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Burning Diarrhea - Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

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Burning Diarrhea - Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

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Burning diarrhea may be quite uncomfortable, as anyone who has encountered it can relate. Read on to learn about the symptoms, causes, and treatment.

Written by

Dr. Preetha. J

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Jagdish Singh

Published At November 18, 2021
Reviewed AtNovember 9, 2023

What Is Burning Diarrhea?

Nobody likes having diarrhea, and it can occasionally be a sign of another condition as well. A burning feeling in the rectum or anus is one of the additional symptoms that can occur along with diarrhea. This is described as ‘burning diarrhea.’ The strong bowel evacuation will not be painful, but the burning feeling in the rectum or anus will be excruciating.

The poor absorption of adequate fluid from bodily waste by the intestines results in diarrhea. As a result, a person may suffer loose, fluid-filled feces three or more times each day, with or without experiencing rectal pain.

What Are the Causes of Burning Diarrhea?

There could be various causes for burning diarrhea. The following are the most typical causes of burning diarrhea:

1. Consuming Hot Foods (Capsaicin):

Warm stools are typically seen in the colon and rectum of the abdominal cavity. However, burning in the colon, rectum, or anus is a sign of inflammation. However, eating a lot of spicy food might occasionally also result in burning diarrhea. If one notices any changes in the bowel movements, it is best to see a doctor.

Generally found in spicy foods like peppers, capsaicin is a naturally occurring chemical. One of the most prevalent causes of burning diarrhea is eating spicy or capsaicin-containing foods. This capsaicin will burn the skin when it comes into contact with it and may even trigger asthma attacks. This substance causes burning diarrhea when consumed, along with nausea, vomiting, and cramping in the stomach. Consequently, those with sensitive stomachs, peptic ulcers, digestive issues, or irritable bowel syndrome should avoid it. A burning feeling can also be caused by acidic chemicals in the stool.

Other elements that may contribute to burning diarrhea include:

  • Alcohol misuse.

  • Coffee.

  • Abusing laxatives.

  • Synthetic sweeteners.

  • Fructose.

  • Stress.

2. Hemorrhoids:

Hemorrhoids can be caused by prolonged constipation as well as other circumstances, including applying too much pressure or stress to the anus. Hemorrhoids are nothing more than irritated veins in the anus or rectum. Hemorrhoids are also a common cause of burning diarrhea, although more frequently in conjunction with constipation. Pain and a burning feeling may result from the irritation of these inflammatory veins during bowel movements.

3. Medication:

Antibiotics and other medications are common sources of burning diarrhea. Antibiotics disrupt the physiological environment of beneficial microorganisms in the intestines, causing bowel issues. Bacterial overgrowth or infection by toxin-producing bacteria can result from an imbalance in the natural balance of beneficial bacteria in the intestine.

4. Irritable Bowel Syndrome:

The symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can include burning during bowel movements, pain, and frequent diarrhea. One of the reasons for burning diarrhea is IBS. Hormonal fluctuations, overstress, and specific food types are a few frequent causes of IBS. IBS symptoms can include:

  • Bloating.

  • Gas.

  • Stool with mucus.

  • Pain in the stomach.

  • Cramping.

  • Alternating between diarrhea and constipation.

Symptoms can differ from one individual to the next. The signs and symptoms of IBS can occasionally come and go.

5. Injury and Irritation:

When constipation is experienced regularly over a short period, it can irritate the anus and perhaps even cause tissue damage. Wiping the anal area repeatedly after a bowel movement is another factor that may irritate and injure the anus. When there is inflammation and injury in the area, even soft toilet paper could be problematic. Fecal particles on the anal skin might occasionally persist even after insufficient cleansing. An inflammatory response and a burning feeling may result from the wound and discomfort.

6. Fever:

When diarrhea has an infectious cause, such as bacterial or viral gastroenteritis, fever usually follows. It is also possible for diarrheal stools to feel warmer than usual due to an increase in body temperature. Even a tiny shift in stool temperature can be misinterpreted as burning diarrhea in a very sensitive individual.

7. Proctitis:

Proctitis is an inflammation of the rectum. Numerous variables, including injuries, allergies, irritability, infections, and autoimmune conditions like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), can cause it. Numerous infectious pathogens, some of which are sexually transmitted, can result in infected proctitis. Infections of the rectum cause pain, burning sensations, diarrhea, blood or mucus in the stool, and a persistent urge to eliminate feces.

8. Colorectal Cancer:

Burning diarrhea can be a symptom of more serious illnesses, such as colorectal cancer. When a malignant tumor penetrates the tissue of the rectal area, it may hurt or burn. In addition, other symptoms, such as rectal bleeding may occur along with diarrhea. It is more likely for these symptoms to be misdiagnosed as other illnesses, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or hemorrhoids.

How to Diagnose the Cause of Burning Diarrhea?

The methods to detect the cause of burning diarrhea are:

  • Digital Rectal Examination: To feel for growths or lumps, the doctor will place a gloved and lubricated finger inside the butt.

  • Colonoscopy: An endoscope, equipped with a tiny light and camera, is used to inspect the colon and rectum in order to check for conditions such as internal hemorrhoids. These are more prevalent in those over 50.

How to Manage Burning Diarrhea?

The management of burning diarrhea usually includes lifestyle alterations and simple treatments. Some of the ways to treat burning diarrhea include:

1. Dietary Modification:

Individuals should cut back on their intake of spicy food if they feel that their burning diarrhea is caused by overindulging in it. Keep a food journal to identify trigger foods and make a conscious effort to stay away from them. Eat things that help with digestion and stomach calming. Probiotics, such as yogurt or buttermilk, can help with digestion and lessen the symptoms of burning diarrhea.

2. Fluids and Electrolytes Replacement:

Typically, diarrhea results in significant fluid loss. Therefore, it is crucial to replace the salt and sugar lost as a result of diarrhea; hence anyone experiencing diarrhea of any form should take oral rehydration solutions that contain electrolytes.

For the treatment to be effective, treating the underlying cause of burning diarrhea is also necessary in addition to lifestyle changes. The severity of the illness and the frequency of loose stools influence the course of treatment for diarrhea.


Burning diarrhea is a condition that can be brought on by spicy foods, skin irritation, an anal fissure, or other problems. Following diagnosis, the goal of treatment is to manage the underlying ailment and reduce symptoms. To get an accurate diagnosis, it is advisable to speak with a healthcare provider if the cause is unknown or if symptoms do not go away. They will be able to provide options for therapy so that one can stop having burning diarrhea.

Frequently Asked Questions


What Leads to Burning Diarrhea?

Burning diarrhea is having diarrhea (watery stools) along with symptoms like abdominal pain and rectal itching. Some of the following reasons can lead to burning diarrhea such as -
 - Spicy food.
 - Hemorrhoids.
 - Irritable bowel syndrome.
 - Injury and skin irritation.


How to Control Acidic Diarrhea?

Acidic diarrhea can be prevented by taking a low-fat diet and a medicine called bile acid binder. The low-fat diet helps in reducing the symptoms of bile acid diarrhea. Drinking plenty of water and taking medicines that attach to the bile acids in the gut is also helpful in treating this condition.


How to Reduce Burning While Pooping?

Patients can use over-the-counter hemorrhoid creams to reduce discomfort. Moreover, witch hazel pads can also help in reducing burning and itching. Ice packs can be used in case of swelling, along with a sitz bath (soaking in warm water) for 10 to 15 mins twice a day can also be done.


How Does Bile Acid Diarrhea Feel Like?

Bile acid diarrhea can cause various signs or symptoms, which feels like a burning sensation during the bowel movement, and additional symptoms can also occur, such as -
 - Pain during, before, or after the bowel movement.
 - Rectal bleeding.
 - Stomach pain.
 - The urgency to have a bowel movement.
 - Itching around the anal area.


What Is the Color of Stool in Bile Diarrhea?

The stool color is usually affected by the type of food a person eats and the amount of bile. Bile is a yellow-green fluid that helps digest fats in the stool. Therefore the brown-colored stools are normal. However, they should consult the doc if the stool color is black or red.


What Causes Watery Stools?

Watery stool or diarrhea is commonly caused by an infection or food poisoning from eating undercooked meat or rotten foods. Frequent watery stools can lead to dehydration and cause weakness. The patient should look out for blood in stools and drink more water and fluids with electrolytes to balance the nutrients in the body.


What Does Yellow Liquid Diarrhea Mean?

Yellow liquid diarrhea can indicate several things. First, it can occur due to a problem in one of the digestive organs or an underlying liver or gallbladder disorder. It can also occur due to gut infection, and bright yellow liquid stool is more commonly seen in giardiases, an infection caused by an intestinal parasite that a person can get infected with by drinking contaminated water.


What Does Fatty Acid Diarrhea Mean?

Fatty acid diarrhea is also known as steatorrhea. This means too much fat in the stool. It usually occurs due to the malabsorption of fat in the body. However, this can occur due to a problem with one or more body organs.


Is Imodium Good for Bile Acid Diarrhea?

Three medications can be prescribed to treat bile acid diarrhea. These include Colesevelam, Colestyramine, and Loperamide. Imodium works by slowing the contractions of the intestines, therefore, decreasing the speed at which the content passes through the intestines, which helps in the reabsorption of fluids and nutrients.


Which Vitamin Deficiency Can Lead To Diarrhea?

Vitamin B12 deficiency can affect the digestive system. The deficiency of vitamin B12 can lead to a decrease in red blood cells leading to less oxygen in the gut. Insufficient oxygen in the gut may lead to a feeling of both sick and may cause diarrhea.


How Long Can Diarrhea Last?

Diarrhea can last for up to five to seven days in children. However, it lasts up to two weeks in children. In adults, diarrhea usually gets treated within two to four days; however, in serious cases, it can last a week or more. Patients should seek medical advice if diarrhea stays for a longer duration.


Is Diarrhea a Symptom of Gallbladder Sludge?

Gallbladder sludge occurs when it does not empty properly, and particles like calcium salts and cholesterol accumulate in the bladder, thicken, and turn into biliary sludge or gallbladder sludge. However, diarrhea is not linked with it, but a person may experience clay-like stools in this condition.
Dr. Jagdish Singh
Dr. Jagdish Singh

Medical Gastroenterology


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