Diarrhea is frequent, watery bowel movements. For most people, the episode is more an inconvenience than an illness. Symptoms commonly disappear in a short time. Diarrhea may cause a loss of significant amounts of water and salts.
All about diarrhea
Diarrhea is loose, watery, and frequent stool. Diarrhea is considered chronic (long-term) when you have had loose or frequent stools for more than 4 weeks. It can be a sign of a serious disorder, such as inflammatory bowel disease, or a less serious condition, such as irritable bowel syndrome.
Causes of diarrhea
There are some factors that cause diarrhea:
- Bacteria, virus and or parasite (e.g., worm) infection in digestive track.
- Bacteria, virus and or parasite that causing infection outside the digestive track, for example the infection in ear channel, throat infection, and measles.
- Allergy towards certain medicine or food.
- Psychiatric disorders like fear, stress or worried .
Symptoms of diarrhea
Diarrhea evokes physical and mental symptoms.
- Frequent, loose, watery stools
- Abdominal cramps
- Abdominal pain
- Blood in the stool
Know more about your diarrhea
- If a person experiences nausea or vomiting 30 minutes to 2 hours after eating or drinking dairy products, the symptoms may have been caused by lactose intolerance.
- If a person experiences diarrhea like symptoms after eating food that could have been spoiled, and if someone else eating the same food and become ill, then this could be a case of food poisoning.
- If a person has recently traveled to another country, then it might be a case of traveler's diarrhea?
- A watery diarrhea accompanied by slight fever, headache or muscle aches may be a case of viral gastroentritis, also called the stomach flu.
- Inflammatory bowel diseases (Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis)
- The person might be suffering from Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- If a person is gluten intolerant, the diarrhea could be due to Celiac disease
Do see a doctor, who will prescribe medicines according to symptoms. In addition to medication
- Drink plenty of fluid to avoid becoming dehydrated. Start with sips of any fluid other than caffeinated beverages. Milk may prolong loose stools, but also provides needed fluids and nourishment. Drinking milk may be fine for mild diarrhea. For moderate and severe diarrhea, electrolyte solutions available in drugstores are usually best.
- Probiotics make diarrhea less severe and shorten its duration. Probiotics can be found in yogurt with active or live cultures and in supplements.
- Foods like rice, dry toast, and bananas can sometimes help with diarrhea.
Avoid over-the-counter anti-diarrhea medications unless specifically instructed to use one by your doctor. Certain infections can be made worse by these drugs. *When you have diarrhea, your body is trying to get rid of whatever food, virus, or other bug is causing it. The medicine interferes with this process. Rest.
What can I do?
See a doctor if:
- Bloody or black stools
- Severe abdominal or rectal pain
- Temperature of more than 102 F (39 C)
- The diarrhea persists beyond three days
- There are signs of dehydration -- as evidenced by excessive thirst, dry mouth or skin, little or no urination, severe weakness, dizziness or lightheadedness, or dark-colored urine
- Dehydration persists despite drinking plenty of liquids
In children, particularly young children, diarrhea can quickly lead to dehydration. Call your doctor if
- The child has more than 102o F fever
- The diarrhea does not improve within 24 hours
- Has bloody or black stools
- Has not had a wet diaper in three or more hours
- Is unusually sleepy, drowsy, unresponsive or irritable