Diarrhea is a common problem that everyone experiences from time to time. Diarrhea is an increase in the frequency of bowel movements, looseness of stool or both and may be accompanied by abdominal pain and cramping.Normally, diarrhea clears up on its own in a few days but if it lasts for weeks can indicate a serious health problem and requires medical attention.
What causes the diarrhea?
A number of factors can cause diarrhea.
- Mainly Diarrhea is caused by infection.
- Viral infections like rotavirus
- Bacterial infections like Campylobacter, Escherichia coli (E. coli). Sometimes considered as food poisoning as it mainly caused by food and water.
- Parasitic infections like Entamoeba histolytica
- Drug-induced diarrhea. Diarrhea begins soon after treatment with the drug is begun. Drugs which can cause diarrhea are antacids and nutritional supplements that contain magnesium, NSAIDS.
- Alcohol abuse
- Irritable bowel syndrome. Constipation and diarrhea occur alternatively.
- Food allergies and intolerance. Certain foods, such as dairy, soy, eggs, or seafood can cause diarrhea.
- Lactose intolerance is a common condition that can cause diarrhea and other gastrointestinal symptoms
- Diarrhea may also be a sign of bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine.
- Fat malabsorption
- Endocrine diseases, for example, hyperthyroidism, Addison’s disease
- Laxative abuse: The abuse of laxatives by individuals who want attention or to lose weight
- Season change
What are the symptoms of diarrhea?
The primary and most recognizable symptom of diarrhea is passing loose, watery stool that occurs three or more times a day. Other possible symptoms of diarrhea include
- Pain or cramping in the abdomen
- A loss of control of bowel movements
- Bloody stools
- Fever and chills
- Light-headedness and dizziness
- Dehydration- thirst, urination less than normal, dark-coloured urine, dryness of mouth and skin, tired feeling, sunken eyes or cheeks, light-headedness or fainting, and a decreased skin turgor
- Malabsorption-bloating, gas, changes in appetite, weight loss, and loose, greasy, foul-smelling bowel movements
How to Prevent Diarrhea?
- Wash your hands frequently. Especially after before preparing or eating food, before and after caring for someone who is ill, using the bathroom, after touching garbage, and after touching an animal, animal feed, and animal waste.
- Use purified water or boiled water, if you do use tap water, boil it or use iodine tablets
- Make sure that the cooked food you eat is fully cooked and served hot
- Avoid unwashed or unpeeled raw fruits and vegetables.
When should you call a doctor for diarrhea?
Most episodes of diarrhea are mild and of short duration and do not need to be brought to the attention of a doctor. The doctor should be consulted when there is:
- High fever (temperature higher than 102 F or 38.3 C
- Moderate or severe abdominal pain or tenderness
- Blood or pus with diarrhea
- Diarrhea in persons with underlying serious illness for whom dehydration can be more severe consequences, for example, persons with diabetes, heart disease, and AIDS.
- Severe diarrhea that shows no improvement after 48 hours.
- Moderate or severe dehydration
- Acute diarrhea in pregnant women because of concern for the health of the fetus
- Chronic diarrhea
What home remedies help the symptoms of diarrhoea?
Many home remedies have been suggested for the treatment of diarrhea; however, few of them have been well-studied. Three that have been studied and appear to be effective are:
- cooked green bananas
- boiled rice.
What are the complications of Diarrhea?
Complications of diarrhea include dehydration, electrolyte (mineral) abnormalities, and irritation of the anus.
- Dehydration may cause orthostatic hypotension, diminished urine output, severe weakness, shock, kidney failure, confusion, and coma.
- Electrolytes (minerals) are lost through water when diarrhea is prolonged or severe, and mineral or electrolyte deficiencies may occur.
- Irritation of the anus due to the frequent passage of watery stool containing irritating substances.
What is the treatment for Diarrhea?
- Drink plenty of water, as well as fruit juices or sports drinks, and eat soups with clear broth to help replenish lost electrolytes.
- Eat a bland diet. You should also avoid raw foods, fried foods, and drinks with alcohol or caffeine in them.
- Treat underlying problems.
- Oral rehydration solutions (ORS). You can also drink ORS- L liquid. This is available in many flavour. i like the orange best.
P.S.: If you are taking homeopathic treatment for any chronic disease, and you started loose stool. Do tell your homeopath. This could be a good sign. Your body is trying to remove toxins from the stool. And you may not require any medication for that.