ZocdocAnswersWhy do I get chronic diarrhea after eating?

Question

Why do I get chronic diarrhea after eating?

I am 27 year old female with average body weight. I have been having excessive gas and bloating followed by chronic diarrhea for years. It usually happens after I eat, and sometimes during the meal. Its seem to be triggered mostly by oily foods, tomato paste, fruit, milk and cheese. But even when cutting out these foods it still occurs. I always wondered what could be causing my stomach to react this way to food. Or if I'm having some kind of allergic reaction to the food I'm eating.

Answer

Chronic diarrhea, excessive gas and bloating that has persisted for years is certainly an indication for going to see your primary care doctor. Diarrhea can be a signal of poor absorption of food, which can subsequently lead to under-nutrition in a time when your body is still growing strong (especially your bones). Your symptoms may very well be food-related. If you notice that you fast for a day and your symptoms stop, then it is likely something that you are ingesting. Lactose intolerance is a condition in which the gut fails to adequately digest dairy products; any kind of milk or cheese or ice cream could bring about your symptoms if this is the case. Another possibility is celiac disease, a condition in which the body cannot digest foods containing gluten. If this is a concern, then you can try following a gluten-free diet for a few weeks. In any case, you should definitely see your physician. He or she can do some blood tests to make sure that you are maintaining adequate nutrition, and can use blood tests to look for iron deficiency, celiac disease and thyroid disease. If your symptoms persist, then you can be referred to a gastroenterologist for further work-up.

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