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Diarrhoea - Symptom, Treatment And Causes

What is Diarrhea?

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

Diarrhea - 5 Ways It Can Be Treated Effectively!

DNB(Gastroenterology), Gujarat University
Gastroenterologist, Ahmedabad
Diarrhea - 5 Ways It Can Be Treated Effectively!

Diarrhea is not usually a serious condition but can be very uncomfortable and embarrassing. This can be caused by a number of factors including bacterial or viral infections, food poisoning, contaminated water etc. Thankfully, it is easy to treat and does not require medication unless it is very severe. Let us take a look some of the most effective ways to treat diarrhoea:

  1. Drink Plenty of Water: Keeping your body hydrated when dealing with diarrhoea is very important. This is because your body loses a lot of water while passing stool. To hydrate your body, drink lots of water. You could also add oral rehydration salts to the water. Avoid drinking sodas, packaged juices and caffeinated drinks such as coffee as they can further dehydrate the body.
  2. Probiotics: To function optimally, your digestion system requires good bacteria. Diarrhea is usually a sign that the bad bacteria levels have overtaken the good bacteria levels. Thus, you need to balance this equation. Probiotics are a source of good bacteria and are available in powder or pill form. It is also available naturally in foods like yoghurt, pickles and kimchi.
  3. Eat the Right Food: When suffering from an upset stomach, eat food that is easy to digest. Food items such as bananas, rice, apples and dry toast are easy to digest and can help bulk up your stool. This is also known as the BRAT diet. You could also include a simple chicken soup, baked skinless chicken and oatmeal in your diet.
  4. Drink a Little Tea: Tannins in black tea are good for the digestive system. They help calm inflammation in the intestines and help the body absorb fluids. Raspberry and blackberry leaf tea are ideal for diarrhoea. You could also try sipping caraway tea. Other teas such as chamomile tea help reduce spasms and calm the stomach. When looking for such teas, ensure that they are made from the leaf and not powdered. Also, do not drink any form of caffeinated tea.
  5. Avoid Spicy Foods: Do not eat anything that is spicy or fried when you have an upset stomach. Also, avoid eating foods rich in fibre as they can make you feel bloated. Alcohol and milk are best left aside until your stomach has healed. Other foods you should avoid include chewing gums with artificial sweeteners, berries, beans, peas, prunes, peppers and ice cream.

If your diarrhoea does not improve, consult a doctor. If it lasts for more than 2 weeks, it could be a symptom of another underlying condition. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

2237 people found this helpful

Defect In Colon - How Colostomy Can Be Of Help?

M.Ch - Paediatric Surgery, MBBS, MS - General Surgery
Pediatric Surgeon, Hyderabad
Defect In Colon - How Colostomy Can Be Of Help?

Colostomies often get used in situations of Imperforate Anus along with other conditions where a paediatrician finds a defect in the colon or in the large intestine.

Selection of Pouch
Pouch systems are available in many styles as well as sizes. They include:

  • A sticky kind of wafer which adheres to the skin and a pouch to collect the stool.
  • One piece pouch has the wafer along with the pouch joined together as a single unit.
  • The two piece system consists of wafer and pouch in a separate manner.
  • There are also open-ended pouches and close-ended pouches
  • Open end pouches are most commonly used as they help people to easily out the pouch of air and stool

Changing the Pouch - Procedure
The frequency, with which the change of pouch takes place, depends upon a number of things. A pouch must be changed after it has been there for a number of days.
The good time to get a pouch changed is before a meal or a number of hours after eating, where there is less of stoma draining.

The procedure involves:

  • Carefully removing the old pouch with mineral oil. Wash and keep the reusable clip aside.
  • A child could be given bath in the tub or shower with the pouch off.
  • Keep an eye on the stoma for changes in size and color. There could a slight bleeding from the stoma.
  • If the stoma is round, make use of the precut template to find a pattern that fits perfectly.
  • A perfect fit means that no skin should be visible around the stoma.
  • In case the stoma is irregular in shape, then use a firm piece of clear plastic to mark a pattern of the stoma.
  • Make use of the template to find an opening on the wafer.
  • Then cut the tracing with sharp scissors
  • Smooth out the rough areas with finger
  • Warm the wafer in the hand to help soften it.
  • Apply Cavilon 3M no sting barrier film to skin around the stoma.
  • If paste is used, it must be applied in a sparing manner to the wafer around the hand cut opening.
  • Press the pouch on the skin by using light pressure with the hand, hence making the attachment secure.
  • Apply clip to the end of pouch.
  • Make the pouch empty once it gets 1/3 filled with air or stool.
  • Change the whole pouch when the wafer becomes loose from the skin.
  • Do not flush the pouch down the toilet.
8 people found this helpful

Digestive Health - 8 Things You Should Just Say 'No' To!

MD - Medicine, DM - Gastroenterology
Gastroenterologist, Gurgaon
Digestive Health - 8 Things You Should Just Say 'No' To!

Knowingly or unknowingly, people often end up consuming food items that affect their digestive health negatively, instead of providing health benefits. Yes, the majority of people think that they can digest any kind of food and won't suffer from any side effects at all. But in reality, based on the preparation, processing, and ingredients present in them, some foods end up triggering digestive problems.

Let's take a look at some such foods that can be bad for the digestive health.

  1. Processed Foods: Processed or packed foods are high in carbohydrates, and can cause various digestive issues, such as bloating, cramping, gas formation, hypertension, and diabetes, when consumed in large amounts.
  2. Alcohol: Technically speaking, alcohol may not be a food; but if you consume alcohol every time you eat, it can be counted as a food item. When the consumption of alcohol is moderate to high, it can cause acid reflux or heartburn, inflammation in the stomach lining, stomach cramps, and even diarrhea.
  3. Artificial Sweeteners: Artificial sweeteners may work great for keeping your blood sugar in control but may affecctyour digestive system adversely. Artificial sweeteners contain ingredients that can increase the chance of bloating, gas, diarrhea, and inflammation.
  4. Fried and Greasy Foods: Fried foods and greasy food are not only difficult to digest but they can also cause minor digestive problems, which later lead to intense stomach conditions such as acid reflux, heartburn, bloating, tummy upset, belching, etc.
  5. Chocolates: Are you fond of eating chocolates? Having a sweet tooth can cost you your digestive health. From heartburn to an upset stomach, eating too many chocolates or candies can result in loose stools and diarrhea.
  6. Foods Rich in Spice: Eating too much of spicy foods and those that contain chili peppers for a tangy flavor can often lead to heartburn and acidity. While you may enjoy eating something delicious with a tangy and spicy taste, the damage it may cause to your digestive health can be a cause forconcern.
  7. Too Much of Caffeine: Drinking too much coffee or drinks with a high caffeine content cannot only irritate the stomach but also damage the smooth functioning of the digestive system. Heartburn, inflammation, constipation, and dehydration are some of the common digestive problems posed by coffee.
  8. Raw Vegetables and Acidic Fruits: While consuming too many acidic fruits can cause acid reflux and stomach inflammation, eating raw vegetables leads to cramps, diarrhea, bloating and gas as they pass through the digestive system undigested.

For those who are concerned about their digestive health, consulting a doctor is recommended. In case you already have a stomach related ailment or disorder or have suffered from any in the past, a doctor can suggest and advice you and what are the best foods to incorporate in your diet.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

3001 people found this helpful

Chronic Diarrhoea - What Causes It?

MBBS, MD-Medicine, DNB-Gatroenterology
Gastroenterologist, Gurgaon
Chronic Diarrhoea - What Causes It?

Chronic Diarrhoea is a condition that results in watery or loose stools. While most diarrhoea subsides within a few days time, the chronic ones persist up to a couple of weeks. Some common symptoms that can help to identify chronic diarrhoea include bloating, nausea, fever, blood in the stool, abdominal cramps etc. Here is a brief look at the possible causes of chronic diarrhoea:

What are the possible causes of chronic diarrhoea?
Parasites and bacteria: Parasites and bacteria are often transmitted from contaminated food and water. Certain parasites such as the cryptosporidium and Giardia lamblia can lead to chronic diarrhoea. Some common bacteria include Escherichia coli, Campylobacter, Shigella, and Salmonella. In the more developed countries, diarrhoea is often referred to as the traveller’s syndrome. Diarrhoea can also result from a course of antibiotics due to an infection from Clostridium difficile.

  1. Viruses: Some of the common viruses that can lead to chronic diarrhoea include viral hepatitis, Norwalk virus, and cytomegalovirus. A certain virus known as the Rotavirus can lead to an acute childhood diarrhoea.
  2. Medication: Certain medication is known to be the culprit when it comes to causing diarrhoea. Antibiotics, for instance, tend to equally destroy both the good and the bad bacteria thereby disturbing the bacterial balance of the intestine leading to chronic diarrhoea. Certain other drugs related to cancer, antacids containing magnesium etc can also lead to chronic diarrhoea.
  3. Artificial Sweeteners: Certain artificial sweeteners are known to be causing chronic diarrhoea. Compounds such as Mannitol, Fructose etc found in certain sugar-free products or chewing gum can lead to chronic diarrhoea in otherwise healthy people. It is, therefore, advised not to consume too many artificial sweeteners in excess at one go.
  4. Intolerance of lactose: Lactose is a type of sugar that is mostly found in dairy products. People who find it difficult digesting this compound often tend to suffer from diarrhoea when they consume dairy products. Our body produces an enzyme to digest lactose. However, this enzyme tends to rapidly feds away from the body with age. Lesser the amount of this enzyme, greater is the chance of lactose intolerance leading to an increased risk of chronic diarrhoea.
  5. Surgery: There are surgeries that can begin the onset of chronic diarrhoea. Certain procedures such as the gallbladder removal surgery and abdominal surgery run a high risk of chronic diarrhoea.
  6. Fructose: For people who find it hard to digest fructose can suffer from chronic diarrhoea. Fructose is a naturally occurring sweetener found in honey, fruits etc and is often added to beverages to enhance the taste.
  7. Certain digestive disorders: Certain other situations such as celiac disease, microscopic colitis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis irritable bowel syndrome etc can lead to chronic diarrhoea.  In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
1926 people found this helpful

Enlarged Pancreas - 5 Factors Behind It

MBBS, MD - General Medicine, DM
Endocrinologist, Hyderabad
Enlarged Pancreas - 5 Factors Behind It

Enlarged pancreas can result beacuse of factors such as: 

  1. An abscess in your pancreas: This refers to a dangerous formation inside the pancreas. Neglecting its occurrence can also turn out to be fatal. An abscess is a cavity containing pus that further infects the rest of the organ. Presence of harmful bacteria in the pancreas leads to such a case.
  2. A cyst in the lining of your pancreas: Epithelial cysts in the pancreas can also cause the organ to swell up. Such cysts are mostly benign but they are accompanied by disabling pain.
  3. Pancreatitis is one disease with an array of threats: Highly active enzymes within the organ can make its tissues wear down thus, affecting the size of your pancreas. If you are an alcoholic, you are more prone to develop this condition. It could also be contracted due to an excess of calcium or fats in the blood.
  4. Cancer of the pancreas is dreadful too: Due to the unanticipated growth of cancer cells in the pancreas, the organ grows bigger. A person suffers from excruciating pain under the influence of this condition.
  5. Pseudocysts in the pancreas can have serious ill effects: When benign cysts become unmanageably harmful, they result into pseudocysts. The cysts contain remains of your tissues and other damaging fluids that can increase the size of the pancreas.

An enlarged pancreas surfaces in the form of these symptoms:

  1. The kind of stool you pass indicates a lot about your health. Oily poop can be indicative of an enlarged pancreas. Persisting diarrhea can also be a symptom of pancreatic ailments.
  2. You may even experience an accelerated pulse rate.
  3. You may feel feverish continually. Bouts of fever can impede your free movement and general health.
  4. Health issues with your pancreas can make you suffer from jaundice. It could be a one- time affair or it could reappear from time to time.
  5. Constant queasiness could hint at some underlying problem in your pancreas.
  6. You may even lose more than a few pounds over a short span of time. Such a thing should not be taken lightly as it not only makes you look sick but also degrades your immunity. If you wish to discuss any specific problem, you can consult an endocrinologist.
3108 people found this helpful

Popular Questions & Answers

I am 29 years old I am suffering Alan pain for 2 weeks is this piles? Or any thing else. Some swelling on my Alan n blood is out when I am go for toilet. What to do? My Dr. Recommend me smuth cream and some other medicines for pain n Loosing my stool.

MS - General Surgery, MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery
General Surgeon, Varanasi
Swelling with pain in perianal region is suggestive of perianal abscess (not piles ). And if blood is also coming, this can be due to fistula formation. Nothing much can be commented without examination. I suggest you to continue the medication and get a surgical opinion. Kindly make a personal consultation to me regarding medication and surgical opinion.

I had sudden onset cramps followed by heavy diahhrea sun at 6 pm. Mon at 2 am had bloody diarrhea maybe 2 tablespoons same monday at 6 pm. Today at 11 pm I passed stool coated in dark red blood. Could this be left over from the diarrhea and what might this be?

MBBS, MD - Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
Orthopedist, Mumbai
You are having acute dysentery. It could be either bacterial or amoebic. Do a stool routine examination to find out Please consult a physical and take proper dedication.
1 person found this helpful

HI, I’m suffering from swelling in large intestine both sides Also suffering from loose motions and anal fissures from 2 years.

MCh(Minimally Invasive & Robotic Surgery), MS - Surgical, MBBS
General Surgeon, Guwahati
You need to be ruled out of IBS. Inflammatory bowel syndrome. If positive for this, you will be prescribed few medicines only. Kindly consult nearest gastro meteorologist.

Table of Content

What is Diarrhea?

Classification of diarrhea:

What causes diarrhea?

Other causes of diarrhea include:

Play video
Tips on Treating Diarrhea In Children
Good Morning, I am Dr Anurag Singh. Working as a consultant in Apollo cradle hospital, Gurgaon. Today I want to give some tips about diarrhoea in children.

So, Diarrhoea is a very common problem in children. Especially in the summer season. And the child present with multiple symptoms. Some of the common symptoms are loose stools, vomiting, fever, lethargy, so these are the symptoms that parents come to visit a paediatrician. This diarrhoea can be divided into different groups as per the clinical condition of the children.

So, first, it is divided into no dehydration, some dehydration and severe dehydration. So, if your baby has no dehydration, so baby will be playful. Diarrhoea will be there. Diarrhoea or loose motion more than or 3 times per day or it is loose in consistency is defined as diarrhea. If your baby is not coming to the "no dehydration" group, the baby is dehydrated like some dehydration or severe dehydration. In some dehydration, he will ask for the water again and again. Although he is not to be active or some amount of dullness will be there, eyes will be sunken, thirsty overall mucosa will be dry. Eyes will be dry. So, if u can just your skin pinch just feel the skin of the baby. If you leave it, it will go back slowly. It is a sign of some dehydration. So you need to give the proper amount of ORS in this child. As per the age or as per the weight, there are some guidelines to follow and maintain the hydration level in this kind of children. So the key point of management of diarrhoea in children is to maintain the hydration level. So, if you are able to maintain the proper homemade remedies or solution so you can manage it at home also properly. But if you are not able to manage it with the ORS or any home made remedies, then the baby is not able to take it or babies is lethargic. To get admitted your child, And maintain proper hydration level.

Basically, treatment basic purpose is to maintain the hydration level . just take care of your baby in the summer season. If your baby is getting diarrhoea so give proper ORS solution and keep your baby hydrated. After that, I just want to give some points to read the viewer.

If anybody wants a further consultation or any further knowledge about the diseases in the children in this season. about diarrhoea or any disease in children in the various season so they can visit me in and they can message me or text or call me also at lybrate .com. I will be available as per the convenience

Having issues? Consult a doctor for medical advice