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Last Updated: Apr 02, 2024

Can Consuming Artificial Sweeteners Cause Diarhhea?

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Dr. Sanjay KumarGastroenterologist • 30 Years Exp.Diplomate of National Board , DM in Gastroenterology , MD in General medicine, MBBS
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Diarrhea is a condition wherein you suffer from loose, watery bowel movements on a frequent basis, generally 3-4 times a day. This lasts for a few days and due to the frequency of fluid loss, it results in dehydration. Dehydrations signs begin to show up with the loss of ability to stretch the skin and frequent irritations in behaviour. Passing of less urine, loss of skin, heart rates getting faster and slow responses are some of the other signs. You can easily sense the occurrence of diarrhea by following certain symptoms. We take a look at some of the signs and symptoms typically associated with the problem of diarrhea.

Signs and symptoms of diarrhea

As mentioned earlier, one of the most common symptoms of diarrhea is watery bowel movements on a frequent basis, occurring minimum 3 to 4 times a day for a few days.

Some other symptoms are as follows:

  • Cramps in the abdomen followed by pain
  • Fever
  • Blood in the stool
  • Bloating, a situation, arising when stomach gets swollen due to gas.
  • Nausea
  • You feel an urgency to have a bowel movement.

When you come across these symptoms and feel as if they are slowly turning into severe ones, consult your doctor. Diarrhea persisting for more than two days seek for an immediate appointment with the doctor.

You need to be extra cautious if your children seems to have either of these symptoms, as diarrhea can very easily lead to dehydration for them.

Causes behind diarrhea

Diarrhea can be caused as result of a number of diseases and conditions. They include:

  • Viruses: Norwalk virus, cytomegalovirus and viral hepatitis are some of the viruses, that can cause diarrhea. Diarrhea among children are caused due to Rotavirus.
  • Bacteria and parasites: Another cause behind diarrhea is contaminated food or water, which has the potential to transmit bacteria and parasites to the body. Giardia lamblia and Cryptosporidium are the two parasites which cause diarrhea.
  • Medications: Some antibiotics can also cause diarrhea as they destroy both good and bad bacteria, thereby causing disturbance to the natural balance of bacteria in our intestines.
  • Dairy Products: Dairy products like milk, curd etc have lactose in them. Lactose is a sugar found in these products. Now people, who face difficulty in digesting lactose suffer from diarrhea after eating dairy products.
  • Artificial Sweeteners: Sorbitol and Mannitol are some of the artificial sweeteners, generally found in chewing gum and many other sugar-free products, cause diarrhea.

Treatment for Diarrhea

In majority of the cases involving diarrhea, they get resolved without treatment. Still, some of the treatment options which people go for to get relief from diarrhea are:

  • Rehydration: As diarrhea results in loss of fluid during to frequent bowel movements, so drinking enough water to stay hydrated is a must. ORS can help replenish the water and salt in the system.
  • Eat Bland Diet: Only drink water for one whole day. Then gradually limit your diet to only bananas, rice, toast and tea.
  • Antidiarrheal Medication: Medicines like Loperamide and Imodium, which restricts stool passage are both available over-the-counter.
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