Digestive Question

Last night I went out to dinner, and about 30 minutes after finishing, I felt sick to my stomach. I ran to the bathroom and had a very loose bowel movement. (I’m trying to keep this from going too far into TMI territory. :slight_smile: ) Anyway, I’m wondering whether my meal went through me that quickly, or was my body emptying out the warehouse for to make room for new shipment?

Depending on the size of the meal, it can take the stomach alone 3 hours to do its thing with the food you consume – and then you’ve got the rest of your small and then large intestine. Unless you’ve got a hyper-efficient digestive system, Nobody Special, I’d say that was residue from other meals in the recent past.

The latter. Sometimes, stomach upset will cause the bowels to empty faster than they normally would. A meal takes a considerably longer amount of time to pass through you, around 3 to 4 hours of which is spent in the stomach alone. It can take a day or so for all material from a given meal to be expelled.

This is partially the result of the gastrocolic reflex:

Technically, this is just a signal to the colon that food is coming and that it should start to prepare. But its malfunctioning is increasingly looked at as a sign of problems, especially Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Before you get too concerned, however, much ordinary after-meal diarrhea is caused by the gastrocolic reflex so it is not necessarily a symptom of disease, especially if this is just a one-time occurrence. A steady pattern of after-meal diarrhea probably should be looked at by a doctor.

I agree that it should be discussed with a doctor.

I had that problem for years, and it turned out to be caffeine-related, presumably like an allergy. A second cup of caffeinated coffee will clear me out, I’ll never need prune juice. I would never have figured it out without the doctor’s help, however.

Did your meal involve coffee, or possibly another beverage that might be suspect (like lemonade, iced tea, or even bad water)?

I know that certain brands of coffee will go straight thru me. It’s highly dependant on the roast and the grind. I can drink all I want of Starbucks, but if I go to Gotta Java down the street, one latte and I’m running for the heads in less than 30 minutes.

Also, I once went for an Upper GI fluoroscopy, where they made me drink a barium milkshake. After the test, I couldn’t even make it home before that Barium milkshake was knockin’ at the back door, demanding to be let out. Elapsed time? About 45 minutes.

Thirty minutes isn’t long enough for flora to take hold and multiply… that usually takes 4-24 hours. But if there was something that irritated your bowel, then it will evacuate the offensive matter very quickly.

For my specific situation, I think that Exapno Mapcase is probably on the right track about the gastrocolic reflex. I hadn’t had anything to eat in a while and my stomach was very empty. Thanks for all the info.