Explosive Diarrhea: Causes, Treatment And Prevention

3 min read

explosive diarrhea
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We all are pretty familiar with the term diarrhea. It is a condition when you tend to have at least three loose, liquid or watery stools every day. 

But explosive or severe diarrhea is a more adverse condition, where you have more than 10 loose or watery stools in a single day. Sounds terrible, right? Explosive or watery diarrhea causes a person to move fluid or loose stool more regularly and violently than normal diarrhea. 

Explosive diarrhea happens as the rectum is filled with more liquid and gas than it can bear. This raises the loudness of the bowel movement while escaping. 

So, here’s all you need to know about explosive diarrhea and what to do when you encounter one. 

What are the causes of explosive diarrhea?

Explosive diarrhea can be caused by a variety of conditions such as-

Viral infections 

Viral gastroenteritis happens as the infection infects the intestines, inducing watery vomiting coupled with other stomach signs such as cramping and nausea. Some of the most common viruses that can lead to explosive diarrhea include:

  • Rotavirus 

It is the most common reason for diarrhea around the globe. Estimated 40% of people suffering from diarrhea are infected by rotavirus; especially young children. 

  • Norovirus 

It is a highly contagious virus and is responsible for most of the foodborne diseases worldwide. 

  • Adenovirus

Although this type of virus is most commonly associated with the common cold,it could also lead to diarrhea that could last up to a whooping two weeks. 

  • Astrovirus

This virus tends to cause watery diarrhea among young children and adults with a weak immune system. 

Bacterial infections 

Bacterial infections are also a major cause of explosive diarrhea. Some of the major bacteria that can lead to severe diarrhea include – 

  • Cholera 

Cholera outbreak is pretty familiar in many parts of the world. Cholera releases a toxin which causes the release of an increased amount of water from cells lining the intestines. This rise in water can trigger severe diarrhea.

In more serious cases, severe dehydration may cause children and adults to die within a matter of hours.

  • Campylobacter 

This bacteria is a common cause for foodborne diseases. This bacteria species specifically spreads through undercooked poultry and are also found in unpasteurized milk and contaminated water. 

  • E.coli

Escherichia coli or e.coli can lead to a variety of conditions like respiratory illnesses, urinary tract infection and gastrointestinal discomfort. It can spread through undercooked and raw food like ground meat, raw vegetables, sprouts etc.

  • Salmonella 

A salmonella infection is linked to contaminated food; especially raw and processed food such as meat, raw fish, eggs, chicken etc. 

Parasitic infection 

In places with limited exposure to safe water and sanitation, parasitic infections are a common and recurring cause of explosive diarrhea. There are two specific forms of parasites that may contribute to watery diarrhea. They are –

  • Giardia 

Giardia is an infection of the parasite Giardia lamblia in the small intestine. The most common transmission of the tiny worm is by polluted water supplies and bad hygiene. Besides inducing extreme diarrhea, it may also trigger stomach cramps and bloating.

  • Cryptosporidiosis

Cryptosporidiosis or “crypto” is triggered by microscopic parasites that invade the intestines. Crypto is especially prevalent among diaper-age children attending daycare, individuals bathing in or consuming from polluted bodies of water (such as ponds or lakes), and those who frequently travel abroad. 

Lactose intolerance 

Some people tend to be allergic or have intolerance for certain foods. The most common example is lactose intolerance. If a person has intolerance from lactose based products, then they are prone to explosive diarrhea. 

Irritable bowel syndrome 

It is characterized by sudden and frequent bowel movements, loose stools along with abdominal pain, discomfort and gas. It can greatly contribute to irritable bowel syndrome. 

Medications and antibiotics 

Medications can cause mild diarrhea but, antibiotics and certain medications used to treat heartburn or chemotherapy drugs can lead to explosive diarrhea. 

Treatment for explosive diarrhea 

Treating diarrhea is not that difficult of a task. Just some basic measures, and you can get rid of it easily. Some at home treatment options include –

  • Drinking  water and electrolytes is the main therapy for serious diarrhoea. Electrolytes are the minerals that conduct the energy the body requires to function effectively.
  • It is advised to drink as many fluids as possible like fruit juices, water and broths, low sugar energy drinks etc. There are oral hydration products that are primarily designed for babies and adolescents, and contain essential electrolytes. 
  • If your stool is not black or bloody, and you don’t have a rash, you can use over-the-counter ( OTC) anti-diarrheal medicine. Such signs mean that you might have a bacterial infection which would become worse by anti – diarrheal medications. The pharmacies are stocked with OTC medications to treat diarrhea. 
  • As much as you would hate it, but it is suggested to consume bland food during explosive diarrhea. Foods such as porridge, oatmeal, plain rice, or the BRAT diet(bananas, rice, apples and toasts) can help you get through with it. 
  • If the situation gets worse, it is advised to consult your health practitioner for further treatment. 

Tips for preventing diarrhea 

You can’t really predict whether you might catch this disease or not.  Therefore, you can adopt certain precautions to protect yourself and your family. Some of them include –

preventing explosive diarrhea


Two of the major causes of diarrhea i.e rotavirus and cholera can be prevented through vaccination. While rotavirus vaccination is included in a child’s routine vaccination schedule itself; adults can opt for the cholera vaccine. Cholera vaccine is recommended when you are frequently travelling.


Sanitation is the key. Most of the germs that can cause watery diarrhea spread through contaminated food and water; often due to unsanitary or unhygienic conditions

Drinking clean and filtered water, washing your hands after using the washroom, washing your hands after touching pets and washing them before eating are the best ways to prevent infections that can contribute to explosive diarrhea. 

Healthy food practices 

Wash all the fruits and vegetables thoroughly before consuming them, and also peel them if possible. Additionally,  make sure that raw foods like meat and eggs are cooked correctly. 


Probiotics are good bacteria that can regulate the levels of bacteria in your gut. Probiotics can offer protection against the diarrhea which is caused by antibiotics. 

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