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bookish1's avatar

Is this going to be forever? (Details inside. Not NSFW, just gross.)

Asked by bookish1 (13069 points ) March 24th, 2013

OK, I’ve been thinking about asking this question for a while now but I’ve been too embarrassed. Please be gentle.
(And yes, I have been feeling a bit like David After Dentist)

I’ve probably lost about 30 pounds since the summer. It’s for good reasons—my medical transition (taking testosterone) is forming a positive feedback loop with my diabetes. My metabolism is much more efficient, I am gaining muscle which burns more calories, and I’m losing weight without even trying. It’s slowed down since I am no longer on the starving-grad-student-in-Europe diet, but it doesn’t look likely to stop.

Here’s the problem, though—it doesn’t look likely that my diarrhea will stop either. It’s not completely watery every time, but it’s rare that I have a completely solid movement. The rule is high frequency every day, about 3–5 times, sometimes much more. This has been going on for months. This is a major pain in the ass (forgive me), and often gets in the way of planning work and social events.

I’m in good general health and have a high protein, high fiber vegetarian diet (and I do eat dairy and eggs). Is there any food or supplement that I can add to my diet to cut down on this chronic diarrhea? I’ve tried searching for information online, but all I find is unsafe tips for losing weight by inducing diarrhea—not my concern at all.

TL;DR: I’ve never gone through a prolonged period of safe weight loss, but I am now. Is it possible to lose weight without having diarrhea, or is that just part of the process?

Thank you in advance for any ideas.

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41 Answers

whitenoise's avatar

Try reducing your lactose intake to none, for a couple of days.

You may have become lactose intolerant. I know a couple of people who have had that happen.

(Stay away from milk and milk products for two days, you should notice a change if this is it.)

bookish1's avatar

@whitenoise: Thank you for the idea. I could try that this week. It could be a contributing factor, but I strongly suspect that the metabolic factors I described above have much more to do with this.

gailcalled's avatar

Should not this be a question for your doctor, given both the seriousness and urgency of the issue? Weight loss by diarrhea is not a good idea, under any circumstance.

marinelife's avatar

Diarrhea is not a part of weight loss. Have you tried immodium? It works for me. I have chronic anxiety and every stress or strain goes right to my digestive system. Wal-Mart sells a generic equivalent for 88 cents that works just as well.

Failing that, my mother (who also is prone to chronic diarrhea) was prescribed a very small amount of an opium derivative which has worked very well for her. Apparently, it’s an old-fashioned cure, but still good.

Coloma's avatar

If you are eating light and also drinking some alcohol on a regular basis this will cause diarrhea too. On the occasions I have just a salad or something lite for dinner and then a little wine or a beer or two I always have an issue the next day.
Try to not drink much alcohol, maybe watch the dairy if you seem sensitive and eat more “binding” foods, like rice. Everyones bodies are different, but when I am dieting or eating light and then have a little alcohol everything jsut goes right through me. lol

Dutchess_III's avatar

Is there a doctor in the house?

bookish1's avatar

@gailcalled: Thank you. I’ll bring this up with whichever doctor I happen to see again first, but I do not feel that it is urgent. I have had illness-caused diarrhea before, and this is not like that. Moreover, I have no signs of illness, and my diabetes makes me very sensitive to that. I am losing weight rapidly because I am going through male puberty in my mid-twenties, after having put on far too much weight in my (wrong, first) adolescence. Maybe I should have included in the details that my diarrhea began in the summer when I was in France. And that was also metabolism and weight-loss related… I was getting by on ~1200 calories a day, walking 10 miles a day, and eating much higher-fiber foods than I was used to.

@marinelife: Thank you. Maybe I’ll get some Imodium. If diarrhea is not a part of weight loss, then where does all of that tissue that you’re losing “go,” if you get my drift?

@Coloma: Thank you for the tips.

@Dutchess_III: Thank you. So you agree that diarrhea is not to be expected as a normal consequence of weight loss?

Coloma's avatar

@bookish1 You should never dip below 1,500 hundred calories or more along with a good supplement. It is almost impossible to meet your bodies daily needs on such a lowcal diet.
You need around 40 grams of protein alone. :-)

bookish1's avatar

@Coloma: Thanks, I’ll know that from now on… I had some serious money problems this summer, what with paying rent in the U.S. and Paris at the same time, my airfare eating up half my grant money, etc. Most days I could only afford two meals a day. I spent a lot of time fantasizing about starch and protein as well as a certain sultry Parisian, haha.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Weight loss itself wouldn’t cause diarrhea, unless you’d drastically and suddenly changed your eating habit, in which case, your body should re-adjust by itself in a week or so.

On the other hand, unrelenting diarrhea can cause weight loss, as well as dehydration. It could be a bacterial infection or a parasite or something. Been to The Chesapeake Bay lately? :)

What does your doctor say?

Coloma's avatar

Maybe you got worms in France. lol

bookish1's avatar

@Dutchess_III : Thank you. OK, I admit defeat, I will ask my doctor about this very soon. I have to see doctors all the time, and I am a hypochondriac, so my first inclination is to put off making appointments for new symptoms. It’s confusing that I don’t have any other signs of illness, though.

@Coloma: Yep, it must have been all that pain au chocolat…

marinelife's avatar

@bookish1 It is burnt up in the furnace of your metabolism.

bookish1's avatar

@marinelife: Thank you. Dang, maybe I should have asked this question here months ago >_>

Dutchess_III's avatar

..But, once the diarrhea is taken care of you might start gaining weight back…you know. But you’ll be a LOT healthier. Yeah, please. Go to the doc.

zenvelo's avatar

You may need to look at how to bulk up your stool. This can be done with some carbohydrates, perhaps a baked potato with butter and veggies.

Have you probiotics without dairy? Good bacteria will overcome the bad bacteria that may cause you to have loose stool.

Just a couple of suggestions, I am not at all an expert. Good luck to you!

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yougert is a good probiotic.

Coloma's avatar

Of course then, if you bulk up on too many carbs you can become impacted.
If you run a naso-gastric tube down your nostril into your stomach and flush with a gallon of mineral oil.
You should come out of your colic. Works for horses. ;-) lol

Dutchess_III's avatar

But not at the dinner table.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Chronic diarrhea can cause real problems such as electrolyte imbalances that can make you quite ill. Use loperamide (generic Imodium) to get that under control. Follow the directions on the package. Cut down some on your fibre intake and add a banana per day to your diet to replace the lost potassium. Trying a holiday from dairy may help settle things down.

I hope you are feeling better soon.

geeky_mama's avatar

You’ve gotten fantastic advice above from better qualified folks than me.

I just wanted to ask if you’d found this website already.. it seemed like good info.

Best to follow Dr L’s path..trying out the BRAT diet (bananas, rice..etc) and if it doesn’t resolve with that or probiotic yogurt consider going to the Dr. to make sure it isn’t something else (e.g. if you’ve had a hospitalization and then this sort of diarrhea my first guess might have been C. diff…)

bookish1's avatar

@zenvelo: Thank you. Maybe I have been too extreme in my low-carb diet… Any excuse to eat more potatoes!

@Dutchess_III: Thank you. I eat Greek yogurt at least once a day, sometimes more. It’s one of my staple vegetarian-grad-student proteins.

@Coloma: Once I met a sea turtle who became impacted from eating too much squid :’-(

@Dr_Lawrence : Thank you. I’ll invest in some Imodium and I also plan to take a dairy vacation this week to see if I am becoming lactose intolerant. Are you a real MD by the way?

@geeky_mama: I know about the Transitional Male and similar websites, but thank you very much for the thought. :) No recent hospitalizations, and I have not been anywhere that it’s not safe to “drink the water.”

If I had some sort of infection or parasite, my blood sugar would go nuts. That’s often the first way that I can detect some sort of problem before I have any other symptoms. But my blood sugar has been in excellent control, for what it’s worth.

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

@bookish1 I have had similar issues but I also have bipolar and just recently have learned that I have irritable bowel syndrome you may have that? I started taking a probiotic and have no issues now. Also there is such a thing as diabetic diarrhea

So apparently after I went to the doctor for the issue he thinks I have symptoms of ms. You probably have something totally different. But I’ve been waiting like over 6 months to get an appointment with a specialist. If I don’t have that I just have a life filled with odd sypmtoms. I had to find something for my gut since I have become exercise obsessed if I didn’t look after it I’d probably end up in the hospital. But I am still extremely exhausted and I am losing weight and gaining muscle but I oddly don’t feel like it’s getting easier I feel like its getting harder, so I don’t know anymore.

bookish1's avatar

@nofurbelowsbatgirl : Thank you. Yeah, I have been thinking it might be GI neuropathy, one of many fun long term complications to expect with type 1 diabetes… I’ve got to talk with my doctor about this soon. Hope you can figure out what’s wrong with you as well.

Kardamom's avatar

Diarrhea is not a part of a healthy weight loss system. You should definitely check with a doctor to see what is going on with you, especially because it has been going on for awhile. Please make an appointment tomorrow.

bookish1's avatar

@Kardamom : Yes’m. Thank you!

Kardamom's avatar

^^ If I had diarrhea for more than one day I’d be in the doctor immediately. I couldn’t live like that and it amazes me that you’ve been able to function normally at all, what with your busy schedule and stuff. Be well, my friend : )

Maybe you’ve eaten too much Kerala mix, heh heh : P

bookish1's avatar

@Kardamom : Thank you. I really thought that it was metabolism related, since it started when I was in France and lost so much weight so quickly for obvious reasons. I’ve just got used to it since then O_o

And I’ve discovered that actually, too much Kerala mix has the opposite effect :-p

Silence04's avatar

Don’t know if this was mentioned. But have you been been exposed to any water in the wilderness or other forms of unfiltered/untreated water (pond water, mud, etc). Chronic diarrhea and weight loss are the main symptoms if you have a parasite.

Coloma's avatar

@Silence04 Yes Giarrdia ( sp?) is nasty. Domestic animals can get it too.
Good point.

bookish1's avatar

@Silence04 : Thank you for the thought, but I have not been in contact with untreated water. I’ve only been in the U.S. and western Europe in the past year. And I have type 1 diabetes and I would have known by now if I had a parasite. I’m really thinking it’s some fun little complication of diabetes now. Have an appointment with my doctor soon.

Inspired_2write's avatar

After 35 years my son just found out that he is lactate intollerant.
Same symptoms as you have.
Get checked for that. and avoid milk/dairy products.
Try soymilk etc

bookish1's avatar

@Inspired_2write: Thank you. I’m taking a break from dairy this week just to see.

But I’m thinking that diabetic neuropathy of the GI tract fits the symptoms very well.
Loathesome disease.

Dutchess_III's avatar

HAVE YOU GONE TO THE DOCTOR’S YET??

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

By the way, I am a real doctor in the sense that I have a earned PhD. I am not an MD which is equivalent to a master’s degree, In England, among other countries, medical doctors are addressed as Ms, Mrs, or Mr. followed by their family name, People with earned doctorates are addressed as doctor.

I do not, nor have I ever practiced medicine. My research was in several branches of internal medicine, mainly in areas related to epidemiology. I am not a medical doctor. My advice is based on personal experience as an adult and as a parent. I do not pretend to off medical opinions or diagnoses. That would be inappropriate!

bookish1's avatar

@Dutchess_III : No, not yet. I couldn’t make an appointment til next Friday… Thank you for asking.

@Dr_Lawrence : Thank you for explaining. I did not know about the forms of address in Britain. I will be a doctor in the same sense some day, gods willing :)

Dutchess_III's avatar

I will be checking this thread, @bookish1, checking up on you!

bookish1's avatar

Thanks again to all Jelly responders.
It took 3 visits to my GP to determine that I probably have IBS. I blame the insane stress of grad school. So yes, it might be like this forever. Ugh. I am just trying to mitigate it by eating even more fiber and trying to exercise regularly. Gonna look into probiotics as well, I guess.

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

@bookish1 Your a vegetarian right? The reason I am asking is because I learned that while just cutting out meat and still eating cheeses and dairy I was still having a similar problem.

Then my mom goes and tells me that when I was a baby I was extremly allergic to milk, that I couldn’t drink it, I’d scream and carry on if I did. Not to mention it’s the same thing my daughter has which I know is lactose intolerance because the doctor we had was very good, anyway my daughter has chosen to eat meat and dairy and still has issues, I’ve tried to tell her and I teach through example that living healthy means you will be healthy but she is her own person so she has to learn on her own and I can’t force her.

But anyway my mother for some odd reason just assumed that my I had some “baby” thing I would grow out of. Wtf. So years later she tells me about it and so now I’ve become full vegan and I’ve cut out cheese and dairy and I actually feel way better.

Geez, we aren’t supposed to drink other mammals milk after we’re weaned anyway I think that’s why there are people who have issues with milk because we actually aren’t supposed to be drinking it. We are what we eat, aren’t we that’s why I was sick all the time :/
Just in case you didn’t know that and maybe that is something you could explore if you haven’t already.

bookish1's avatar

@nofurbelowsbatgirl : Thank you. I’ve been vegetarian more than half my life now, so this symptom is not the result of a recent change.
When I was trying to figure out what was wrong, I cut out both dairy and gluten for a week, and still no change. Besides, I am diabetic and have to travel often for work, so it would be suicide to go vegan. I wish I could, but not in this lifetime. Also, I am half Indian and so half of my ancestors have been drinking milk about as long as they’ve had settled civilization, so I really don’t think that dairy is the problem.
I have better luck when I can exercise regularly and eat A LOT of fiber, haha. I think my year in France will be very good for my health. It’s much easier to eat fresh non-GMO food, and get tons of exercise over there.

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