Explosive Stool Symptoms, Causes & Statistics

It can be embarrassing when having explosive poop, so knowing the causes can help deciding on treatment options. Usually explosive stools can be caused by different types of food poisoning or a viral infection. Read below for more information on causes and how to treat sudden explosive bowel movements.

  1. 10 Possible Explosive Stool Causes
  2. Real-Life Stories
  3. Statistics
  4. Related Articles

10 Possible Explosive Stool Causes

The list below shows results from the use of our quiz by Buoy users who experienced explosive stool. This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.

Food poisoning

Food poisoning, also called foodborne illness or "stomach flu," is an acute infection of the digestive tract from food contaminated with bacteria, viruses, parasites, or other toxins. It actually has no relation to influenza.

Any food can become contaminated if not prepared under clean conditions, cooked thoroughly, or stored at cold temperatures. Meat, fish, dairy products, and fresh fruits and vegetables are some of the most easily contaminated foods.

Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain, and sometimes fever and chills.

Most people recover on their own with supportive care, meaning rest, fluids, and over-the-counter pain relievers and fever reducers.

However, dehydration can result if the vomiting and/or diarrhea are not controlled and IV fluids may be needed.

If there is also blurred vision, dizziness, or paralysis, the nervous system may be affected due to botulism. This is a medical emergency. Take the patient to the emergency room or call 9-1-1.

Proper food preparation and storage, along with frequent and thorough handwashing, is the best prevention.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: nausea, abdominal pain (stomach ache), headache, abdominal cramps (stomach cramps), dizziness

Symptoms that never occur with food poisoning: severe fever, being severely ill, bloody diarrhea

Urgency: Self-treatment

Food poisoning caused by bacillus cereus

Bacillus cereus is a bacteria that produces spores in a variety of foods, especially rice and leftovers that are left out at room temperature. It is relatively rare compared to other causes of food poisoning.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: stomach bloating, abdominal cramps (stomach cramps), diarrhea, vomiting

Urgency: Self-treatment

Food poisoning by the staphylococcus bacteria

Food poisoning by staphylococcus bacteria refers to the stomach and intestinal upset caused by eating foods contaminated with the staphylococcus, or "staph," bacteria.

Most often, food is contaminated when the person preparing it did not thoroughly wash their hands first. The staph bacteria quickly multiply in food or milk, producing toxins which actually create the illness. The toxins are not destroyed by cooking and the food may look fresh.

Symptoms develop rapidly, within 30 minutes to a few hours, and include nausea, vomiting, stomach cramping, and diarrhea. The illness itself is not spread from person to person.

Diagnosis is made through patient history and physical examination. Lab tests are usually not necessary, but testing may be done if there is a large outbreak with many people affected in one place.

A food poisoning episode usually resolves on its own within 24 hours. Antibiotics are not effective against the toxins. The symptoms can be treated with rest, plenty of fluids, and electrolyte replacement with sports drinks. Severe cases may need intravenous fluids in a hospital.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: nausea, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps (stomach cramps), vomiting

Symptoms that always occur with food poisoning by the staphylococcus bacteria: nausea or vomiting

Urgency: Self-treatment

Food poisoning caused by clostridium perfringens

Clostridium Perfringens is a bacteria that produces toxins in food, especially beef, poultry, and gravies. It's one of the most common causes of food poisoning. Infants, young children, and older adults are more likely to suffer from this type of food poisoning.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: stomach bloating, abdominal cramps (stomach cramps), vomiting, watery diarrhea

Urgency: Self-treatment

Viral (norovirus) infection

If you ever heard of an entire cruise ship of people coming down with the same “stomach bug,” chances are that was norovirus. Fortunately, norovirus usually goes away on its own after a few days, but is pretty unpleasant and can spread extremely easily. The ...

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Cholera is a bacteria that causes watery, severe diarrhea in "endemic" regions, such as Africa, South, and Central America.

Rarity: Ultra rare

Top Symptoms: diarrhea, severe diarrhea, being severely ill, watery diarrhea, excesive thirst

Symptoms that always occur with cholera: diarrhea, watery diarrhea, being severely ill, severe diarrhea

Urgency: Hospital emergency room

Campylobacter small intestine infection

Infection with the Campylobacter bacterium is one of the leading causes of acute diarrhea worldwide. The risk for this infection is increased in people with HIV/AIDS.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: diarrhea, abdominal cramps (stomach cramps), general abdominal pain, fever, severe diarrhea

Symptoms that always occur with campylobacter small intestine infection: diarrhea

Urgency: Primary care doctor

E. coli infection

E. coli are a large and diverse group of bacteria that can often be found in the intestines of healthy humans and animals. E. coli comes in a variety of strains. Although most strains are harmless, a few types can make people sick with diarrhea, as well as UTIs and respiratory illnesse...

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Salmonella infection

Salmonella infection is also called gastroenteritis, food poisoning, or "stomach flu," although it is not related to influenza.

The Salmonella bacteria species are normal inhabitants of the digestive tracts of humans, animals, reptiles, and birds. The infection spreads through fecal-oral contamination and through raw or undercooked food, especially eggs, milk, meat, or seafood as well as unwashed fruits and vegetables.

Most susceptible are children. Travel in any region with poor sanitation is also a risk. Taking antibiotics or antacids reduces resistance to the bacteria, as does inflammatory bowel disease or a weakened immune system.

Symptoms include headache; fever and chills; stomach cramps; nausea and vomiting; and diarrhea, sometimes with blood.

If the symptoms persist or the diarrhea is severe, a medical provider should be seen. Dehydration can set in quickly, especially in children, and can be life threatening. In some cases the bacteria will spread throughout the body and cause further complications.

Diagnosis is made through stool samples and blood tests.

Treatment involves replacing fluids, sometimes intravenously while hospitalized, along with rest and supportive care.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: abdominal pain (stomach ache), diarrhea, abdominal cramps (stomach cramps), fever, being severely ill

Symptoms that always occur with salmonella infection: diarrhea

Urgency: Phone call or in-person visit

Shigella infection

Shigella infection, or shigellosis, is an intestinal infection caused by a strain of Shigella bacteria.

Shigellosis is highly contagious through fecal matter. Anyone coming into contact with any trace of feces in food, drink, or surfaces can get the disease. Swimming in contaminated water, even in a chlorinated pool or hot tub, is another source of infection.

Most susceptible are young children; travelers to less developed regions; and anyone with a weakened immune system.

Symptoms include fever; abdominal pain and cramps; and severe diarrhea, which may contain blood.

If not treated, there is the risk of dehydration due to the diarrhea and fever. Young children are especially susceptible.

Diagnosis is made through patient history, physical examination, and testing of a stool sample.

Treatment involves rest and fluids. Most cases clear up within a week. Sometimes antibiotics are used in more severe cases, though antibiotics are not effective against some forms of Shigella bacteria.

The best prevention is frequent and thorough handwashing, and good hygiene when preparing food.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: diarrhea, general abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, watery diarrhea, fatigue

Symptoms that always occur with shigella infection: diarrhea

Urgency: Self-treatment

Real-life Stories

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Explosive Stool Symptom Checker Statistics

People who have experienced explosive stool have also experienced:

  • 13% Abdominal Pain (Stomach Ache)
  • 10% Diarrhea
  • 6% Stomach Bloating

People who have experienced explosive stool were most often matched with:

  • 33% Food Poisoning
  • 33% Food Poisoning Caused By Bacillus Cereus
  • 33% Food Poisoning By The Staphylococcus Bacteria

Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from Buoy Assistant (a.k.a. the quiz).

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