What to Know About Fire Poop

Medically Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on June 01, 2021

Everyone's had diarrhea at some point. Notably, it's different in adults and children. ‌

‌Various factors can trigger this condition, including:

  • Contaminated food. Contaminated food can cause an eruption of E. coli or Salmonella bacteria. While most of the strains are safe, some E. coli bacteria cause diarrhea.
  • Contaminated water. Dirty drinking water can cause an eruption of the giardiasis virus, which causes diarrhea. 
  • Viruses. A condition like acute gastroenteritis is transmitted through drinks and food. It's caused by viruses such as rotavirus.

If you've had diarrhea for more than four weeks, with stools that are inconsistent, loose, more frequent, and sometimes burning, you might have chronic diarrhea. This condition generally has three classifications:

  • Watery diarrhea. There are many causes of this type of diarrhea, but it's mostly due to an intolerance of lactose, fructose, or antibiotics.
  • Fatty diarrhea. This form of diarrhea is caused by impaired fat digestion and is brought on by low pancreatic enzyme levels and malabsorption of fats due to small bowel disease. This condition can occur, for example, from issues such as chronic pancreatitis. 
  • Inflammatory diarrhea. This is characterized by blood and pus in the stool. Invasive bacteria and parasites also produce inflammation caused by Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome.

Symptoms of Diarrhea

If you have diarrhea, you may be experiencing some of the following issues:

  • Uncontrollable bowel movement
  • Blood in the stool
  • Nausea
  • Hotness of the body (fever)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Urgency to go to the toilet
  • Vomiting

Tests to Diagnose Diarrhea

There are several tests that doctors can carry out to determine if you're suffering from diarrhea. These include: 

  1. An endoscopy.  This test involves the use of an endoscope, or a thin pipe instrument with a camera at the tip.
  2. Hydrogen breath test. This test determines a person's level of lactose intolerance. Here, physicians measure a patient's hydrogen levels after consuming a lactose-filled drink. Usually, hydrogen is detectable on your breath. If you're lactose intolerant, the hydrogen levels are generally high. 
  3. Blood tests. Blood is the easiest way to determine what is affecting your stool flow. Diagnosis of infectious diarrhea conditions is made through blood work. 
  4. Stool test. Stool tests determine whether you're suffering from conditions affecting your blood, such as parasites or bacteria. Usually, we expect the presence of these organisms in the body. However, a stool test can separate the different bacteria types.
  5. Fasting test. This test eliminates the foods that are causing diarrhea. Separating foods by avoiding them can help you isolate what triggers diarrhea. 

Changes You Can Make

If you're experiencing a bout of diarrhea, the following changes could help alleviate the condition: 

  • Avoid alcohol to prevent dehydration, which can lead to adverse effects.
  • Maintain a well-balanced diet throughout the period you're sick.
  • Stay hydrated. 

Treatment of Diarrhea

These practices are effective in treating diarrhea:

  • Using over-the-counter medication. Depending on the condition of diarrhea, it can be treated using over-the-counter medication. These types of medicines are advised against when blood is present in the stool. Additionally, when diarrhea happens for more than two days, you should seek medical aid as soon as possible.
  • Hydrating. It's vital to drink plenty of fluids to replenish the water lost during the condition. Adults should consume drinks that contain salt, sugar, and water. Children should also maintain their hydration levels. Infants, for example, should continue their regular suckling despite their lack of appetite. 
  • Taking anti-diarrhea medication. For persistent diarrhea, patients are advised to use medication to treat the condition. 
  • Taking painkillers. While these don't treat diarrhea, they can help sort out arising ailments such as headaches and fevers.
  • Treating underlying conditions such asirritable bowel syndrome. Making dietary changes can help manage the disease. 
  • Treating inflammatory bowel. This is generally done with medication. 
  • Excluding foods from your diet. If you have an intolerance toward certain foods, eliminate them from your diet. 
  • Treating bile malabsorption. This will help prevent bile buildup.

Preventing Diarrhea

Generally, regardless of the cause, use primary hygiene conditions to prevent diarrhea. Here are some tips that can help you prevent the condition: 

  • Incorporate the best hygiene practices in everything you're handling to avoid the spread of viruses that cause diarrhea. 
  • Ensure your food is properly cooked.
  • Ensure your drinking water is treated or boiled. 
  • Vaccinate children against rotavirus. This prevents the spreading of this type of virus.

Show Sources


American Academy of Family Physicians: "Evaluation of Chronic Diarrhea"‌

American College of Gastroenterology: "Diarrhea Diseases – Acute and Chronic."

National Institutes of Health: "Diagnosis of Diarrhea."

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: "Symptoms & Causes of Diarrhea." 

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: "Hygiene-related Diseases."‌

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