Symptoms, Causes, Prevention and Treatment of Diarrhea

Symptoms, Causes, Prevention, and Treatment of Diarrhea

Causes of Diarrhea

Diarrhea is a very common health condition characterized by the frequent passage of loose, watery stools. This occurs in many different conditions of the digestive tract.

 

Diarrhea is not actually a disease in itself, but often accompanies conditions such as regional enteritis, sprue, ulcerative colitis, various infections of the bowel, and also most forms of gastroenteritis.

 

Diarrhea may be caused by a viral or bacterial infection. Diarrhea is also often seen in people who take excessive amounts of laxatives.

 

Others have it because they are allergic to certain substances, or even common foods. It is always important to run down the cause and eliminate it if at all possible.

 

Some people have frequent loose stools for several years without any other evidence of disease. Others develop diarrhea only when under severe emotional strain.

 

Other conditions that may be responsible for diarrhea, including some persons that may be allergic to certain foods such as milk wheat, eggs, vegetables, and other commonly used substances.

 

Many of these people complain of heartburn, nausea, and gas, as well as straining at the stool. Such people should be placed on a low residue diet.

 

The goal is to have fewer, smaller bowel movements each day.

 

They should eat slowly and take vitamin tablets and also hydrochloric acid if this is indicated.  Be sure the patient has calcium in some form, preferably in dairy products, such as curds, buttermilk, or similar foods.

 

diarrhea is characterized by frequent visit to the toilet.

Diarrhea is characterized by frequent visits to the toilet.

 

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Symptoms of Diarrhea

  • An urgent need to visit the toilet or restroom.
  • Cramping
  • Continues visit to toilet leading to loss of control of bowel movements
  • Passage of loose, watery stools
  • Nausea
  • Bloating in your belly

 

Other more severe symptoms include the following:

  • Blood or mucus in your stool
  • Weight loss
  • Fever and chills
  • Vomiting

 

Possible Causes of Diarrhea  

  • Poor nutrition weakens the child and makes diarrhea from other causes more frequent and worse.
  • Viral and bacterial infection.
  • Certain foods upset the digestive system.
  • Some persons have food allergies and intolerances to certain foods (Celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, microscopic colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, and lactose intolerance).
  • Diarrhea could result, due to the side effect of taking certain medications such as ampicillin or tetracycline.
  • Malabsorption of food (poor absorption).
  • Poor hygiene and sanitary conditions spread the germs, bacteria, and Viruses that cause infection or intestinal flu (diarrhea usually mild).
  • Infections outside the gut (ear infections).
  • Even malaria conditions.
  • Food poisoning
  • Laxatives, purges, irritating or poisonous plants, certain poisons.
  • Inability to digest milk (mainly in severely malnourished children and certain adults)
  • Some persons have difficulty digesting foods that are new to them e.g when traveling to a new country or region.
  • Eating too much ripe fruits, unripe fruits, and unwashed fruits could result in diarrhea.

 

What you eat has direct impact on your health (including causing diarrhea)

What you eat has a direct impact on your health (including causing diarrhea)

 

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Treatment for Diarrhea

The good news about most cases of diarrhea is that it resolves itself within a day or two, self-care to relieve symptoms is usually sufficient for treatment.

 

For most cases of diarrhea, no medicines are needed. If the diarrhea is severe the biggest danger is dehydration. If diarrhea lasts a long time, the biggest danger is malnutrition.

 

So the most important part of treatment has to do with giving enough liquids and enough food. No matter what the cause of diarrhea.

 

For a speedy recovery, certain foods such as figs, bananas, and prunes, have a strong laxative effect on the bowel.

 

It is advisable that you should stay away from such foods and fruits until the loose stools are brought under control.

 

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Dehydration and Nutrition

Dehydration is a major crisis in diarrhea cases. Always give him a rehydration drink even if he does not want to drink, gently insist that he do so. Have him take several sips every few minutes.

 

Meeting the nutritional needs of the person with diarrhea should be the ultimate goal in the recovery process.

 

This is especially important in small children or persons who are already poorly nourished. Because when a person has diarrhea, food passes through the gut very quickly and is not all used.

 

So give the person food many times a day especially if he only takes a little at a time.

 

Babies suffering from diarrhea should be breastfeeding always.

 

An underweight child should get plenty of energy foods and some bodybuilding foods (proteins) all the time and extra when he gets well.

 

If he stops eating because he feels too sick or is vomiting, he should eat again as soon as he can. Giving rehydration drink will help the child be able to eat.

 

Although giving food may cause more frequent stools at first, it can save his life.

 

Giving food intermittently at least 5 to 6 meals each day to an underweight child that has diarrhea that lasts for many days or keeps coming back.

 

This will help the child recover even without any treatment.

 

If the stools contain mucus or blood and the condition appears to be prolonged or severe. It is best you refer to a physician for proper diagnosis and treatment.

 

Food preparation and cooking should be done under good hygienic conditions to prevent both diarrhea and food poisoning.

Food preparation and cooking should be done under good hygienic conditions to prevent both diarrhea and food poisoning.

 

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How to Preventing Diarrhea

Although diarrhea has many different causes, the most common is an infection and poor nutrition. With good hygiene and good nutritional food, most diarrhea could be prevented.

 

Hygiene and good nutrition are important in both the prevention and treatment of diarrhea.

 

Understanding the importance of clean water, and the protection from dirt and flies is crucial in preventing diarrhea.

 

Here are some other important suggestions for preventing diarrhea both in children and adults. Although diarrhea tends to be more severe in children.

 

  • Breastfeed rather than bottle feed babies. Give only breast milk for the first 4 months. Breast milk helps babies resist the infections that cause diarrhea.
  • When you begin to give the baby new or solid foods, start by giving her just a little, and mashing it well.
  • Do not give babies unnecessary medicines, for adults always complain to your personal physician about any drug or medications with severe side effects. For other better alternatives
  • Hygiene and sanitary condition should never be compromised. You can avoid developing diarrhea from food poisoning, by washing and keeping your cooking environment clean during cooking and food preparation.
  • Serve food immediately after preparing it.
  • Cook what you can consume and always refrigerate leftovers immediately.
  • When traveling to other countries be mindful of what, where, and how you eat food. This will help greatly in preventing diarrhea.

 

References

https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/diarrhea/symptoms-causes

https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/diarrhea

https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/food-poisoning

 

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