Diarrhoea

DiarrhoeaWhat is Diarrhoea?

Diarrhoea refers to the frequent passage of watery or loose stools. One way to determine whether you are suffering from diarrhoea or not, is to count the number of times that you went to the bathroom to pass stools. If you have been to the bathroom three or four times, then you can consider it as having diarrhoea. This condition can occur either as an acute condition or as a chronic one. Acute diarrhoea often lasts one two days and would simply go away on its own without any medical intervention. Chronic diarrhoea may be an offshoot of some chronic disease. Once your diarrhoea lasts for more than two days, then you must consult a physician to see what could be causing the problem.

One of the really adverse effects of diarrhoea is dehydration. Being dehydrated means that the body now lacks the right amount of fluid it needs to function properly. In children, dehydration is a dangerous condition and must be treated properly, which is why children who suffer from diarrhoea must be given the proper medical attention.

Another effect of diarrhoea is weakening. This is due to the body’s inability to fully absorb nutrients like Vitamins A, D, E, and K because these nutrients rush through the body and pass on to the bowels.

 

What Causes Diarrhoea?

There are various known causes for diarrhoea:

  • Food intolerances. Indeed, the diet has got a lot to do with diarrhoea. There are people who eat foods, which their body may not tolerate or digest completely. Some examples of these foods would include the sugar which is found in milk like lactose and sweeteners.
  • Intestinal diseases. Some diseases have diarrhoea as one of their side effects. Watch out for diseases like inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, as well as colitis.
  • Bacterial and viral infections. There are various types of these bacteria that one may accidentally consume through contaminated food. Other types of bacteria are found in water. Some bacteria that usually cause diarrhoea are E. coli, Salmonella, Shigella, and also Campylobacter. Aside from bacteria, there are also viruses that cause diarrhoea. These include, but not limited to, viral hepatitis, rotavirus, cytomegalovirus, and Norwalk virus.
  • Parasites. Nobody likes these tiny and miniscule yet harmful living organisms. And in fact, they are also one of the causes of diarrhoea. They enter the body through the food or water that one eats or drinks. Some of these harmful parasites are Entamoeba histolytica and Giardia lamblia.
  • Medications. At times, medicines taken by the body could also cause diarrhoea. Some of these are antibiotics, cancer drugs, blood pressure medications, and also antacids that contain magnesium.
  • Operations on gastro-intestinal tract. Patients who undergo operations on their intestinal tracts are known to suffer from diarrhoea.

 

Diagnosis, Signs and Symptoms of Diarrhoea

Diarrhoea only has a few symptoms.

  • Frequent passage of stools. If you tend to move your bowels three or four times a day, then you may actually be suffering from diarrhoea.
  • Loose and watery stools. Aside from the frequency of bowel movements, having soft, loose, and watery stools, is another symptom of diarrhoea. You would feel you are just eliminating water out of your body and without any effort.

 

Remedies, Treatment and Cure for Diarrhoea

  • Antibiotics. If diarrhoea is caused by either parasites or bacteria, then antibiotics would be able to prevent them.
  • However, if your diarrhoea is caused by virus, then antibiotics would not be able to help. To better understand the cause, it is always best to consult a physician before taking any antibiotics.
  • Replace fluids. Since the body loses a lot fluids when dehydrated, it is very important therefore to take in plenty of juices, broth, or water. If you cannot tolerate fluids, then you can do it intravenously. Remember that you need to drink fluids that contain plenty of potassium, such as fruit juices. Soups could be a good source for sodium.
  • Treat the cause of diarrhoea. Sometimes, diarrhoea could be a result or an effect of another body disorder. Once you are able to treat these underlying conditions, you would be able to see the symptoms of diarrhoea fade.
  • Probiotics. Several researches have shown that probiotics, those that contain beneficial bacteria can help in treating diarrhoea. Some probiotic foods like yoghurt, cheese, tempeh and miso could be good.

Friendly Foods

  • Take in plenty of juices, broth and other liquids. Just try to avoid pear and apple juices because these could worsen your diarrhoea.
  • Gelatin. This was known to help alleviate diarrhoea.
  • Add low-fibre foods. Try adding these foods to your diet gradually whenever your bowel movements are getting back to normal.
  • Buttermilk. This is the residual milk that is left right after fat has been removed through yoghurt churning. This helps in establishing a good flora in the intestine and overcomes a bad flora. It is also beneficial in fighting germs since the acid that buttermilk contains has this capability. This could be taken with a pinch of salt, around two or three times a day.
  • Carrots. You can actually take in carrot soup. This is really effective when it comes to treating diarrhoea. It gives the body more water to combat dehydration. It replenishes certain nutrients that were lost by the body such as potassium, sodium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and sulfur. It also allays inflammation of the intestine.
  • Turmeric. This is a very good antiseptic and is considered as a gastric stimulant.
  • Ginger. If diarrhoea is caused by indigestion, then ginger is a very good remedy. It could aid digestion by stimulating the intestinal tract.
  • Banana. This encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestine.
  • Garlic. This is a very good antibiotic that aids digestion.

Foods to Avoid

  • Caffeine and alcohol. These foods are a no-no whenever you are suffering from loose bowel movements.
  • Dairy products.
  • High fiber foods. These should be avoided as these would further loosen the stools.
  • Fatty foods. These could aggravate the situation if you are suffering from diarrhoea.
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