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Diarrhea in Adults!!

MBBS, Diploma in Tuberculosis and Chest Diseases (DTCD), MD - General Medicine
General Physician, Delhi  •  39 years experience
Diarrhea in Adults!!

Diarrhea is one of the world’s most common ailments and almost everyone suffers from it now and then. It is a condition in which the bowel movements become loose and watery. In many cases, diarrhea lasts a couple of days. But when it lasts for a week, then it can mean a serious disorder. You have to seek medical attention immediately in such scenarios.

Symptoms:

The symptoms of diarrhea can include loose, watery stools, abdominal cramps and pain, blood in the stool and bloating symptoms. If the condition persists for more than two days and if you are unable to find any relief, consult your doctor. You might also tend to get dehydrated when you are suffering from the condition. Hence, you might feel weak and tired. Occasionally, your stool samples may be loaded with blood.

Causes:

There are many harmful pathogens that can cause diarrhea- including viruses and bacteria. One of the most important reasons is contaminated water and the buildup of parasites in your body. There are also certain foods that might not suit your body type and as a result, you might experience diarrhea. Do know your food symptoms and follow a proper diet accordingly. One of the major complications of diarrhea is dehydration and if left untreated, it can become life threatening. This is especially worse in small children. Hence seek medical attention if your child is suffering from it. Do look out for signs like no tears when your child cries and withdrawn face in your child.

Other causes include:

Diagnosis:

Diagnosis is usually rare for diarrhea unless you want to find the reason. Usually, this is done by testing your stool and in some cases even your blood.

When to see a doctor

People who have warning signs of blood or pus in the stool, fever, or signs of dehydration should see a doctor right away, as should those with significant abdominal pain. Such people may need immediate testing, treatment, and sometimes admission to a hospital. If the only warning signs are chronic or nighttime diarrhea or weight loss, people should see a doctor within a week or so. People without warning signs should call a doctor if diarrhea lasts for more than 72 hours. Depending on the person's other symptoms, age, and medical history, the doctor may recommend the person have an examination or try at-home or over-the-counter treatments

Treatment:

In most cases, diarrhea symptoms can clear up by themselves, without any treatment. Most of the scenarios involve changing your food habits for some days. You can take antibiotics but use of antibiotics in diarrhoea should be only under medical supervision. In most cases these are helpful and the symptoms will go away after a day or two. Drink plenty of fluids during these days to replenish the lost water content and to keep your body hydrated at all times. If drinking fluids affect your stomach then you may need to take the fluids intravenously. If you do not get relief from the symptoms even after a couple of days, seek medical help. 

Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) - How To Make It?

Oral Rehydration rehydration salts (ORS) is a special drink made up of sugars, salts, and clean water. It can help replace fluid loss from severe diarrhea or vomiting. Studies have shown ORS to be as effective as intravenous fluid administration when treating dehydration. ORS drinks can be made using purchased packets, like Pedialyte®, Infalyte®, and Naturalyte®. You can also make ORS drinks at home using clean water, salt, and sugar.

Making Your Own ORS Solution--

1. Gather the ingredients. To make your own ORS solution, you’ll need:

  • Table salt 
  • Clean water
  • Granulated or powdered sugar

2. Mix the dry ingredients. Add a half-teaspoon of table salt and 2 tablespoons of sugar into a clean container. You can use granulated or powdered sugar.

  • If you don't have a teaspoon to measure, you can use a fistful scoop of sugar and a three-finger pinch of salt. 

3. Add one liter of clean drinking water. If you cannot measure out a liter, add 5 cups of water (each cup is about 200 ml). Only use clean water. The water can be bottled water or recently boiled and cooled water.

  • Be sure to only use water. Milk, soup, fruit juice or soft drinks cannot be used since they will make the ORS ineffective. Don't add any extra sugar.

4. Stir well and drink. Use a spoon or whisk to mix the ORS powder into the water. After a minute or so of vigorous stirring, the solution should be completely dissolved. Now, it is ready to drink.

  • ORS solution can be refrigerated for 24 hours. Do not store it any longer. If you wish to discuss any specific problem, you can consult a general physician.
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