Diarrhea- if you have ever had this, then you know how bad it can get. And if you have not experienced it, you are quite a lucky person, luckiest maybe! This condition takes away your control of bowel movements.
When you have to go, you have to go, and there is no otherwise. Unless you are okay with making a mess in public, you have to dash into the nearest washroom.
Now, once or twice will not be a problem, and you can easily solve this. The problem comes about when diarrhea presents every day or every other day. And for some people, this can happen, making them question the role of tea.
This article will cover what diarrhea is all about and whether tea could have an impact on it.
What is diarrhea?
Diarrhea comes about in the form of loose and watery stool movements. These can be frequent such that you end up dehydrated in a short period. And you know that it is almost impossible to hold in this stool.
It comes fast and with some cramps that force you to go then and there. If you are lucky, diarrhea (also referred to as the runs) lasts a short while. You may have some stomach upsets that last a few days; then, they are no more.
That should be the case with most instances. After all, most result from a bug or something. And if they come about owing to a change in diet, you can easily avoid problematic foods.
Now, if the runs continue for weeks, you will likely have a much bigger problem on your hands. You could have a condition such as irritable bowel disorder or another such disease. As such, you should watch your symptoms and know when you should get medical help.
Do you have the runs?
Knowing you have the runs does not take much work. For one, there are the loose and watery stools that are characteristic of this condition. You find that bowel movements take place easily, such that you do not need to heave or anything.
Plus, you get some abdominal cramps owing to the forceful contractions happening in your body. You may also have a fever, feel nauseous, and get bloated. And depending on the cause of the runs, you could have blood or mucus in the stool. With the runs, you also get an urgent need to go number two, even when you have had little to eat.
Should you seek help?
As much as you may think that tea may be to blame, some circumstances call for medical intervention. If the runs continue for more than a few days, you will likely have another problem other than tea exposure.
The same goes for if you become dehydrated, see blood in the stools, become feverish or experience severe pain. The more exposure you have to the runs, the higher your chances are of getting dehydrated. And things can go south fast when this happens. So keep watching your symptoms and report such changes to your doctor.
What causes diarrhea?
Many things are to blame for the runs. Exposure to viruses, bacteria, and parasites is one of the leading causes. A good example would be where you consume contaminated food. Some meds can also cause the runs by altering the bacterial composition in your gut.
Foods can also cause the runs. Take an example of people who are lactose intolerant. When they consume dairy products, they are likely to experience this problem. The same goes for people who are sensitive to fructose and artificial sweeteners.
When the causes do not owe to exposure, the runs can point to digestive disorders like celiac disease. If you suspect that a given food could be causing the runs, try eliminating it. Where this does not work, your best bet lies in getting medical help before the problem worsens.
Does tea cause diarrhea?
Some people take tea and report a queasy stomach afterward, which makes them think that tea is to blame. Is this the case? The answer is yes, for some people. Stomachs are different. That is why you find that some people can spend days eating anything they want and they feel fine.
Others try this, and they end up with nausea and the runs. That is the case with tea. While some people may not react to it, others do. And it comes down to the type of tea, the acidity level of the tea, whether the consumer is hungry, the brew time and additives.
These are some of the most important factors to consider when linking the runs and tea. You might find that the reaction is as to the artificial sweeteners used, and not the tea as such.
How acidic is your tea? You see, not all teas have the same acidity. Some like black tea have a pH of about 4-5, while lemon tea will have about 3. In the case of the latter, you would end up consuming a highly acidic substance.
The tea’s acidity comes down to its compounds, including minerals, polyphenols, caffeine, and amino acids. The processing of the tea also plays a significant role in this. Some teas undergo a lot of oxidization, such as black tea. Others undergo minimal or no processing, such as white tea. That means that black tea will be more acidic than the other types.
The polyphenols in tea, which include the tannins, play a role in the tea’s bitter taste. You know, the bitterer a substance is, the more acid it contains. And that affects how your stomach feels after you consume the given food.
You also affect this bitterness, based on how you make the tea. Maybe you like brewing your tea for ten minutes or more. Doing this raises the caffeine and acidic content of the drink. Taking it this way increases your chances of a harsh reaction.
Some people steep their tea bags in their tea for longer than they should. The longer the bags remain in hot water, the stronger the drink becomes. That may not be an issue if your stomach can handle this content. But if not, it can pave the way for other problems.
How can you reduce the risk of diarrhea from tea?
How you prepare the tea plays a significant role in how it affects you. You will notice that manufacturers often label the steeping time on their products. While many people ignore these instructions, that is not advisable.
If the label indicates five minutes in water at 100 degrees Celsius, stick to that. That ensures that you get enough flavor out without allowing the bitterness to be too much. But most people do not do that.
If you ask some, they think that tea should taste bitter. And they work on the taste by adding sweeteners (which could be giving them the runs). Once the tea bag steeps enough, take it out and drink the tea like that.
While on this, you should also think of using loose tea leaves instead of tea bags. Tea bags release flavor and acidity so fast that you can easily oversteep them even without knowing it. The next time you are at the store, you might want to consider changing your tea form.
How do you take your tea? Your body could be trying to tell you something. Some people start their day with a cup of tea, not having had anything else to eat. While this can work for some, it can wreak havoc on some systems.
You have to understand how your body works, more so if you react to acidic foods. Remember that most teas are acidic. And on an empty stomach, all you do is add to the acidic content in the gut. That can make you feel queasy. You might want to change to other types of tea to prevent this. Or better yet, eat something and see how your body responds.
Also, do you have additives in your tea? Try eliminating one additive after the other to see if they could be the problem. You may think that the tea is to blame, yet the problem lies in the artificial sweeteners. Or you could be lactose intolerant, and you keep having tea with milk. Understanding what your body reacts to could be the step needed to avoid the runs.
Finally, you should watch when you take the tea. Some people like finishing a meal by having a cup of tea. That can also be a problem. Also, do not take tea immediately after taking meds.
These can interact and have some horrible effects, from the runs to nausea to fever. Always check with your doctor as to whether you can have tea when taking your meds. Some options like chamomile might not be such a good idea.
Note that most teas that cause stomach upsets do so owing to high caffeine and acidity content. And most of these come from the camellia Sinensis plant. Herbal teas may not be as harsh on the gut.
Teas that can ease diarrhea symptoms
While some teas can give you the runs, others can help in easing the symptoms. Here are some options you may want to consider if Camellia Sinensis teas trouble you a lot:
This tea works great for people who have trouble falling asleep, owing to its calming effects. It has antimicrobial properties that work in eliminating parasites that can cause the runs. A study that involved 1062 participants indicated as much.
The scientists used a combination of chamomile, coffee charcoal, and myrrh. Their results indicated that the mixture eased stomach upsets resulting from IBS and gut inflammations.
This tea comes from the root of this versatile plant and is rich in flavor and aroma. Not only can it reduce abdominal cramps, but it also soothes nausea and reduces the runs.
Plus, it aids digestion, eases inflammation, and increases blood flow in the body. Did you know that research indicates that ginger can reduce motion sickness nausea?
In the past, people relied on this herb to treat digestive ailments. It has a strong aroma that can ease nausea, and its compounds work in aiding digestion.
A study involving 74 patients showed that consuming this herb reduced the chances of the runs. All the participants had some IBS symptoms and consumed peppermint oil three times a day. At the end of the six weeks, they had fewer stomach upsets.
Other research studies have shown that it can also ease other diarrhea complications such as bloating and indigestion.
Other teas include fennel and lemon, both of which also aid digestion.
Can you still drink tea if you don’t want diarrhea?
This decision largely depends on how you react to taking the tea. If you feel fine afterward, then you can keep taking it. If you feel queasy, try the recommendations stated in this article and see if that helps.
Maybe the additives or taking the drink on an empty stomach are the problem. Note that if the runs worsen, you should consult a doctor as it could be indicative of a bigger problem. Or you could have an infection.
Simple practices can keep you safe from this condition. They include washing your hands frequently with soap, avoiding foods that are likely contaminated, and taking your meds as needed.