An overview of diarrhea
Diarrhea is one of the regular and most common health problems in the country. You may hear several complaints about it.
According to a survey of the World Gastroenterology Organization, more than 2 billion diarrheal diseases get diagnosed. Among them, 1.9 million people affected are children below the age of five years. These children live in unhygienic environments and may die from the condition.
Some individuals may have a high frequency of passing stools, but this might be a normal consistency for them, based on their body index and metabolism; it is not diarrhea. Just like this, breastfeeding infants may have pasty and loose stools. This is very normal and is not a case of diarrhea.
Based on the symptoms and causes, diarrhea can be a mild and temporary condition, or it can be deadly as well. The prime characteristic of diarrhea is abnormally loose and watery stools.
What are the causes of diarrhea?
Primarily, diarrhea causes are bacterial, viral, and parasitic organisms, which are commonly known for causing stomach or intestinal flu. In addition to bacterial infections, some causes of diarrhea are as listed:
- Any change in food habits or diet
- Food intolerance or infections
- Excessive alcohol intake
- Inflammatory bowel syndrome
- Coeliac disease
- Surgical infections
- Irritable bowel disease
- Side effects of prolonged medications
- Among children, the primary cause of diarrhea is a viral infection
What are the symptoms of diarrhea?
Commonly, diarrhea leads to very frequent and watery bowel movements. The stools may also contain an excessive amount of fat, blood, pus, and mucus. In addition to this, diarrhea also showcases the following symptoms:
- General weakness
- Acute abdominal pain
What are the dehydration symptoms of diarrhea?
Diarrhea can lead to dehydration among patients of any age. Some of the dehydration symptoms caused by diarrhea are the ones listed:
- Lack of energy
- Feeling lightheaded
- Very less urination
- Dry mouth
- Fewer tears among children while crying
- In acute diarrhea, children likely to showcase sunken cheeks, a protruding belly, dry eyes, and fontanelle
When should medical advice be sought for diarrhea?
Diarrhea may be a common ailment, and most of us have experienced it in some part of life. A mild case of diarrhea can get cured by itself in a few days. However, you should immediately seek medical advice if the symptoms are severe. You should consult your doctor in case of the following situations:
- You or your child is experiencing severe diarrhea and getting dehydrated quickly.
- If your diarrhea continues for more than two days.
- Your stools are becoming tarry and dark.
- Your face is becoming blood-red.
- Your stool contains high-fat content and blood, or is greasy, pale, and smelling foul.
- Your stool is sticky and difficult to flush.
- You are experiencing symptoms such as a high fever, stomach ache, weakness, and vomiting.
- You are feeling dizziness and experiencing weight loss.
What are the treatments available for diarrhea?
The treatment of diarrhea highly depends on the showcased symptoms. In general, if you adhere to the following suggestions, you can get relief from diarrhea gradually:
- You should drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration and get relief from diarrhea. You can opt to drink a lot of water, oral rehydration fluid such as ORS dilutes, fresh fruit juice, and diluted cordial concentrate.
- Try to avoid carbonated drinks. If you drink them, ensure that you dilute them first. The high glucose content available in such drinks can worsen your symptoms of diarrhea.
- Restrict the consumption of food items that are sensitive to diarrhea.
- Do not decrease fluid intake even if you are vomiting.
- Avoid uncooked food and vegetables.
- Avoid fatty sweets and spices.
- You can opt for probiotic drinks.
- Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics in severe cases.
- Over-the-counter drugs such as Loperamide or Imodium are proven to be helpful.
If you notice considerable symptoms of diarrhea causes, it is wise to consult a physician immediately as it helps in early recovery.