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Diarrhea Symptoms

Diarrhea or Diarrhoea is a discomfort caused in the stomach usually due to a virus or contaminated food. It is a disorder related to irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease. Diarrhoea symptoms include watery stools, stomach pain, loose and frequent sensation for stool. Some of the diarrhea infections require the need of antibiotics to make people better and severe cases lead to more dehydration that may require intravenous fluids to be administered for recovery. So, we can conclude that the following diarrhea symptoms occur if one suffers from diarrhea.

  • Loose or thin stools

  • Watery stool

  • Cramp or Abdominal pain

  • Bloating in belly region

  • Urgency for bowel movement

  • Nausea and vomiting

Some of the other severe symptoms of diarrhoea include weight loss, fever and blood or mucus in the stool. We often treat diarrhea at home with precautionary measures, drinking ORS and avoiding oily food; however, if diarrhea is not treatable for long days and causes much dehydration, it is best to visit a nearby hospital or take help from the doctor.

 

What is Diarrhea?

Diarrhea is a disorder caused due to bowel infection or gastroenteritis which can be majorly because of a virus such as rotavirus or norovirus as well as bacteria such as E.coli and Clostridium difficile.

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What Causes Diarrhea?

Diarrhoea is caused by various factors but it does not occur due to any underlying disease. The primary reason for this is the reduction in the absorption of fluid by intestines and also an increase in the secretion of fluid or  liquid and speedy passage of bowel waste through intestines. Some of the causes of diarrhoea are listed below.

  1. Excess liquid diet

  2. Alcohol abuse

  3. Food intolerance

  4. Stress/Anxiety

  5. Use of laxatives

  6. Food allergies

  7. Diabetes

  8. Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis

  9. Spicy food not suiting to digestive system

  10. Food poisoning (bacterial infection)

  11. Overactive thyroid or hyperthyroidism

  12. Certain medications

  13. Radiation therapy

  14. Skin cancers

  15. Malabsorption

  16. Surgery related to digestive disorders


Types of Diarrhoea

There are majorly two types of diarrhea, namely-

 

1. Acute Diarrhea

Acute watery diarrhea lasts for 2-3 days and is not a life-threatening condition. It also includes cholera and acute blood diarrhoea known as dysentery that may last for several hours or days. It can be cured with the help of prescribed medications.

 

2. Chronic Diarrhea 

It is persistent diarrhoea that can last for 14 or even more days and it is caused due to some underlying gastrointestinal disorder. 

 

Some of the Other Types of Diarrhoea Include the Following: 

  • Secretory diarrhea – It i s the secretion of excess fluid into the intestines.

  • Osmotic diarrhea – It is caused when excessive water is drawn into the bowels.

  • Motility-related diarrhea – It is the condition where intestines are highly active and transport intestinal contents with high speed, there is not enough time for absorption of water and electrolytes. It results in watery and loose stools. 

  • Collagenous colitis – Here, the intestinal lining is damaged and it cannot absorb water and electrolytes.

  • Inflammatory diarrhea – It is caused when intestines are damaged due to bacterial or fungal infections.

 

Treatment of Diarrhoea

Usually, acute diarrhea can be treated within 2-3 days depending upon the controlled diet or regime. It is best to take some suggestions from a physician if it's bothering you for long. Some of the beneficial steps are having a plain food without spice and taking oral electrolyte solutions. Doctors may suggest some of the following treatments for diarrhea:

  • Antibiotics which are helpful for the symptoms caused by bacterial or parasitic infections.

  • Water containing salt and electrolytes help in replacing the lost fluids, eg: ORS solution.

  • Certain medications that may treat diarrhea symptomatically.


Signs of Diarrhea When It’s Must to Visit Doctor

Many times, we take diarrhoea lightly and think it will be normal within a few days. However, we should observe the symptoms when it is long lasting and go to the doctor for suggestions instead of trying ineffective medications at home. Following are some of the severity observed in diarrhoea that is a sign for fastest doctor visit:

  1. Blood in stool or tarry and black stool

  2. Fever that lasts for over 24 hours

  3. Excess throwing up and nausea preventing you to eat or drink anything

  4. Severe abdominal pain or rear portion

  5. Diarrhea after coming back home from foreign places

  6. Dark coloured urine

  7. Rapid heart rate

  8. Headaches

  9. Dry skin

  10. Crankiness

  11. Confusion

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is Diarrhoea?

Diarrhea is the abnormal bowel movement that leads to watery and loose stools. If you have an urge to empty your bowels more than 3 times a day, it is often termed as diarrhoea or diarrhea. 

2. What is the Difference Between Diarrhea and Dysentery?

Diarrhea is a discomfortable condition where one needs to pass loose or watery stools frequently (at least 3-4 times a day) whereas dysentery is an intestinal inflammation, that occurs in the colon, and is a condition of severe diarrhea with mucus or blood seen in the feces. Therefore, dysentery needs medical attention and doctor’s medications for treatment.

3. What are the Reasons for Diarrhea?

Diarrhea is often caused by a virus or bacterium. Sometimes, it may be food poisoning or allergic food that leads to diarrhea. Some medications are also responsible for creating loose stools and food that are not suitable for our digestive system can lead to diarrhea. Other reasons for diarrhea are radiation therapy, malabsorption or poor absorption of food, infected food intake and surgeries related to the digestive system. 

4. Which is the Bacteria Causing Diarrhoea?


Several types of bacteria are responsible for causing diarrhoea and some of these belong to the family of Escherichia coli, Salmonella, Shigella and Campylobacter.

Besides bacteria, rotavirus is also known to cause diarrhoea.

5. Which is the Most Dangerous Symptom of Diarrhoea?

Dehydration is the major symptom of diarrhoea that causes you to lose water from the body. When one loses excess fluid than the intake, the body doesn't have enough water or  other fluids to carry out its normal functions. In this condition, one should replace the lost fluids via oral electrolytes solution consisting of salts, warm water and sugar.

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