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Diarrhoea - Symptom, Treatment And Causes

Diarrhea is a very common condition. It is generally classified as a symptom or an underlying cause of a disease or a disorder. It can range from mild to severe. It can even cause death in chronic situations. Diarrhea is characterized by unusually watery or loose stools. Generally babies who breastfeed pass pasty and loose stool, this should not be confused with symptoms of diarrhea and is completely normal.

Facts about diarrhea:

  • It can be chronic, persistent and acute.
  • It is caused due to infection by viruses, bacteria and parasites.
  • Chronic diarrhea is also called irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
  • Diseases such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are major causes of chronic diarrhea.
  • Diarrhea is usually diagnosed by testing stool samples of the affected.
  • Diarrhea can cause severe dehydration, which is why electrolytes and fluids are given during treatment.
  • Zinc supplements and antidiarrheal medications are given to reduce the symptoms of diarrhea.
  • Probiotic and nutritional interventions can also be used during diarrhea.

Classification of diarrhea:

  • Acute diarrhea- This type of diarrhea lasts between number of days to several hours. It usually lasts less than 14 days. Acute diarrhea includes virus found in cholera. Blood found in acute diarrhea is a sure symptom of dysentery.
  • Persistent diarrhea- The diarrhea which lasts more than 2 weeks but less than 4 weeks is called persistent diarrhea.
  • Chronic diarrhea- This form of diarrhea is extremely fatal and needs immediate medical attention. Chronic diarrhea occurs when you experience watery stools for more than 4 weeks.

What causes diarrhea?

Diarrhea can be caused when there is high mobility of the intestines or when there is acute inflammation of the intestinal walls. Secretory diarrhea occurs from chloride secretions inside the bowels. This leads to a huge loss of fluid. Whereas, osmotic diarrhea is caused when the small intestine fails to absorb soluble compounds, this leads to the water flowing into the gut.

Other causes of diarrhea include:

  • Microscopic colitis- This form of diarrhea only affects older people. It is usually persistent at night.
  • Malabsorptive diarrhea- It is caused by inadequate nutrient absorption. It can also be caused due to a condition known as celiac disease.
  • Drug induced factors- Sometimes consumption of too many laxatives can lead to acute diarrhea.
  • Endocrine causes- Disorders such as hyperthyroidism, carcinoid tumors ad Addison disease can result to diarrhea.
  • Cancer causes- Neoplastic diarrhea is a symptom of gut cancer.
Treatable by medical professional Usually self diagnosable Lab test sometimes required Short-term: resolves within days to weeks Non communicable
Abdominal pain Abdominal cramps Frequency to visit the toilet Passing of watery stool Vomiting Nausea

Popular Health Tips

HIV - What Type Of Nutrition Should You Follow?

Dr. R.Pavan Kumar 88% (39 ratings)
General Physician, Nalgonda
HIV - What Type Of Nutrition Should You Follow?
Nutrition and HIV are closely connected. When a patient s immune system is severely affected due to HIV, it can lead to malnutrition and vulnerability to other diseases. Such infections can cause diarrhea, weight loss, and weakness. Malnutrition and not maintaining a healthy intake of nutrients can be a direct link or cause to the progression of the HIV disease. How does good nutrition help? Healthy nutrition obviously cannot treat or cure an HIV infection, but it certainly can help the patient to maintain and reinforce the immune system. A healthy diet can also contribute to the general well-being of a patient. Healthy nutrition is an important factor in for people living with HIV. Besides, prophylaxis, a cure for unscrupulous infections, and Anti-Retroviral Treatment, nutrition is essential for an HIV patient. What is a balanced diet for HIV Patients? A balanced diet is not a singular meal for patients suffering from HIV. It denotes that a person should eat and drink the correct amount of food from various food groups in order to remain somewhat healthy and strong enough to deal with the treatment process. Drinking adequate clean water is imperative. What should HIV patients consume? People living with HIV are advised to consume the fresh vegetables grown in the vicinity. Seasonal fruits and vegetables should be incorporated into their diet. Choosing foods from these food groups is the key to completing a balanced diet. Cereals, pulses, roots, and rhizomes. Legumes, nuts, seeds. For non-vegetarians, the consumption of protein-rich food items such as fish, meat, and eggs is recommended. Vegetables are the key to any proper diet is eating green vegetables. It is necessary to make sure that the vegetables are washed and cleaned in order to reduce the risk of further infections or diseases. Daily consumption of freshly grown fruits including seasonal fruits. Fats Sugar HIV patients should focus on eating regularly. Having three meals a day is a must. Along with a balanced diet, drinking lots of clean or purified water ensures that the body is fully hydrated and helps with maintaining a good digestive process. Foods items that are rich in vitamin A, for example, yellow-orange foods are very important in improving immunity. Fruits such as pawpaw, bananas, and vegetables such as carrots, are good sources of vitamin A. A well-nourished person is highly likely to preserve a sturdier immune system for dealing with HIV and fighting off the infection. Consulting a physician regarding the appropriate diet is important as some food items may not be suitable for patients.

Psychosomatic Disorder - How Homeopathy Plays A Role?

Dr. Dharmendra Chak 85% (12 ratings)
Homeopath, Pune
Psychosomatic Disorder - How Homeopathy Plays A Role?
'Psycho' refers to the mind and 'soma' refers to the body, so psychosomatic disorder is a problem with a combination of mind and body. Not only are these bodily disorders caused by a psychic factor, the correlation between these symptoms (aggravation and recovery) are very strong. Psychosomatic disorders are commonly referred as psychosomatic illness. It is an illness whose symptoms are caused by mental processes of the sufferer rather than immediate physiological causes. If a medical examination can find no physical or organic cause or if an illness appears to result from emotional conditions such as anger, anxiety, depression or guilt then it might be classified as psychosomatic. The concept of psychosomatic disorders has been in existence since the time of Sigmund Freud. The belief is that with the varied emotions that a person experiences, each disease manifests with a different set of symptoms in each person, implying that each person needs to be treated differently and not given the same disease-specific medication. This is where homeopathy plays a very strong role in psychosomatic disorders as it also believes in treating the person as a whole and not just the symptoms. In homoeopathy, we base our prescription on what we call constitutional symptoms where we give lot of importance to the mental symptom as well as to the characteristic physical symptom. Hence every prescription from a Homoeopathic physician will surely include an element of psychosomatic angle. It is beyond the scope of this editorial to mention all the remedies of Materia Medica which has the scope for the treatment of psychosomatic disorders. The homeopath always undertakes a thorough discussion with the patient to understand the accompanying symptoms in detail and then arrive at a customized treatment plan. Some of the most common psychosomatic disorders include irritable bowel syndrome, migraine, GERD, ulcerative colitis, and allergy disorders. Specific substances are given to manage anxiety, depression, irritability, insecurity, paranoia, etc. These feelings are considered inducers for the above disorders, and managing them can help bring about a harmony in the patient's overall health. GERD: Gastro esophageal reflux disease is a disorder that results from stomach acid moving backward from the stomach into the esophagus. GERD usually happens because the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the muscular valve where the esophagus joins the stomach, opens at the wrong time or does not close properly. Homeopathy For GERD: Homeopathic medicine relies not only on identifying the symptoms of the disease, but on a variety of personality traits, the person's mental state and other characteristic symptoms a patient exhibits which correlate to any particular remedy. When choosing a correct remedy for the treatment of heartburn, all aspects of the patient are taken into account. These are some of the Homoeopathic medicines that may prove beneficial:- Argentum nit, Cal.carb., China, Carbo veg, Lycopodium, Nat. phos, Nux vomica, Phosphorus, Pulsatilla, Robinia, sulphuric acid etc. Migraine: Migraine is a form of headache. The pain is usually throbbing, pulsating and bursting in character. At times, the pain is one sided or may involve the whole head. Such pain may last for hours or even days. It is often accompanied by other symptoms like nausea or vomiting. At the same time, there is increased sensitivity to light and sound. In some cases, the pain is preceded by some warning symptoms like flashes of light, temporary blindness or tingling sensation in the limbs. Homeopathy for Migraine: Belladonna is widely used homeopathy remedy for migraines, where headache is throbbing and violent, occurs suddenly, worsens on touching, and relieves with pressure. Glonoine is useful in congestive headaches with a reddened face that is worsened by sun or heat. Natrum Mur is useful in cases where headache is brought on by grief or stress. Ulcerative colitis: Ulcerative colitis is a serious chronic inflammatory disease of the large intestine accompanied by ulcerated lesions of the intestinal tissues. It is characterized by episodes of abdominal pain with profuse diarrhea in which large quantities of blood, pus, and mucus are present in the feces. There is an urgency to move the bowels, as many as, three to ten times per day. It may be accompanied with pain, nausea, and vomit. Because of the loss of blood, the patient may become dehydrated and anemic. Complications of ulcerative colitis includes liver and kidney disease, peritonitis, toxic mega colon, and risk of developing colon cancer. Homeopathy for Ulcerative Colitis: To identify the actual inducing agent, some foods are removed to see if they are inducing attacks. Once identified, that is removed from the patient's diet. In addition, aloe, arsenicum album, carbo vegetabilis, colocynthis, are commonly used remedies for ulcerative colitis. The patient is asked for associated symptoms like bleeding diarrhea, color of the feces, involuntary defecation, abdominal pain, anxiety, cramps, and stress before deciding on a treatment mode. Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Irritable bowel syndrome, also known as spastic colon is a functional disorder characterized by recurrent abdominal pain, cramping, and bloating. Some people suffer from constipation, which means hard, dry stools, difficult to eliminate, leading to straining without success. Some people experience diarrhea, with frequent loose watery stools. Homeopathy for Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Sulphur, Pulsatilla, Phosphorus, Nux Vomica, Lycopodium clavatum, Argentum Nitricum, and Silicea are commonly used homeopathic remedies. Associated symptoms that need to be considered before deciding on a therapy include frequency of stooling, nature of stools, abdominal bloating, restlessness, irritability and nervousness. Homeopathy is a preferred mode of treatment for psychosomatic disorders as they aim at a holistic treatment of the individual and not just at symptom management. Allergy: Allergy is an abnormal reaction or increased sensitivity to certain substances. The allergic individual produces symptoms when exposed to these substances, which are harmless to non-allergic people. The main reason for this is that allergic people make a special type of antibody called immunoglobin E (IgE), which can react with environmental substances in harmful way. These substances which lead to secretion of IgE antibodies are called allergens. Homeopathy for Allergy: Few important remedies for the homeopathic treatment of allergy are- Histamine, Natrum Mur, Kali Bich, Sepia, Hepar Sulph, , Carbo Veg , Sulphur, Bryonia, Nux Vom, Apis Mel, Ailanthus, and Justicia adhatoda.
4326 people found this helpful

Stomach Infection - Best Ways It Can Be Avoided!

Dr. Mansoor Khan 83% (14 ratings)
MBBS, Associate Fellow of Industrial Health
General Physician, Chittorgarh
Stomach Infection - Best Ways It Can Be Avoided!
Contaminated food is one of the most common sources of infections in the human body and so the stomach is one of the most commonly affected organs. Whether it is eating raw food or unhygienically prepared foods, the stomach has very high chance of getting infected than other body parts. One of the most common causes of stomach infection is the norovirus also called as cruise ship virus. Spread through vomitus and faecal material, it is quite contagious and can affect large amounts of people in confined areas like a cruise ship. The common symptoms would include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, bloated feeling, abdominal pain (generalised or localised), fatigue, and tiredness. On the brighter side, there are well-proven measures listed below which are simple and easy to follow that can help avoid stomach infection. Restore bacterial balance: The good bacteria in the stomach are lost with the stomach flu and restoring it will help in managing the flu. A good amount of probiotics and fermented foods including yoghurt, sour curd, etc., will do wonders by restoring natural flora. Supplements can be taken if required, and these bacteria will restore the ability of the stomach to fight the virus. Isolation and separation: If there is a close family member affected by the virus, ensure they are staying separately and all their clothing (bedding included) are maintained in an isolated manner. Children and elderly need extra protection, whether they are affected or are in the same household. Cleaning methods Since the virus spreads by contaminated faecal matter, vomitus and through surfaces, it is necessary to prevent the spread. When in doubt, washing hands is very useful. Use soap and water instead of a hand wash. Staying away from picking nose and touching eyes are also useful. The infected person s clothes should be washed separately in extra hot water and bleached to get rid of the virus. Using the dishwasher or soaking the washed utensils in extra-hot water is a good way to get rid of the virus. Surfaces like laptops need to be cleaned more regularly and rigorously Steam cleaning of carpets is a good idea to get rid of the virus that may be locked there. Avoid going out or being in close contact for about a week, as the virus needs that much time to clear out completely. Food habits Do not eat raw or uncooked foods Drink loads of water, clear soups, sports drink and lime juice to replace lost fluid. Eat whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables that are well-cooked to ensure you get the essential vitamins and minerals. Following the above measures can help avoid the stomach flu and stay healthy.
3284 people found this helpful

Foods You Should Not Eat When You're Sick

Dt. Sanchita Shaw 92% (12 ratings)
Masters In Nutritional Therapy
Foods You Should Not Eat When You're Sick
Food probably isn t the first thing that comes to your mind when you are battling flu or an infection. But eventually, you have to fuel the tank, and it does matter what you choose to eat when you are sick. There are some foods and drinks which can make you feel even worse. Therefore, it is always beneficial to know which foods to avoid during severe health conditions. By eliminating these foods and consuming more of immunity-boosting foods, you can recover quickly and reduce the severity of your symptoms. Read on to know what you should avoid eating when you are sick- If you have got the runs: When you have diarrhea, avoid candies and gums made of artificial sweeteners as they contain sorbitol which isn t digestible and can instigate diarrhea. Also, avoid foods that can trigger bloating and gas, such as apple, onion, broccoli, beans and cabbage. Dairy, caffeine and alcohol can also provoke diarrhea. If you are constipated: Constipation can occur when you are not eating enough fiber-rich whole grains, fruits, and veggies, which stimulate digestion. Avoid consuming dairy products, chocolates, pain medication and iron supplements if you are constipated. If you are feeling nauseous: Feeling queasy makes all foods unappealing, but avoiding greasy, spicy, oily foods, alcohol, caffeine, and carbonated drinks can help calm stomach acids. If you have sore throat: Hot fluids are by far the most beneficial. Not only do they help soothe your sore throat, but they're also known to loosen mucus, which may help relieve other symptoms such as congestion and stuffiness. So consider having soup or drinking hot water to alleviate the pain, and avoid scratchy, hard foods such as granola, potato chips and nuts as they aggravate the pain. Acidic juices made from vegetables and fruits, such as grape juice or orange juice, can also aggravate a sore throat. If you have body ache: When your body aches, don t grab that cup of espresso or that glass of whiskey, since both caffeine and alcohol can dehydrate your body, thereby worsening the pain. If you have a headache: Stay away from artificial sweeteners, aged cheese, MSG (monosodium glutamate which is found in soy sauce), chocolate, red wine and processed meat. MSG has been linked to high blood pressure which can cause headache. If you have an earache: Stay away from dairy products, processed and packaged foods, as they increase inflammation and lengthen the recovery process. If you have an allergy: Avoid consuming milk, wheat, soy, berries, eggs, tomatoes, fish, nuts, chocolates and nuts as these foods commonly cause itching and can trigger rashes. If you have runny nose: A hot broth or hot tea will give you comfort, but you should avoid spicy foods and alcohol. Spicy foods actually aggravate a runny nose. Take Home Message Getting proper nutrition, drinking healthy fluids, and taking proper rest are some of the most important things you can do to feel better when sick. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
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Alcohol - Did You Know It Can Mess With Your Poop?

Dr. Prashant Saxena 89% (129 ratings)
Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine and Surgery (BAMS)
Ayurveda, Rajgarh
Alcohol - Did You Know It Can Mess With Your Poop?
Consuming too much alcohol can cause people a lot of problems like nausea and headache. Additionally, it can also mess up with your bowel movements and affects your motions by giving you loose motions or constipation. Alcohol hinders digestion, causes dehydration and drying out, discourages glucose metabolism and compromises the working of the central and peripheral nervous systems. The combined effect of these components is the primary reason for chronic constipation, identified with alcohol misuse. Here are a few reasons why and how alcohol can mess up with your poop: Dehydration: Alcohol tends to dehydrate the body almost as much as a session in a sauna does. That is the reason your mouth feels so dry the next morning. Once your body gets dehydrated, it works extra minutes to recover the liquids and electrolytes from any place it can find them, including from the substance of your stomach. Accordingly, stools become dry, hard and difficult to pass. Powerlessness to move bowels: Alcohol smothers intestinal peristalsis and kills the urge to move your bowels. For the same reason, it kills your decision making ability. Inability to move your bowel when you want, expands, impacts and solidifies the already dried out stools until it gets too difficult to go out without straining and subjecting yourself to anorectal harm. These are the two issues that usually precede chronic constipation. Loss of electrolytes: Alcohol causes loss of electrolytes that are vital to hold dampness in the poop. Eg. Sodium and potassium. Water maintenance in the body and stools requires sodium and potassium, the minerals known as electrolytes. These are not stored in the body for the same prolonged way as calcium or magnesium and they require constant replenishment. Since alcohol stimulates urination and regularly causes diarrhea and nausea, these minerals are rapidly lost. Occupies digestion: Alcohol in excess causes extreme vomiting that encourages the majority of the above conditions. Liquor hinders stomach absorption and causes deferred stomach emptying. This condition is known as gastroparesis. After around 8 to 10 hours inside the stomach, undigested proteins begin to spoil. This can lead to loss of appetite and the inability to eat proper meals. Diarrhea: Alcohol affects your glucose level to such a degree that it might bring about loss of bowel capacity control and result in loose bowels, with symptoms like vomiting and nausea. Just like sometimes the knees go powerless on you from an excessive amount of alcohol, so does your bowel movement. In turn, diarrhea and vomiting are caused due to excess intake of alcohol may bring about serious irritation of the whole GI tract and digestive system, and fester in the body for quite a while.
3018 people found this helpful

Popular Questions & Answers

I have gone through anal fissure surgery 3 month ago. I have still not recovered. Having bleeding every morning after bowel movement. Taking pain killers everyday. I suspect piles are also present. Diarrhoea since many months. Please advise.

Dr. Krishanu Samanta 89% (1328 ratings)
Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine and Surgery (BAMS)
Ayurveda, Kolkata
Take abhayarista 3tsf BDPC for three months. Apply anovate and lox 2%gel locally thrice daily. Sitz bath with luck warm water and betadine lotion twice daily.

Hi, I am 22 year old female. I am dealing with so many medical problems Such as Migraine Vomiting sensation Acidity & gas Also, As soon as I eat I have urge to poop. I deal with constipation every time from last 2 years I guess Sometimes diarrhoea also. And sometimes both together. I used to weigh 55 kgs in September 2017 but now it's 48 kgs without trying I get tired very easily I don't like eating anything but sometimes I eat so much I have craving for specific foods such as burgers. Also I have PCOD.

Dr. Girish Dani 88% (2504 ratings)
MD - Obstetrtics & Gynaecology, FCPS, DGO, Diploma of the Faculty of Family Planning (DFFP)
Gynaecologist, Mumbai
First for other complaints meet MD physician. For PCOD- PCOD is a disease where there is hormonal imbalance. Depending on your complaints, examination, reports and stage of life treatment differs and it also needs more time so get yourself treated with patience. Meet Gynecologist in whom you have trust as you will need to go for long time to him/her.
1 person found this helpful

I am having diarrhea from past two weeks Stomach feels like full Last week my stool was black in colour Now its normal What to do Nothing is digested in my stomach.

Dr. Tanima Bhattacharyya 89% (540 ratings)
DHMS (Diploma in Homeopathic Medicine and Surgery), FWT (W.B)
Homeopath, 24 Parganas
Hi Lybrate user for your digestion you can take homoeopathic medecine 1 Nux vom 30 2 drops to be taken twice daily morning and evening direct on your tongue, 2 chelidoneum Q +ceanonthus Q +carduas Q + HydrastisQ equal quantity mixed with half cup water, suppose 5+5+ 5+ 5=20 drops to be taken twice daily after meal with half cup water, you report me after 15 days. Thanks. Take care.

Hi I am suffering from loose motions from 2 weeks Actually nothing is getting digested in my stomach My diet is very normal Last week I was having black stool But now its fine normal colour I did’t take any iron tablets Please suggest me what to do.

Dr. V.P. Bansal 90% (403 ratings)
MBBS, MD, DHMS (Diploma in Homeopathic Medicine and Surgery)
Homeopath, Indore
You need to see the food what you are taking, till then take Ars alb 200, 4 pills thrice a day and podophyllum 30, 4pills once a day for 2 days and report thereafter for further treatment. Do exercise daily, avoid spicy, heavy and junk food, avoid alcohol and smoking (if you do) eat salads and sprouts, papaya to reduce gastric problem. Don't be empty stomach, because it will cause acidity. We have good homeopathic medicines, both for your problem, but for that we need to take whole case taking, so that appropriate treatment gets started.

Hello doc my son is 4 years old from yesterday morning he is suffering from stomach pain loose motions once vomited I feel he is infected. Can I give him jox-o ofloxin syrup or pleas tel me any other good medicine. Please reply thank you.

Dr. Jayvirsinh Chauhan 97% (6881 ratings)
MD - Homeopathy, BHMS
Homeopath, Vadodara
It is not safe to prescribe medications without proper check up of the patient... The antibiotics are prescribed according to the weight and severity of infection... There are other factors also to consider...
1 person found this helpful

Health Quizzes

Diarrhea - Myths and Facts

Dr. Pranjal Deka 93% (1327 ratings)
MCh HPB Surgery, Fellow European Board of Surgery, MS - General Surgery, MBBS
Gastroenterologist, Guwahati
You should avoid coffee if you have diarrhea. True or false? Take this quiz to find out.
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66 people took this quiz

Diarrhea - Do's & Don'ts

Dr. Vijay Rai 88% (36 ratings)
Gastroenterologist, Kolkata
You should avoid coffee if you have diarrhea. True or false? Take this quiz to find out.
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1648 people took this quiz

Diarrhea - Know Its Myths and Facts!!

Dr. K. S Somasekhar Rao 87% (19 ratings)
DM - Gastroenterology, MD - General Medicine, MBBS
Gastroenterologist, Hyderabad
If you have diarrhea, you should avoid fats completely. True or false? Take this quiz to find out.
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1272 people took this quiz

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