortunately, it happens.
It is unpleasant and it can be really difficult during the first few days of intermittent fasting. Guess what? Diarrhea is actually one of the most common problems encountered by people that are new to dieting. The transition is especially worse if the person is used to eating a lot of carbohydrates.
Diarrhea, in this case, is caused by an intense drop in insulin level. Because of this, the kidney is tricked into producing more water. The result? Increased bowel movements and watery feces.
Is There a Remedy to Diarrhea Caused by Intermittent Fasting?
Well, the good news is yes! Here is a simple tip that can help you manage your pesky problem:
Take a cup of water and add a spoonful of psyllium husk. Let it stay there for five to ten minutes. Prepare this concoction every morning. Make sure that it is the first thing you take in the morning.
Fair warning: It is not a delightful drink. You gotta toughen up because you might need to do another round later the same day if it does not do the trick for the first time.
Bear in mind that the body can suffer electrolyte loss when urinating and defecating. If the frequency of these excretions is increased, you might feel the effects of low sodium levels.
Hyponatremia, the term used for low blood sodium levels, such as lethargy, fatigue, and confusion. Sodium has a big role in water and substances regulation in the body. A low sodium level is lower than 135 milliequivalents/liter (mEq/L).
If it goes bad, muscle twitching, vomiting, and seizures may ensue. But before that, some of the early signs are headaches, fatigue, confusion, nausea, lethargy, and tiredness.
What to Do to Manage Diarrhea
If you experienced mild diarrhea, you only need to do a few things:
- Drink a lot of liquids. One of the problems that come with diarrhea is dehydration. You will lose a lot of electrolytes and water for regular body functions. A glass of water, broth, or juices will do. Refrain from grabbing coffee or other drinks with caffeine. Sugary and fizzy drinks are also no-no’s. Of course, it also means alcohol is out of the option. While dairy products are not really forbidden, it is best to avoid them.
- Follow the Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast (BRAT) Diet. These low-fiber foods can help solidify watery stools, ensuring that you will not lose any more water in your system. Apart from that, bananas can help replenish the lacking potassium level. If diarrhea persists for a few days, it is best to be mindful of your food choices.
- Take probiotics in the form of supplements or as food. These live bacteria along with yeast are very helpful in the digestive system. When you have diarrhea, the gut’s normal flora, including the healthy bacteria flourishing in it, is affected. Fermented foods are good sources of probiotics. Have you heard of the temphe and natto? They are both goods in rehabilitating the former environment in your digestive system. Kombucha, tempeh, olives, some cheeses like cottage cheese, miso, and sauerkraut should comprise your new temporary diet.
Once you have tried all of these tips and none worked, it is time to seek help from a medical expert. Severe dehydration can be fatal and should require immediate attention. Consult a doctor for advice or talk to a pharmacist about your concerns.