Diarrhea After Eating – Causes, Treatment

Diarrhea after eating

Acute diarrhea after eating can indicate allergies or intolerance to certain food (components). However, there may also have been salmonella contamination, incorrect fermentation, poisoning or spoiled food components. The temporal connection to the meal can be shorter or longer. In addition, many other causes are conceivable.

What is diarrhea after eating?

Diarrhea after eating can usually be directly linked to a meal. According to the definition, diarrhea after eating is only a temporal assignment. It does not always have to be a causal connection.

For example, diarrhea after eating can also be triggered by the norovirus . Those affected have usually been infected with this in a completely different context. The fact that the diarrhea occurred after eating actually has nothing to do with the food components that were just ingested. In this context, the EHEC epidemic should be mentioned. This was caused by contaminated sprouts that the trade had unknowingly circulated. Nobody could have protected themselves against it.

Since the connection to this component of a meal was not established for a long time, the cause of the diarrhea epidemic was not found. In most cases, however, the cause of diarrhea can be identified. There is an exception if the diarrhea indicates an unknown illness and is not due to a meal. The temporal connection with a meal could then lead to misinterpretations.


Many causes can lead to diarrhea after eating. Contact with the contagious norovirus can be seen as an infectious cause. Contaminated and improperly stored or prepared food can also cause diarrhea after eating. Rare salmonella contamination often occurs with raw egg dishes or meat that has not been heated through .

However , diarrhea can also indicate an intolerance to certain foods or food components. Lactose intolerance or celiac disease are examples that can lead to diarrhea after eating. An allergy to certain food components or groups can also cause diarrhea after eating. Diarrhea after eating should not be underestimated if it is due to fish or meat poisoning or poisoned food.

In many cases, irritable bowel syndrome or an irritable stomach lead to diarrhea after eating. Whether these diagnoses are correct should actually be investigated. But when a patient with diarrhea symptoms goes to the family doctor after eating , the composition of the intestinal flora is only checked in the rarest of cases.

Diarrhea after eating can also be triggered by an overgrown intestinal flora with an imbalance of good and bad germs. The intestinal flora is particularly damaged after the use of antibiotics . It must then be sanitized by appropriate measures if diarrhea occurs after eating while taking it.

diseases with this symptom


Diarrhea after eating can lead to various complications depending on the colour, consistency, blood admixture and frequency. Diarrhea after eating is particularly dangerous for young children and the elderly. If it lasts longer, it can be a harbinger of a serious illness or intolerance.

Diarrhea caused by bacterial contamination, flora problems or other causes of diarrhea after eating should be clarified if it occurs repeatedly. One of the possible complications of persistent diarrhea can be dehydration with electrolyte losses. This complication can lead to life-threatening collapses in young children and the elderly, in chronically ill and immunocompromised people.

The diarrhea can be accompanied by additional vomiting . Diarrhea that has become chronic after eating can lead to nutrient imbalances and harmful bacterial overgrowth in the intestine . Cancer can turn out to be a particularly serious complication. In this case, the diarrhea after eating is only a first warning shot for an otherwise symptom-free development. If the diarrhea is ignored for a long time, complications are inevitable.

It makes sense to take preventive measures if diarrhea occurs frequently after eating. This is the only way to avoid later complications. A complication of antibiotic-induced diarrhea that occurs after eating can result in skin rashes and discomfort . This can herald a dangerous allergic reaction to the antibiotics. Diarrhea that occurs after eating poisonous mushrooms, nuts contaminated with aflatoxins or other toxins in food should not be underestimated. There may be a risk of death here.

When should you go to the doctor?

If the diarrhea occurs only once after eating, a doctor’s visit is usually not necessary. There may have been something indigestible, fermented, or spoiled in the meal. Rest, a light diet and home remedies usually help. However, if the diarrhea persists for days after eating or recurs after consuming certain foods, a doctor or nutritionist should be consulted. If necessary, the family doctor will decide whether further measures are necessary.

The same applies to severe diarrhea and persistent liquid diarrhea with vomiting. There is a higher risk potential, especially in young children and the elderly. Therefore, the doctor is more likely to be consulted here than with a robust twenty-year-old who has looked too deep into a beer glass. At the slightest suspicion that the diarrhea after eating is due to poisoning with botulinum toxin, rat poison, toxins such as arsenic or fungal toxins, the emergency doctor should be called.

In this case, other symptoms are usually recognizable. These indicate poisoning more clearly than diarrhea . In the case of allergies and intolerances, the extent of the symptoms determines whether a doctor needs to be called. If necessary, the affected person should have the hospital clarify what he cannot tolerate. Otherwise, a gastroenterologist should be consulted. Through surveys, colonoscopies , flora examinations and sonography , he can find out what causes the diarrhea after eating.


Diagnosing diarrhea after eating is difficult at first. The acute event often prevents a prompt visit to the doctor. Most of the time, however, the diarrhea will go away on its own after a day or two. The cause of the discomfort was then often the food eaten. A self-diagnosis is usually sufficient.

When a norovirus is at work, an ambulance often needs to be called because of the severity of the symptoms. This makes the diagnosis on the basis of questioning and the symptoms. If the cause of recurring or chronic diarrhea after eating is unclear, a more extensive diagnosis is necessary. This is often done by a gastroenterologist, a specialist in internal medicine or an allergy specialist. In addition to questioning and a blood count, there are various diagnostic options to choose from.

Your family doctor could also carry out a sonography and examination of a stool sample . Routinely surveying the flora status would make sense. However, the flora status is usually not collected because the health insurance companies do not cover these costs. A gastroscopy or colonoscopy can be carried out in a clinic or by a gastroenterologist who specializes in this. If anything is unclear or a more precise diagnosis is required, an MRI or CT scan may also be necessary. As a rule, these diagnostic possibilities produce a result that is meaningful.

Treatment & Therapy

For self-treatment of diarrhea after eating, one day of diet or light food is usually sufficient. If necessary, green healing earth and warm tea can contribute to detoxification. Homeopathic remedies such as Okoubaka or Nux Vomica are possible supporters of self-treatment. The treatment of intolerances and allergies is more complex. The basis for improvement in both cases is usually the consistent avoidance of the triggering foods.

Sometimes a rotation diet is enough to relieve the organism. In exceptional cases, treatment with lactase can be helpful in cases of intolerance to lactose. However, it is not suitable as a long-term treatment. Rather, anything containing lactose must be greatly reduced or avoided altogether. In the case of celiac disease, the triggering gluten must also be avoided permanently. A diet with gluten-free foods is sufficient as a measure. The possible secondary diseases of a gluten-free diet require a separate therapy.

In the case of genuine allergies to food components, cross-allergies can complicate matters. Good education is therefore a therapeutic way to help the patient. The treatment of poisoning depends on its severity. In mushroom poisoning, diarrhea is an alarm signal that requires immediate clinical treatment. The same applies to diarrhea after fish and meat poisoning.

Here the accompanying symptoms are so severe that a complex detoxification and cleansing of the poisoned organism becomes necessary. All treatment options depend on the triggering element causing the diarrhea. The attending doctor decides which measures are necessary in detail.

Outlook & Forecast

The prognosis is good for acute diarrhea that occurs after eating. Usually no medical treatment is necessary. However, the situation is different in the case of food intolerances that are not recognized and therefore not treated. The organism can get used to the allergen through frequent intake. He caps the symptoms and tries to deal with them.

If the symptoms persist, damage to the intestinal flora, chronic nutrient deficiencies and metabolic derailments can result. If the intolerable foods are consistently avoided, the prognosis is better. The forecasts for allergies and poisoning are less positive. The associated diarrhea and accompanying symptoms can be serious. The weaker those affected are and the later they receive professional treatment, the worse the prognosis.

In the case of poisoning treated too late, consequential damage often remains. In the case of allergies, desensitization can improve the prognosis. Homeopathic or naturopathic approaches are also helpful. However, consistent avoidance of allergens is even more important. In the case of cancer-related diarrhea after eating, the prognosis is better if the early detection measures offered have been used.

Keeping the intestinal flora intact through a suitable diet improves the prospects of a symptom-free life. The greatest possible avoidance of antibiotics and of meat from fattening farms contaminated with them also helps to achieve a good prognosis.


Not every diarrhea after eating can be prevented. However, as a preventive measure, it makes sense to always use freshly made sensitive foods and never eat uncooked eggs. Meat – especially minced meat – and fish should always be eaten well cooked. Good kitchen hygiene is the be-all and end-all of prevention.

Appropriate food storage and refrigeration can also prevent post-meal diarrhea. Frequent hand washing prevents accidental transfer of germs from Feces bacteria to food. There is little defense against norovirus or food poisoning on a cruise ship. However, it is possible to select one’s diet in such a way as to avoid gluttony and an overly colorful mix of intolerable, sensitive and difficult-to-digest foods.

Drinking fermenting drinks such as sparkling wine, kombucha or beer can also cause diarrhea after eating. Sensitive people should avoid unfamiliar food and drink combinations when traveling. This is especially true for visits abroad. All food that comes from street kitchens or wild collection should be avoided here.

Above all, only boiled water or mineral water should be drunk from a tightly closed bottle that has not yet been opened. If you cannot tolerate certain foods but do not want to avoid them completely, you can try a rotation diet.

↳ Further information: Home remedies for diarrhea

You can do that yourself

Every person can do a lot on their own in order not to experience diarrhea after eating. If intolerances or allergies develop in the course of life, self-help groups are a good source of help. Reading relevant books and collecting suitable recipes will help those affected to eat a varied and healthy diet.

Consultations in pharmacies and the health food store are available to people with lactose intolerance and celiac disease. The Internet also offers a wealth of information. It is a good idea to always have green healing clay in the house to counteract acute diarrhea. If necessary, nutritional advice can offer good approaches to improve the nutritional situation. This can often minimize the risk of diarrhea after eating.

Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.