Diarrhea: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment
Diarrhea is one of the most common medical problems. Diarrhea kills 2,195 children every day—more than AIDS, malaria, and measles combined, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Let’s learn more information about this disease.
Diarrhea is distinguished by unusually loose or watery stools. It can occur alone or in conjunction with other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, or weight loss. It can range from a minor, transient condition to a potentially fatal one.
This condition usually lasts a few days, but if it lasts for several weeks, it may indicate that you have another problem, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or a more serious disorder.
What causes Diarrhea
Diarrhea can be brought on by a variety of factors. The following are the most common causes of this condition:
The following are the three types of infections that cause diarrhoeal disease:
- Viral infections, including norovirus and rotavirus.
- Bacterial infections include Salmonella and E. coli.
- Parasitic infections.
The infection might enter the body through contaminated food or water.
Side Effect of Medication
Many medications have the potential to cause diarrhea. Consult your healthcare provider if you believe your medication is causing your diarrhoeal disease.
Food Intolerances and Allergies
An allergy to certain foods, such as dairy, soy, eggs, or seafood, can sometimes cause diarrhea. Diarrhea is frequently chronic in these cases.
Diarrhea can be a symptom of a more serious health problem, such as a digestive system disorder. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or an inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis are examples of these.
The diarrhoeal disease can also be transmitted from person to person, which is exacerbated by poor personal hygiene. When food is prepared or stored in unsanitary conditions, it is another major cause of diarrhea. Domestic water storage and handling that is unsafe is another major risk factor.
Polluted water fish and seafood may also contribute to the disease.
Symptoms of Diarrhea
Depending on the causes, you may experience a variety of symptoms. You may experience all or just a few of these symptoms. The loose or watery stool is the most common symptom of diarrhea.
Other mild diarrhea symptoms include:
- Bloating or abdominal cramps.
- A strong and pressing need for a bowel movement.
- Vomiting (upset stomach).
If you have severe diarrhea, you may experience the following symptoms:
- Loss of weight.
- Extremely painful.
This condition can result in serious complications. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your healthcare provider and seek medical attention.
Diarrhea in Baby
According to the World Health Organization, diarrhoeal disease is the second leading cause of death in children under the age of five, killing approximately 525,000 children each year.
If your child has diarrhea, you should be extra cautious. Dehydration caused by this medical problem is dangerous and can happen quickly in young children.
Severe dehydration is potentially fatal. Over-the-counter medications are not recommended for treating children, so consult your doctor.
Diarrhea in infants under 3 months old should be treated immediately by a doctor.
How to Treat Diarrhea at Home
Diarrhea can be extremely uncomfortable, but most people can treat it effectively with rest and home remedies.
Diarrhea causes a fluid deficit, including a lack of water. As a result, the body loses electrolytes like sodium and chloride.
It is critical to restoring fluids in order to aid recovery. A person may become dehydrated if this is not done.
Consuming Oral Rehydration Solution (ORESOL) or a homemade solution of 1 teaspoon of salt and 4 teaspoons of sugar mixed into 1liter of water aids the body’s rehydration more effectively than water alone.
Other beverages may also be beneficial. Fruit juices, for example, can help rehydrate the body while also replenishing potassium and sodium.
Avoid drinking anything that will aggravate the digestive tract even more, such as:
- caffeinated beverages.
- carbonated beverages containing alcohol.
- drinks that are extremely hot.
Eat a B.R.A.T. Diet
Stick to low-fiber “BRAT” foods that will help firm up your stool. These include:
- rice (white)
These foods are easy to digest and can help you absorb water better to stay hydrated.
Ginger in food, tea, and supplements has been used for thousands of years to help stomach problems.
Food to avoid
It can help to avoid foods that could irritate or put pressure on the gastrointestinal tract, such as:
- high-fat foods
- greasy foods
- spicy foods
Stay away from dairy, except for yogurt, which contains good bacteria for your gut
If your symptoms are not severe, several over-the-counter medications can help with acute diarrhea under the supervision of your doctor. Over-the-counter medications commonly used include:
- Subsalicylate of bismuth (Pepto-Bismol and Kaopectate)
- loperamide (Imodium) While these medications can alleviate diarrhea symptoms, they do not address the underlying cause.
If you experience diarrhea for more than 14 days, you should not use these medications without first consulting your doctor.
Teleconsult a doctor
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Using MaNaDr, you can also consult a doctor online or make an online appointment booking for your clinic visit if you are showing any symptoms or having any concerns about diarrhea.
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Reference: Mayoclinic, CDC, Celevelandclinic, Medical News Today, Healthline.