does constipation lead to diarrhea?

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Shyman asks:

I had a backed-up problem recently. Then I ate tuna casserole, and an hour after eating, I sat and crap flew out of my backside fast-paced like. My question being: is constipation then diarrhea -- without laxatives -- normal? Or did the food I ate evacuate my bowels?

Dear Shyman,

While it's tempting to blame the tuna casserole, it probably was not the immediate culprit. It usually takes food at least several hours to a day to make the journey to freedom.

There are lots of things that could be going on. IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) can sometimes cause symptoms like alternating diarrhea and constipation. Could be something bad you ate during the day prior to the diarrhea.

If this happens infrequently, I'd put it down to one of those poop mysteries that will likely never be solved. If it seems to happen on a regular basis, go to the doctor and let him figure it out.

But don't be so quick to blame tuna. I love tuna. My tuna casserole would NEVER give you the runs.

Good luck!

Please be advised that I am only a Poonurse. I am NOT a medical doctor. Any advice I give should be taken moderate skepticism. Please consult a REAL medical doctor if you feel you have a serious medical condition.

-- Poonurse

Poonurse is an RN with 25 years experience in labor and delivery. Her qualifications include seeing a lot of poop, and owning a computer. Also, she works in Michigan, which she calls the asshole of the universe, so that's another bit of credibility.

Got a question for her?

85 Comments on "does constipation lead to diarrhea?"

badshits's picture

Hi, I too have OCD, I found that my tablets made my diarrhoea. worse and made me very light headed. I suffer daily from stomach cramps and abnormal poop patterns,had a colonoscoopy some years back and all to no avail ("probably IBS") So I put my problems down to anxiety and IBS, so maybe your it's OCD and the increased anxiety isn't helping you bowel issues?, thats my ten-pence worth anyways, good luck

sneakers's picture

Yeah, I'm 14...and stuck with IBS. It sucks with school. My stomach has been killing me all week. The hard thing with IBS is I don't know when its the IBS or something serious when my stomach starts to hurt. And since my moom knows I have IBS, when I do have something like the stomach flu she just tells me it's the IBS and makes me go to school.

Ugh, it's awful. My stomach hurts so bad and I can't sleep....haven't been able to sleep allllll I'm searching the web.

poo man's picture

About a week ago I had constipation for 3 days then I took some ex lax + prune juice = the trots! then I was constipated for another 3 days again... so I drank more prune juice and got the trots again. today I got the shits again. I hope tomorrow goes "regular". overall the trots are a lot better then constipation though. butt the combination is quite an unfortunate pain in the ass very literally.

eldred's picture

Holy shit, no pun intended, I have been backed up for about 3 weeks now and I eat like a crazy man. I'm afraid when its time it's going to be a volcano of joy because I think I'm going to explode. I really need to shit like you dream about. All I do is think about how I can't believe I haven't shit yet.

poop-sickle's picture

So I have similar issues to a few of those above. I will have durations of endless constipation. Like I eat sufficient amounts, but hardly go! It is SO annoying...
And then suddenly, I'll eat something and it is like-POOF-I hit a magic button that makes my insides feel the urge to completely crumble.
I'll have this KABOOM of bad cramps. Like hunched over in pain cramps. And then I will have to use the restroom on and off for a few hours. YUCK. Can it just come out little by little, like must it come out ALL at once. That is so inconvenient. AND not to mention, PAINFUL. This happens to me once-twice a month. SOMETIMES around the time my "friend" visits, but not always. IT really sucks. I tell my Dr.'s but they tell me to drink plenty of fluids, exercise and eat better. I EAT FIBER BARS. I exercise. NOT talking cardio, but I am no couch potato either. AND I basically live off water. There is no reason for constipation honestly. I just wanna be regular. It would be nice.

ChiefThunderbutt's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatorf 5000+ points

poop-sickle, Fiber bars are candy with added fiber, try eating natural foods that are rich in fiber; prunes, apples, pears, whole grain breads, etc.

How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on!

How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on!

Traveler Woes's picture

During the second to last week of June (the 20-26th) I was in New York, sightseeing. On Thursday the 23rd, I woke up with a very painful stomachache, and didn't eat breakfast that morning. For the next week or so, I continued to experience stomach pains and gas. The weird thing was, I WASN'T CONSTIPATED. I was pooing like normal. Finally, yesterday (July 1st) I had had enough, and went to the doctor. The doctor said I was "full of stool," and prescribed a laxative and a stool softener. I didn't take them last night because I was still on an herbal remedy my parents had made me, and I wanted to make sure nothing interfered with the medicine, I planned to take them tonight. But today, I didn't poo all day, and an hour ago I had diarrhea. It wasn't an "explosion," but a good amount came out. This is very weird, can someone please help? It's never happened before, and I don't have IBS (at least I don't think so...) And should I still take the laxatives? .__.

pretty girl poop's picture

Help! I feel like I need to have diarrhea but it's nothing. My colon feels like its about to explode out of my butthole. I feel pressure down there just nothing helps!!

I-No-Poo's picture

I just want to comnent for now that I feel everyones pain. For me it seems ever since I hit the later portion of my teen years. I need a bigger intake of fibre. I get constipated at least twice a month and it's not fun so I understand how everyone feels and my heart goes out to you. I am a male, but I am also very sensitive to others feelings and just going through it myself I feel for you guys.

Anonymous's picture

Hi. I've had really bad pains in my belly since like 5th grade and I'm 16 now. I've been the doctor soooo many times and they couldn't figure it out. My most recent doctor diagnosed my with constipation and did an xray that she said showed that I was really backed up. She put me on a bunch of medicine, stool softeners, stuff that makes me go and some suppository stuff. I haven't taken any of it yet because I was in the middle of transfering to an online school and I didn't want to have to go at school because honesly I'm not even comfortable going at home when there are people here. Also, I've never had trouble going when I need to and it came out pretty easy. Anyway, I had some steak the other night and it gave me the really uncomfortable diarrhea that burns like acid or something for the entire day and I was in the bathroom every like 15 minutes and my boyfriend was over. It was TERRIBLE. I didn't go again after that night till I tried some more steak, only like a half a piece, and it gave me the diarrhea again but this time there were a few solids too. Since then, a couple days, I haven't gone again. I tried to go today because I felt like I could but it just wasn't happeneing and when I pushed it hurt really bad in my left side. I have been sick lately too and my dad insists that I had a virus or something but I feel like hes wrong. Should I just take the medicine my docotor gave me or eat different or what? And I've been really nauseous, bloated, and having headaches and heat flashes like crazy could this be from whatevers going on with my body? and finally for the women on here, could constipation cause irregular periods or could all of this be from being on the pill?

Anonymous's picture

Hey guys, I have quite a lot of GI issues, the current being months of constipation now followed by horrible diarrhea. I will share with you what I do know as I saw some comments from people that are similar to what I have been/am going through. If you are female and you notice changes in your poo habits related to your cycle, by all means get yourself checked out for endometriosis. I had a really hard time believing that I could have endometriosis because I did not have the "classic" mindblowingly painful menstrual cramps that I thought were associated with it but many women inclusing myself have it associated with your bowels. Sadly mine had caused adhesions to form between my bowel and my uterus so the surgery has had a lasting impact on me. The pain and constipation (especially on the left side) should NOT be ignored. Please don't let your @ss docs tell you the pain is nothing. I ended up in the ER recently because of how severe the pain and constipation had become (especially on my left side). It turns out I have diverticular disease. I am 35 and not something the doctors seemed to consider because of my age but it definitely happens. I wish I understood the full reasoning behind my diarrhea now but I am guessing it is either stuff escaping through the constipated region or my colon is really irritated and has switched over to diarrhea after all the stress from diverticulitis. I have a small bowel study in a couple days and a colonoscopy/upper endoscopy so I am sure I will get more definitive answers then. Oh, I forgot to mention that I am also finding blood in my urine. The GYN is checking for infection but it may also be related to diverticulosis or something else entirely.

Anonymous's picture

I can totally relate! It could be the OCD, I know when I have an anxiety attack, it gives me diarrhea. It has something to do with anxieties effect on your nervous system. I am emetophobic (Fear of puke) so any slight stomach discomfort sends me into a panic that usually makes me more sick than I am. I am in a bout of loose stools after a 4 day constipation, I drank alot of apple juice while I was constipated so I think that's what caused it. When you're constipated, my doctor recommended stool softener, not laxatives. You could try that. Hope this helps!

Anonymous's picture

I wont go for a few days, then I'll have a ball of poop. Within a few minutes after leaving the bathroom I'll have a turd like a snake, and after that full blown Hershey squirts till I'm all cleaned out.

Sometimes when I have a big turd and I am in a hurry, I'll get some TP and push on that spot between your butthole and jigglybits. It coaxes it out.

ChiefThunderbutt's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatorf 5000+ points

So most of your shitting is done after you leave the bathroom? How novel!

How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on!

Anonymous's picture

You should get your thyroid checked, a lot of your symptoms sound like mine, also check for allergies, celiac, and other autoimmune conditions.

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