Summer is on in full swing, and people are doing everything they can to stay cool. As the temperature soars, our body also tries to adjust itself. Sometimes, it fails to cope with extreme heat and results in different health conditions. One of these is loose motions. An upset stomach causes a lot of discomfort – so much that you prefer to stay home rather than going out. You can always pop a pill to stop loosies, but if you believe in all things natural then try out home remedies for loose motions.
Health Shots consulted Dr Purushottam Vashistha, Consultant Gastroenterology, Apollo Hospitals, Navi Mumbai, on the link between loose motions and summer and ways to deal with the problem.
Why do we get loose motions in summer?
It can be the spicy food that you ate at your favourite restaurant or the street food that you enjoyed every bite of – there can be multiple causes of loose motions. But it seems like people tend to have more of this condition during the summer months. Dr Vashistha says one of the most common causes is dehydration. It can happen due to excessive sweating in hot weather, leading to a decrease in body fluids. When the body gets dehydrated, it results in change in the flora of gastrointestinal (GI) tract and creates an imbalance in the immune system. This makes people more prone to common infection and resulting in diarrhea. Also, during the summer months, people may consume more fruits and vegetables which can increase the fiber content of their diet. This sudden increase in fiber can lead to loose stools, especially if the body is not used to processing it.
Some people may be more prone to having loose motion when it gets hot. People who are into outdoor activities, love to exercise, or work in hot and humid conditions are more likely to become dehydrated and experience loose motions. People with pre-existing medical conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), or food allergies may be also more prone to loose motion during hot weather. This is because these conditions can cause increased sensitivity in the digestive system, leading to a greater risk of developing loose motion when exposed to heat. Those with a weakened immune system, such as the elderly, young children, and people with chronic illnesses, are also part of this list. They may be more susceptible to loose motion during hot weather due to their reduced ability to fight off infections and bacteria.
Summer heat affects digestive system
Heat not only damages your skin, but also affects your digestive system. It can affect the digestive process by reducing the secretion of digestive enzymes and making the stools harder to pass, leading to constipation. Moreover, during hot weather, people tend to consume more cold beverages and foods. These can cause the digestive system to contract, leading to cramping and diarrhea. The expert shares that cold beverages and foods can also cause the body to divert blood from the digestive system to other parts of the body, affecting the digestion process. What’s more? The heat can lead to the proliferation of harmful bacteria and parasites, which can cause food poisoning and other gastrointestinal infections. These infections can cause symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and dehydration.
The heat can also affect the gut microbiome, which is a collection of microorganisms that live in the digestive tract. The gut microbiome plays an important role in digestion, but high temperatures can lead to changes in it, leading to digestive problems.
Home remedies to stop loose motions
What you eat plays a major role in the way your stomach acts. So, follow these home remedies using healthy foods to alleviate loose motions during the summer months.
1. Coconut water
Coconut water is a natural electrolyte-rich fluid that can help prevent dehydration and replenish lost fluids due to loose motion. Drink coconut water whenever you can to stay hydrated.
2. Ginger tea
Ginger has natural anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that can help soothe the digestive system and alleviate loose motion, says Dr Vashistha. To make ginger tea, add a few pieces of fresh ginger to a cup of hot water. Wait for 5 to 10 minutes then add honey to taste, and drink 2to 3 cups of it per day.
Bananas are rich in potassium, which can help regulate fluid balance in the body and stop loose motion. They also contain pectin, a soluble fiber that can help bulk up stools, says the expert. Eat 1 to 2 ripe bananas per day or make a banana smoothie with yogurt and honey.
Yogurt contains probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria. It can help to restore the balance of gut bacteria and stop loose motion. Have 1 to 2 cups of plain and unsweetened yogurt per day.
5. Cumin seeds
Cumin seeds have natural antifungal and antimicrobial properties that can help say goodbye to loose motion. Roast a teaspoon of cumin seeds in a dry pan and grind them into a powder. Mix the powder with a cup of water and drink it 2 to 3 times per day.
The expert says that you should avoiding caffeinated and alcoholic beverages as they can contribute to dehydration. And don’t forget to consume a well-balanced and nutritious diet. Maintaining good hygiene practices like washing hands before eating and after using the restroom can also help to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria and viruses that can cause digestive problems.