Eating fried foods causes weight gain

Avoid the unintentional sprint to the toilet

The so-called imperative to defecate and the impossibility to control defecation are very stressful and can lead to social isolation (and to the knowledge of every toilet in the area). This condition can be accompanied by cramps, pain, gas, nausea, or other discomfort. The imperative urge to defecate is usually the result of accelerated intestinal transport, with the arrival of large amounts of liquid or soft stool in the lower colon.

Causes and clarifications

Irritable bowel syndrome is the most common cause of sudden urge to defecate after eating, especially in younger people. About half of the patients with irritable bowel syndrome have an imperative to stool with abdominal discomfort after eating. More recent studies show that fructose, lactose or sorbitol intolerance favor these symptoms in up to 70 percent of patients with irritable bowel syndrome. In these intolerances, a genetic or inflammation-related decrease in digestion (malabsorption) of the sugar leads to the formation of increased gas and chemical substances that cause the symptoms. These intolerances are diagnosed using simple breath tests. In most cases, the symptoms disappear with a corresponding change in diet.

Gluten sensitivity or celiac disease occurs in around one percent of the European population and can explain diarrhea, gas and cramps. However, it can also occur without any noticeable symptoms. The diagnosis is made using samples of the small intestine, taken with a mirror, or by taking blood.

Up to a quarter of people with sudden urges and thin stools due to irritable bowel syndrome are caused by bile salts. Here bile salts cause an excessive formation of intestinal fluid and an acceleration of the intestinal transport. A reduction in bile salts through medication leads to a decrease in the symptoms associated with fat intake.

These food-related causes are usually first clarified in people under 40, unless there are additional alarm signs such as blood in the stool, weight loss, vomiting or a familial accumulation of gastrointestinal tumors. In these cases, or in people over 40 years of age, endoscopies are preferred to rule out inflammatory bowel diseases or tumors. Colon cancer can lead to altered stool consistency and frequency and also to abdominal discomfort, but usually only when the cancer is relatively advanced. Therefore, nowadays from the age of 50 - or earlier if there is a family history - a preventive colonoscopy is recommended.

Intestinal infections can occur through contaminated food, especially when traveling abroad. Although most gastrointestinal infections subside spontaneously after a few days, changes in the stool and abdominal discomfort can persist for years, even if the original germ has not been detectable for a long time (post-infectious irritable bowel syndrome). Intestinal infections are clarified with stool samples. These clarifications are carried out by the family doctor in cooperation with the gastrointestinal specialist (gastroenterologist).

The function of the anal sphincter also plays an important role in regulating bowel movements. A sudden urge to defecate is more likely to occur after eating if the sphincter is weak. The sphincter muscle function is painlessly and easily clarified on an outpatient basis using pressure measurement and ultrasound. Abdominal complaints, however, are not explained by a reduced function of the sphincter muscle. In many cases, in addition to a weak sphincter muscle, there are also causes for thin stools, which a specialist clarifies as an isolated repair of the muscle will not solve the problem.