As we know that many people suffer from different diseases and disorders these days and ‘Diarrhea’ is one of these diseases. Before going towards the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of Diarrhea, first, we will see what diarrhea actually is? Medically speaking, it is an infection in the intestinal tract. Various bacterial, viral, and parasitic organisms can cause this infection resulting in the passage of three or more loose stools per day. Moreover, Frequent passing of formed stools is not this issue. Similarly, breastfed babies often pass loose, pasty stools, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they have this problem.
Almost 2 billion cases of diarrhea occur each year on a global level. This problem is the second leading cause of death in children under the age of five. It can be both preventable and treatable. In this article, we will discuss the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment of diarrhea. But first, let’s have a look at the causes of diarrhea.
Causes of Diarrhea
Diarrhea can be a result of different conditions or circumstances. Major causes of diarrhea include viral, bacterial, and intestinal infection. Moreover, food intolerance or an adverse reaction to a medication is also one of the leading causes of diarrhea. One of the studies in the United States showed that bacteria Salmonella, Campylobacter, Shigella, and Shiga-toxin-producing Escherichia coli, often cause diarrhea in children.
Basically, there are three clinical types of diarrhea which are as follows:
This type can last for several hours or days.
It is also called dysentery and lasts for less than 14 days in which people pass bloody stools.
This type of diarrhea can last for 14 days or longer.
Symptoms of Diarrhoea
Diarrhea refers to watery stools, but its symptoms vary depending upon the conditions. Some common symptoms of diarrhea include:
- One of the most common symptoms of diarrhea is a stomach pain. In this condition, a patient feels continuous pain in his/her stomach.
- Abdominal cramps are also one of the major symptoms of diarrhea.
- A person goes through severe thirst in this condition since it can result in massive dehydration, especially in babies.
- Weight loss is also one of the major symptoms of diarrhea. In this condition, the person feels difficulty in digesting food. As a result, the weight of the person starts decreasing rapidly.
- Fever is also another important symptom of this disease. Due to weakness in the body, most of the patients get attack by fever.
As we have discussed that sometimes the condition can become severe. In such cases, the possible symptoms of diarrhea are:
- The patient goes through continuous vomiting in this situation.
- Due to continuous motions and vomiting, the body of the patient starts dehydrating.
- In some persons, if this condition prolongs, blood starts coming In their stool.
Everyone suffers from this problem once in their life. It can be the leading cause of death in many people. Sometimes, people do not take this disease seriously and don’t go for proper treatment. Due to this behavior, they may bear dehydration, with acute or chronic diarrhea.
Diagnosis of Diarrhea
This problem can cause a wide range of chronic conditions. So, the diagnosis of diarrhea is necessary for its treatment. For the diagnosis of this problem, the doctor mostly asks about the symptoms, current medications, and other medical conditions. The frequently asked questions include:
- When did this problem start?
- How frequent the stools are?
- Is there any blood in the stool?
- Whether there has been vomiting
The doctor also looks at whether there is any sign of dehydration due to diarrhea during the diagnosis. Because severe dehydration can be fatal if not treated on time.
Treatment of Diarrhoea
As we have already discussed that there are many kinds of this problem. So, the treatment of diarrhea depends on its severity. Mild cases of this problem can be resolved without treatment. However, persistent or chronic diarrhea requires treatment which is as follows:
One of the major causes of this problem is dehydration. Therefore, rehydration is one of the best treatments for this problem. You can rehydrate your body in the following ways:
- Take Oral Rehydration Solution or Salts (ORS). These solutions contain salt and glucose dissolved in water. Basically, the small intestine absorbs these solutions and replaces the water and electrolytes lost in the stool. ORS cost is just a few cents in developing countries.
- Zinc supplementation can also reduce the severity of this problem. Moreover, it reduces the duration of this issue in children.
You can take antibiotics if this problem occurs because of bacterial infection. Furthermore, if the cause of this problem is a certain medication, you can still take antibiotics.
Depending upon the symptoms of diarrhea, you can also treat it by taking an appropriate diet. Therefore, nutritionists from some Stanford Health Care offered some diet tips for the treatment of diarrhea. These are as follows
- Sip on clear liquids such as fruit juice without adding sugar.
- After each loose stool, replace your lost fluids with at least one cup of liquid.
- Do as much drinking as you can, but not during meals.
- Consume high-potassium foods and liquids, such as potatoes without the skin and bananas.
- Consume high-sodium foods and liquids, such as soups, sports drinks, and salted crackers.
- Eat bananas, oatmeal, and rice. They contain high soluble fiber and help in thickening the stool.
- Avoid creamy, fried, and sugary foods. They make diarrhea worse.
The intestinal tract of every person contains good bacteria. This good bacterium is necessary for the normal functioning of the gastrointestinal system, as it plays an important role in protecting the intestine against infection. However, when your system is overwhelmed by unhealthy bacteria or viruses, you can get diarrhea. In such a situation, Probiotics help in restoring the balance of good bacteria in your gut. Furthermore, they help the intestine in fighting against unwanted pathogens and help the intestine to absorb nutrients properly. Probiotics come in powdered or pill form. As probiotics contain yeast, use them with caution if you have an inadequate immune system.
Diarrhea is the leading cause of death among infants and children younger than 5 years of age. Usually, it occurs when your bowel movements become loose or watery. It can be of various types depending upon its severity. Sometimes, non-serious behaviors of people cause diarrhea and its symptoms vary in persons. The diagnosis of diarrhea is very helpful for its best treatment. So that a person can live a healthy life.