Does gabapentin make you poop a lot? (3+ Tips that help)

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Page last updated: 23/09/2022

In this blog post, we are going to answer the question, “Does gabapentin make you poop a lot?”. Gabapentin is a gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) analog and is used for a number of conditions. 

However, this medicine can cause a number of side effects including frequent watery stools or diarrhoea. This blog will cover what you can do if you suffer from gabapentin induced diarrhoea. 

Does gabapentin make you poop a lot? 

Gabapentin may make you poop a lot or induce watery, more frequent stools. However, this side effect can vary greatly because some people suffer from constipation and spend days without having a bowel movement.

Experts suggest that the type of food you eat can make a huge impact on gastrointestinal side effects caused by either gabapentin or any other medication. 

It is impossible to predict how your body will react once it is exposed to this medication. Make sure you reach out to your healthcare provider if you exhibit any sign of an allergic reaction or any unusual side effect. 

What to do if gabapentin causes diarrhoea? 

Your healthcare provider may suggest one of the following treatments, if needed:

Antidiarrheal agents

Your doctor may prescribe some antidiarrheal agent, which works best with gabapentin, to treat your diarrhoeal symptoms. The most commonly prescribed agent is loperamide (Brand name: Imodium). 

It slows down the movement of food through your intestines, which lets your body absorb more liquid and makes your stool less watery. Other agents like Kaopectate or Pepto-Bismol (bismuth subsalicylate) are also used. 

Probiotics

Probiotics should be considered a must, when dealing with meds that upset your stomach. They are actually ‘good’ bacteria which reside naturally in your gut. 

In case of diarrhoea, most of these bacteria are lost because of watery stools. The addition of probiotics will help replenish those good bacteria and bring your stomach back to its normal state. 

Natural sources of probiotics include nuts, yoghurt, asparagus, garlic, onions, leeks, banana, barley, oats, apples, cocoa, wheat bran, flaxseeds etc. Add these in your diet while being on gabapentin, to strengthen your gut bacteria. 

Electrolyte replenishers

Diarrhoea is strongly associated with dehydration along with loss of electrolytes. This causes extreme weakness, sometimes up to the point where you no longer have energy to even get up from your bed. 

In this condition, it is advised to drink lots and lots of fluids. Electrolyte replenishers are also used which contain various electrolytes like sodium, potassium, chloride ions, bicarbonate ions etc, which might have been eliminated from your body along with your stools.

Oral rehydration therapy is also used. Electrolyte drinks usually contain salts of sodium or potassium, which make up for the amount of these minerals lost from the body.

Does gabapentin make you poop a lot? (3+ Tips that help)

Is there any home remedy for diarrhoeal stools? 

Following are a few remedies that can help relieve the symptoms of diarrhoea:

  • Drink plenty of fluids like water, oral hydration solutions (ORS), soup etc. 
  • Consume liquid calories like milkshakes, smoothies etc. 
  • Avoid spicy foods, which can irritate your stomach and exacerbate the symptoms of diarrhoea. 
  • Eat plenty of probiotics. In case of diarrhoea, yoghurt is considered a good choice. It cools down your stomach and adds natural probiotics to replenish your lost gastrointestinal microflora. 
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine. 

What happens in diarrhoea? 

Diarrhoea is a condition characterised by following symptoms:

  • Bloating
  • Flatulence 
  • Abdominal pain
  • Malaise 
  • Thin or loose stools
  • Watery stools
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Inability to digest, especially solid foods
  • Electrolyte deficiency
  • Dehydration
  • Weakness 

More serious symptoms include:

  • Blood or mucus in your stool
  • Hematemesis (bloody vomiting)
  • Weight loss 
  • Chills and fever

What foods are good for diarrhoea? 

People with diarrhoea should eat bland foods, as spicy or complex foods can irritate the bowels. Bland foods that may help with diarrhoea include:

  • Banana 
  • Applesauce
  • Softly boiled white rice
  • White bread 
  • Boiled or mashed potatoes
  • Plain crackers

However, not every food is suitable to be eaten when you’re pooping a lot or suffer from diarrhoea. It is best to avoid following foods while experiencing diarrhoea

  • Dairy products
  • Fried, fatty, greasy foods
  • Spicy foods
  • Processed foods
  • Red meat like veal
  • Sardines
  • Raw vegetables
  • Rhubarb
  • Onions
  • Corn
  • Alcohol
  • Coffee
  • Soda
  • Sorbitol and other artificial sweeteners

How to relieve discomfort in the rectal area caused by diarrhoea?

Diarrhoea associated frequent bathroom visits can cause discomforts like:

  • Itching.
  • Anal fissure
  • Burning.
  • Pain during bowel movements.

If you’re experiencing any of these discomforts, there are a few things you can do that might help:

  • Take a sitz bath.
  • Patting your rectal area dry with a clean soft towel. Do not rub it. Avoid scratching it if it itches. 
  • Apply fissure cream or petroleum jelly.

What other medications can cause the same side effect? 

Following is the list of drugs, other than gabapentin, which can cause diarrhoea. Make sure you are not using one of them, along with gabapentin. If yes, consult your healthcare provider to make sure if it’s safe to do so:

  • Antibiotics
  • Metformin
  • Beta blockers
  • ACE inhibitors 
  • angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBS)
  • Colchicine
  • Digoxin
  • Colchicine
  • Lithium
  • Levothyroxine (Synthroid)
  • Gemfibrozil (Lopid) and fenofibrate (Tricor)
  • Magnesium-containing antacids like Maalox, Mylanta, and Gaviscon
  • Vitamins like magnesium and vitamin C
  • Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve)

What are the additional side effects of gabapentin? 

The additional side effects of gabapentin include:

  • Xerostomia or dry mouth 
  • Weight gain 
  • Dizziness 
  • Somnolence
  • Swollen hands and feet
  • Headache
  • Vision problems 
  • Cloudy mind
  • Fatigue
  • Tremors 
  • Confusion
  • Joint pain 
  • Difficulty in remembering things
  • Abdominal pain 
  • Unsteadiness
  • Muscle twitching 
  • Constipation 
  • Back pain
  • Increased appetite 
  • Fever

Gabapentin can cause some serious side effects. These include:

  • Suicidal behavior 
  • Impaired motor coordination 
  • Thrombocytopenia or decreased levels of platelets
  • Water retention
  • Rhabdomyolysis, a condition associated with abnormal breakdown of muscles
  • Convulsions 
  • Swelling or tenderness in different parts of the body.
  • Allergic reaction associated with symptoms like redness of skin, itching, burning sensation, blisters, blue-purple patches, tightness of chest, wheezing, difficulty in breathing, hoarseness etc. 

These side effects can vary from person to person. It is impossible to predict how your body will react once it is exposed to this medication. Some people get away with mild side effects, while others suffer terribly. 

How to ensure the proper use of gabapentin? 

Immediately talk to your healthcare provider if you experience unusual side effects while taking gabapentin. Do not recommend this drug to someone else and use it as long as your doctor has advised. 

Inform your doctor if you’re pregnant or trying to conceive. It is extremely important to ensure safety of your meds during your pregnancy. Some meds can cross placenta and are capable of causing unwanted side effects in the growing fetus. 

Inform your doctor if you’re a breastfeeding mother. Gabapentin may be capable of passing into the breastmilk and may cause side effects in newborns. 

Do not stop gabapentin abruptly. If it’s time for you to stop this med, your doctor will simply recommend a taper schedule for you, which should be followed vigilantly if you wish to keep withdrawal symptoms at bay. 

Make sure you use this medication or any other medication only when your doctor has advised it. Using medications which can affect your brain is not something ideal and should not be encouraged unless it is absolutely necessary to do so. 

Conclusion 

In this blog post, we have discussed gabapentin induced frequent stools. However, this side effect can vary greatly because some people suffer from constipation and spend days without having a bowel movement. 

Experts suggest that the type of food you eat can make a huge impact on gastrointestinal side effects caused by either gabapentin or any other medication. It is impossible to predict how your body will react once it is exposed to this medication. 

Make sure you reach out to your healthcare provider if you exhibit any sign of an allergic reaction or any unusual side effect. Make sure you use this medication or any other medication only when your doctor has advised it. 

Using medications which can affect your brain is not something ideal and should not be encouraged unless it is absolutely necessary to do so. 

FAQs: does gabapentin make you poop a lot

Can gabapentin affect your bowels?

Gabapentin may affect your bowel and cause either diarrhoea or constipation. However, it is impossible to predict how your body will react once it is exposed to this medication. Make sure you reach out to your healthcare provider if you exhibit any sign of an allergic reaction or any unusual side effect. 

Does gabapentin cause frequent bowel movements?

Gabapentin may make you poop a lot or induce watery, more frequent stools. However, this side effect can vary greatly because some people suffer from constipation and spend days without having a bowel movement. Experts suggest that the type of food you eat can make a huge impact on gastrointestinal side effects caused by either gabapentin or any other medication. 

What is the most common side effect of gabapentin?

Common side effects of gabapentin include

  • Xerostomia or dry mouth 
  • Weight gain 
  • Dizziness 
  • Somnolence
  • Swollen hands and feet
  • Headache
  • Vision problems 
  • Cloudy mind
  • Fatigue
  • Tremors 
  • Confusion
  • Joint pain 
  • Difficulty in remembering things
  • Abdominal pain 
  • Unsteadiness
  • Muscle twitching 
  • Constipation 
  • Back pain
  • Increased appetite 
  • Fever

Does gabapentin make you gassy?

Yes, gabapentin can cause horrible gases in your stomach. It is, in fact, the most commonly reported side-effect and can range from mild discomfort to severe abdominal pain. 

Several surveys have revealed that some people have experienced gas pain so severe that they thought it was a kidney-related pain. Experts have explained how gabapentin can make gas trapped in your abdomen which can put great pressure on your stomach and can cause significant bloating.

What should I avoid while taking gabapentin?

  • Narcotic analgesics: Both narcotic opioid analgesics and gabapentin decrease the amount of excitatory neurotransmitters in your brain. This can slow down your physiological functions including breathing rate. 
  • Alcohol can also act as a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. The synergistic effects of alcohol and gabapentin can cause severe depression and suicidal behavior.
  • Certain diabetic agents may react with gabapentin and cause increased water retention, which results in swelling or edema in upper and lower extremities, or any other part of the body.

Can you take gabapentin forever?

The duration of your treatment with gabapentin depends on the severity of your condition and how well you can tolerate this medication. Some people can not stand the long-term treatment because of the disturbing side effects, whereas others can function really well with this medication and they can use it for years. 

References 

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