Diarrhea is characterized by loose, watery, and possibly more frequent bowel motions. It can occur on its own or in conjunction with other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal discomfort, or weight loss.
Fortunately, diarrhea is usually just temporary, lasting only a few days. When diarrhea lasts for more than a few days or weeks, it's usually a sign of something else, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or a more serious condition like a chronic infection, celiac disease, or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Symptoms of Diarrhea
Following are the symptoms of diarrhea are as follows
- Abdominal pain and cramps
- Blood in the stool
- Mucus in the stool
- Urgent need to have a bowel movement
When to see a doctor?
Visit your doctor in the following cases:
- Your diarrhea lasts longer than two days without improving.
- You become thirsty.
- You are experiencing significant abdominal or rectal pain.
- Your stools are bloody or dark.
- You have a temperature of more than 102 degrees Fahrenheit (39 C)
Diarrhea in children, especially small infants, can quickly dehydrate them. If your child's diarrhea persists for more than 24 hours or if your child sufferers from below condition, then visit the emergency department of a hospital.
- Severe dehydration
- Has a temperature of more than 102 degrees Fahrenheit? (39 C)
- Has black or bloody stools
Diabetes, regardless of type, is caused by having too much glucose circulating in the bloodstream. However, the cause of your high blood glucose levels varies depending on the type of diabetes.
Norwalk virus (also known as norovirus), enteric adenoviruses, astrovirus, cytomegalovirus, and viral hepatitis are all viruses that can cause diarrhea. A common cause of acute diarrhea in children is rotavirus. The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) virus has also been linked to gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.Parasites and bacteria Diarrhea is caused by exposure to pathogenic bacteria such as E. coli or parasites through contaminated food or water.
Some antibiotic medications are known to cause diarrhea. Antibiotics works by killing the bacteria that cause them, but they also kill healthy bacteria. This upsets the bacteria's natural balance in your intestines, resulting in diarrhea. Anti-cancer medications and magnesium-containing antacids are two more drugs that cause diarrhea.
Lactose is a sugar found in dairy products such as milk. After eating dairy products, people who have trouble digesting lactose get diarrhea. Lactose intolerance might worsen as you get older because the enzyme that aids in lactose digestion decreases.
Fructose is a natural sugar present in fruits and honey. It's sometimes used to sweeten certain beverages. In persons who have problems digesting fructose, it can cause diarrhea.
Artificial such as sorbitol, erythritol, and mannitol, which are nonabsorbable sugars used in chewing gum and other sugar-free goods, can cause diarrhea in otherwise healthy people.
Diarrhea can occur after partial intestine or gallbladder removal procedures.
Other gastrointestinal issues
IBS, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, celiac disease, microscopic colitis, and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth are some of the additional reasons of chronic diarrhea (SIBO).
Prevention of diarrhea
Infectious diarrhea prevention - To avoid the transmission of contagious diarrhea, wash your hands. Handwashing should be done as follows:
Before and after making food, wash your hands. After handling raw meat, going to the bathroom, changing diapers, sneezing, coughing, or blowing your nose, wash your hands.
When handwashing isn't an option, use hand sanitizer
When you can't get to a sink, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Apply the hand sanitizer like hand lotion, making sure to cover both hands' fronts and backs. Make sure the product includes at least 60% alcohol.
Your doctor will inquire about your medical history, check your current medications, perform a physical examination, and maybe prescribe tests to establish the cause of your diarrhea. Tests to consider are:
A complete blood count, electrolyte measurements, and kidney function tests can all be used to determine the severity of your diarrhea.
A stool test may be recommended by your doctor to determine whether your diarrhea is caused by a bacterium or parasite.
Test your hydrogen breath
This test can assist your doctor figure out if you're lactose intolerant. Your doctor will measure the amount of hydrogen in your breath at regular intervals after you consume a liquid that contains a lot of lactose. You're not properly digesting if you're exhaling too much hydrogen.
Colonoscopy or flexible sigmoidoscopy
Your doctor can view your colon by inserting a small, illuminated tube into your rectum. The device also has a tool that allows your doctor to collect a small sample of tissue from your colon (biopsy). The lower colon is visible with flexible sigmoidoscopy, while the entire colon is seen with colonoscopy.
Endoscopy of the upper intestine
To inspect your stomach and upper small intestine, doctors use a long, thin tube with a camera at the end. They may take a tissue sample (biopsy) for laboratory analysis.
Treatment for Diarrhea
Acute diarrhea usually clears up on its own after a few days without medication. Your doctor may prescribe drugs or other therapies if you've tried lifestyle modifications and home remedies for diarrhea without success.
Antibiotics or anti-parasitic medicines
Bacterial or parasitic diarrhea may be treated with antibiotics or antiparasitic medicines. Antibiotics will not help if your diarrhea is caused by a virus.
Fluid replacement therapy
Your doctor would almost certainly urge you to replenish your fluids and salts. For most individuals, this implies electrolyte-enriched water, juice, or broth. Your doctor may recommend IV fluids if consuming drinks bothers your stomach or causes vomiting.
Water is a fantastic way to replace fluids, but it lacks the salts and electrolytes — minerals like sodium and potassium — that your body requires to function properly. Drinking potassium-rich fruit juices or eating sodium-rich soups can help keep your electrolyte levels in check. However, some fruit liquids, such as apple juice, may aggravate diarrhea.
To avoid dehydration or replace lost fluids in children, consult your doctor about using an oral rehydration solution such as Pedialyte.
Changing your medication regimen
If your doctor determines that an antibiotic is to blame for your diarrhea, he or she may reduce your dose or switch you to another drug.
Treating the fundamental causes
If your diarrhea is caused by a more serious ailment, such as inflammatory bowel disease, your doctor will try to manage it. An expert, such as a gastroenterologist, may be referred to you to assist you to develop a treatment plan.
Lifestyle changes and self-care
Without therapy, diarrhea usually clears up fast. Try the following to help you cope with your signs and symptoms till the diarrhea goes away:
- Water, broths, and juices are all good sources of liquids. Caffeine and alcohol should be avoided.
- As your bowel motions improve, gradually introduce semisolid and low-fiber foods. Soda crackers, toast, eggs, rice, or chicken are all good options.
- For a few days, avoid dairy items, fatty foods, high-fiber foods, or foods with a lot of seasoning.
- Inquire about anti-diarrhea drugs. Over-the-counter anti-diarrheal drugs such as loperamide and bismuth subsalicylate may help control severe symptoms and lessen the number of watery bowel movements.
- Probiotics may be beneficial these are available in capsule or liquid form, and some foods, such as certain yoghurt brands,
Dos and Don’ts
To recover from diarrhea and its symptoms, there are some sets of do’s and don’ts. Follow these tips to cure diarrhea fast
|Drink more water to keep your body hydrated.||Don’t eat the wrong foods such as high fibre foods, greasy, oily, or fried food.|
|Take anti-diarrheal drugs, such as Imodium or Pepto-Bismol as prescribed as they can be quite effective in alleviating the symptoms of diarrhea in the short term.||Exercise strenuously: intense exercise can make your dehydration worse or even lead to greater distress in your gastrointestinal tract.|
|Eat food that is good for your gastrointestinal system.||Don't take beverages such as alcohol, coffee, berries, and too hot or too cold beverages|
|Take probiotics that are good for gastrointestinal health such as yoghurt, cheese, pickles, and sauerkraut.||Don't take dairy products for some time.|
Diarrhea Care at Medicover Hospitals
At Medicover Hospitals, we have the most trusted team of doctors and medical experts who are experienced in providing excellent healthcare services to our patients. Our dedicated team of experts, trained nurses and other paramedical staff offer the best care to a patient. We make use of advanced medical technology and state-of-the-art facilities for the diagnosis of conditions and treatment. For the treatment of diarrhea, we have an experienced team of gastroenterologists who diagnose and treat this condition with utmost precision that brings successful treatment outcomes.