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Last Updated: Dec 02, 2021
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Diarrhoea - Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Diet and Home Remedies

About Symptoms Causes Precautions Diagnosis Treatment Eligibility Side-effects Complication Recovery Results Post-treatment Guidelines Diet Cost Home Remedies Physical Exercises Alternatives

What is Diarrhoea?

Nearly two billion cases of diarrhoea are reported every year from across the globe. Among all the cases the ten percent of the patient suffering from diarrhea are children. In some of the developing countries, the children suffering from diarrhea can also die. The basic characteristic of diarrhoea is that in this condition a loose water stool is experienced by a person. In the majority of the cases the frequency with which the stool passes also increases.

However, the consistency of the stool is not normal. The majority of the cases of diarrhea are caused by either some bacteria, parasite, or virus. There are various medical conditions as well which can cause diarrhoea like inflammatory bowel disease and crohn’s disease. One of the most common health complaints across the world is that of diarrhoea. This condition can range from mild, temporary to a life threatening condition.

What are Signs and Symptoms of Diarrhoea?

As described above diarrhea is a condition in which a person has some loose watery stools. However, the condition of diarrhea may be accompanied by various other symptoms like

  • Pain in the stomach
  • Bloating
  • A person may feel thirsty
  • There may be fever
  • A person might experience some weight loss
  • A person might also suffer from some abdominal cramps.

If diarrhea is a symptom of some other medical condition then the symptoms can be worse. Some of the worse symptoms which can be experienced are

  • A person may experience persistent vomiting
  • There may be pus or blood in the stool
  • A person may be dehydrated

If diarrhea is severe then it is an indication of some severe illness in the body of the patient.

How long does Diarrhea last?

The duration of Diarrhea usually depends upon its type, which may be acute or chronic. An acute type of Diarrhoea has mild symptoms and the duration is 1 to 2 days in most cases while in some cases it may last for around 2 weeks. It does not need to be treated and gets resolved spontaneously. On the other hand, chronic type has severe symptoms, usually continuing for about 4 weeks.

What are the stages of Diarrhea?

Diarrhoea, which is characterized by loose, watery stools and frequent bowel movements, may be divided into three stages depending upon the severity. The stages are such as:

  1. Mild Diarrhoea: Characterized by having loose watery stools only a few times a day.
  2. Moderate Diarrhoea: Characterized by having the stools more number times but less than 10 times per day.
  3. Severe Diarrhoea: Characterized by having Diarrhoeal stools more than 10 times a day.

Can Diarrhoea go away on its own?

Diarrhoea is one of the most commonly occurring conditions, accompanied by loose, watery discharge of stool due to frequent bowel movements. It does not require medical care and treatment and gets resolved spontaneously. It usually takes a time interval of around one to three days to get rid of the condition without any medication or treatment.

What are the Causes of Diarrhoea?

The majority of the cases of diarrhea are due to an infection in the gastrointestinal tract. The infection occurs because of either parasites, viruses, or bacteria. Other major causes of chronic diarrhoea are inclusive of:

  • Microscopic colitis: This can be a persistent diarrhoea that sometimes affects older adults, usually throughout the night.
  • Malabsorption and maldigestion diarrhea: The primary is caused due to impaired nutrient absorption, the second by improper functioning of the digestive system. One example is Celiac disease
  • Chronic infections: A history of antibiotic use or travelling is often clues to chronic diarrhoea. numerous bacteria and parasites are often the cause.
  • Drug-induced diarrhea: The diarrhea can be triggered by laxatives and alternative medicine, as well as antibiotics.
  • Endocrine causes: In some of the cases the hormonal factors can lead to diarrhea for instance carcinoid tumors and Addison disease.
  • Cancer causes: Growth diarrhoea is related to variety of gut cancers.

What are the Precautions for Diarrhoea?

In case of viral diarrhea some of the precautions which can be taken are given below

  • Before preparing any food it is necessary that a person washes his/her hands. It is essential to wash hands after using toilet, changing diapers, coughing, sneezing, and handling meat which is uncooked.
  • For proper washing of the hands a person must lather with soap for a minimum of 20 seconds.
  • If a person is at a place where washing hands in not possible then he/she must make use of hand sanitizers.
  • For the protection of the infants from the rotavirus which is the most common cause of diarrhea, the mother of the child can ask the doctor for the vaccination.
  • For the prevention of the travellers diarrhoea a person must follow the following steps to ensure the risk of diarrhea is reduced
  • A person should eat food products which are hot and properly cooked. Raw and under cooked foods must be avoided at all cost.
  • Drink either boiled water or mineral water. Even the beverages like tea and coffee must be made from boiled water.
  • Before travelling outside it is better that a person asks about the antibiotics which can be taken in case of diarrhea.

Should I go to urgent care for Diarrhoea?

Diarrhoea is a common condition that usually does not need to worry in most cases and gets resolved itself. However, in some cases, diarrhoea may be a serious concern and need urgent medical care and attention. Some of those serious symptoms related to diarrhoea include the following:

  • When the symptoms persist longer than normal such as for more than 2 days.
  • Discharge of stools which appear as black and tarry.
  • Occurrence of high-grade fever.
  • Stool with pus or blood.
  • Pain in the abdomen which may be severe.

How Diarrhoea is Diagnosed?

For diagnosing the condition of diarrhea first the doctor would ask for the symptoms and the medicines which are currently being consumed by him/her. The past medical history will also be taken into consideration. A doctor would be able to diagnose the cause of diarrhea very easily.

However, a doctor may order stool test to confirm the diagnosis and the reason of diarrhea. If a person is suffering from the condition of severe or chronic diarrhea then a doctor may recommend the following tests

  • Liver function test: This test indicates abnormality in the albumin level of a person
  • Test for malabsorption: These will check the retention of calcium, nutrient B-12, and folate. They will likewise evaluate iron status and function of thyroid.
  • Testing for antibodies: This test may detect the presence of celiac disease.
  • Full blood count: Raised platelet count or anemia will indicate towards inflammation.
  • ESR level: The raised level of ESR will indicate the presence of inflammatory disease.

What is the Best Treatment for Diarrhea?

In most cases, replacing lost fluid to prevent dehydration is the only treatment necessary. Medicines that stop diarrhoea may be helpful in some cases, but they are not recommended for people whose diarrhoea is from a bacterial infection or parasite, stopping the diarrhoea traps the organism in the intestines, prolonging the problem.

Instead, doctors usually prescribe antibiotics. Viral causes are either treated with medication or left to run their course, depending on the severity and type of the virus. In adults with diarrhoea, it may help to drink plenty of fluids to avoid becoming dehydrated.

Adding bulk to the diet may thicken the stool and decrease the frequency of stools. Certain foods thicken the stools, including rice, bananas, yogurt, and cheese. An increase in fibre from whole-wheat grains and bran add bulk to the diet.

Who is eligible for the Diarrhoea treatment?

Diarrhoea is a common condition that usually does not need to worry in most cases and gets resolved itself. However, in some cases, diarrhoea may be a serious concern and need urgent medical care and treatment. Some of those serious symptoms related to diarrhoea include the following:

  • When the symptoms persist longer than normal such as for more than 2 days.
  • Discharge of stools which appear as black and tarry.
  • Occurrence of high-grade fever.
  • Stool with pus or blood.
  • Abdominal cramps.

Who is not eligible for the Diarrhoea treatment?

Diarrhoea is one of the most commonly occurring conditions, accompanied by loose, watery discharge of stool due to frequent bowel movements. It does not require medical care and treatment and gets resolved spontaneously. It usually takes a time interval of around one to three days to get rid of the condition without any medication or treatment.

What are side-effects of Diarrhoea treatments?

The treatment methods of diarrhoea usually include the administration of antibiotics such as metronidazole. However, there are some side effects that are associated with the use of antibiotics. Some of those include:

  • Headache.
  • The feeling of nausea and vomiting.
  • Feel of metallic taste.
  • Dizziness, sleeping trouble.
  • Sores or ulcers in the mouth.

What are the 4 complications of Diarrhoea?

Diarrhoea may be acute or chronic, depending upon the cause. Though it can be controlled or managed by certain medications or diet changes, serious complications may occur following the condition in some cases. Some of the complications include dehydration, loss of electrolytes, irritable bowel syndrome, reactive complications like arthritis and eye inflammation, lactose intolerance, and haemolytic uraemic syndrome.

Does Diarrhea make you lose weight?

Diarrhoea may be considered to be associated with a little weight loss, though it is never taken as an effective method of weight loss. A healthy weight loss that involves the loss of unwanted fats in our body is in no case related to stool discharge from the body. However, weight loss may occur in the case of Diarrhoea as a result of sickness as well as loss of excessive amounts of water from the body.

When should I worry about Diarrhea?

Diarrhoea usually occurs in the mild form, which need not worry and goes away itself. However, some cases of Diarrhoea may be accompanied by serious symptoms and complications and in such conditions, it needs medical care and consultation. Some of the conditions which cause a serious concern include the following:

  • Diarrhoea continuing for more than 10 days.
  • When it is accompanied by high fever and frequent vomiting.
  • The frequency of stool discharge is more than 6 times a day.
  • Abdominal or rectal pain which may be severe.
  • Diarrhoea followed by dehydration.

How long does it take to recover from Diarrhoea?

The duration of the recovery period for diarrhoea usually depends on the cause as well as the severity of the disease. In mild cases of diarrhoea, it takes at least a few days to recover from the symptoms, however, in the case of children, the time taken is 5 to 7 days. The condition shows improvement in adults within a time interval of 4 days usually and one week in some cases.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

Usually, the results are permanent for the treatment. Diarrhoea and its recurrent conditions can be managed by some self-care techniques and home remedies as well as the administration of antibiotics in some cases. The treatment basically depends upon the cause and severity of the illness.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

The guidelines post-treatment are:

  • Intake of more amount of water or fluids which facilitates hydration.
  • Maintaining hygiene by cleaning around the anus after defecating.
  • Consumption of probiotics including yoghurt as well as sauerkraut and pickles which are examples of fermented foods.
  • Having sufficient fruits such as bananas.
  • juices, raw vegetables, dairy products, hot and spicy foods, fried food items should be avoided.
  • Processed foods should also be avoided.

What Should I Eat to Stop Diarrhoea?

Apart from taking the medicine for the treatment of diarrhea it is essential that a person follows some diet plan for quick and speedy recovery like

  • After every passing of stool one should drink a glass of water.
  • Don't drink during meals.
  • Consume food products which are rich in potassium.
  • Consume food products rich in sodium content.
  • Consuming foods which are rich in soluble fiber is good for the body and it thickens the stools as well.
  • Fried and sugary food must be avoided at all cost as they might make diarrhea worse.

Read More About: A proper diet for diarrhoea helps to fight against loose motions.

What not to eat in Diarrhoea?

Food has an important connection with bowel movements as it affects our digestive system in both positive as well as negative ways. Hence it is important for us to know about the food items which may act as aggravating factors in case of diarrhoea. Those include:

  • Milk-based products.
  • Food items rich in fat.
  • Fried or deep-fried foods.
  • Fruits especially citrus fruits, including pineapple, cherries, grapes, etc.
  • Vegetables in raw form.
  • High caffeine-rich and carbonated beverages.
  • Excessive alcohol intake.
  • Processed as well as spicy food items.

What is the price of Diarrhoea treatments in India?

The cost of treatment for the condition of diarrhoea in India has been found to be a sum total of expenses from two aspects. The two aspects include hospital-borne costs as well as patients borne costs which are estimated to be Rs. 164.87 and Rs. 111.36 respectively. Hence, the total effective cost comes out to be Rs.276.23 for the overall treatment of diarrhoea.

What are the Home Remedies for Diarrhoea?

Some of the home remedies which can be used for the treatment of diarrhea are as follows

  • A person should not eat fibrous food products and fruits like prune juice and apple.
  • Having strong coffee can be helpful for the person suffering from diarrhea.
  • Avoiding milk products like milk, cheese, paneer can be beneficial.
  • Mixing fenugreek seeds and cumin seeds with yogurt can not only cure diarrhea, but it also helps in regaining body balance.

Physical Exercises for the people suffering from Diarrhoea:

Physical activities and exercises are key to good health. In case of diarrhoea, some form of exercise may be preferred to do in order to improve the condition and also minimize the symptoms related to the condition. A sedentary form of lifestyle must be avoided in this case. Some of the exercises to be preferred include:

  • Light walking or brisk walking for at least 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Regular swimming.
  • Mild jogging.
  • Low-intensity cycling.

What are the alternatives to the Diarrhoea treatment?

Some of the alternatives for the treatment of diarrhoea include the following:

  • Consumption of more and more water and other fluids. These fluids include electrolytic fluids such as broth, sodas free of caffeine, etc. which maintain a balance of electrolytes in the body.
  • Having food items like bananas, rice, and toast.
  • Avoiding caffeine-rich foods and beverages.
  • Food items which are a reason for gas formation include cabbage, beer, carbonated beverages, etc.
Summary: Diarrhoea is one of the most commonly occurring conditions, accompanied by loose, watery discharge of stool due to frequent bowel movements. The treatment methods mainly involve the administration of antibiotics. However, alternative methods are also there which include consumption of more and more water and other fluids such as broth, sodas free of caffeine, and having food items like bananas, rice, and toast.

Popular Questions & Answers

According to doctor (gastro neurologist) I have fissure 6 o clock position and little internal hemorrhoids since 9 months. Now a days after passing stool then mild pain and itching around the anus. Doc. Gave me constipation tab and cream gel and sucral ano. But still I have mild pain and itching in anus area. please suggest me to complete cure for this discomfort ness. Age 37. Male.

MCh(Minimally Invasive & Robotic Surgery), MS - Surgical, MBBS
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Hi Mr. lybrate-user, the medications you were prescribed are meant to control your symptoms. But the primary cause if any anorectal disease is mainly constipation followed by straining. So any thing you apply, problem may come back if you can't re...

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Hi lybrate-user you mentioned that you have tension and sleep problems for a long time. You have sugar and thyroid. Consult a psychiatrist about medication. It is necessary to know what is causing tension and sleep problems. To feel better consult...
1 person found this helpful

Mujhe kaffi time se piles ki problem h masse bhi bhar aa rkhe h kya kru. Kbhi kbhi bhut jyda prblm ho jati h masse kse khtm hoge.

MCh(Minimally Invasive & Robotic Surgery), MS - Surgical, MBBS
General Surgeon, Guwahati
Dear lybrate-user, you are suffering from either grade 2 or 3 piles which will need medical attention. I will suggest you kindly to visit a surgeon nearby and get the diagnosis correctly. In the treatment part, you need to avoid constipation and s...

I am suffering from piles. I have already the piles operation in 2019 and again it is started now in 2022 but its paining a lot of it I don't know what do to now if you have any ideas please let me know. My mother told me the idea of in hot water if we mix dettol and sit for sometime it will be removed of it by automatically. So please suggest me.

MCh(Minimally Invasive & Robotic Surgery), MS - Surgical, MBBS
General Surgeon, Guwahati
Hi lybrate-user, please understand that in all piles case, the route cause is either constipation or straining. So avoid these two, your problem will be 50% sorted. Also,hot sits bath (ur mother is recommending this to you already) is often very h...

I have developed piles or haemorrhoids after taking antibiotics or flagyl 500 three times a day for a few days. My stool is very hard and causing pain during bowel movement. How and why this happened? How can I treat this condition?

M.S GENERAL SURGERY, Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (M.B.B.S.), Medicine
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Hello. This pain during defecation is likely due to anal fissure. For the time being, avoid hot, spicy and non veg food. Drink plenty of water. The treatment involves using laxative syrup, using local anti-inflammatory cream, pain relievers and si...

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