Some interesting facts about diarrhea
- People suffering from infectious diarrhea are likely to lose around 20 liters of fluid from their bodies every day.
- Diarrhea would last mostly for a day or two, however, there are some who suffer from the disorder for a long time due to certain health conditions.
- Persistent diarrhea is a condition that would last from 2 to 4 weeks.
- Chronic diarrhea is a condition that would last for a minimum of 4 weeks.
- Many people think diarrhea is a disease, but actually, it is a symptom of other health issues and complications in the body.
- People can also have diarrhea without any infection due to food allergies, some medications, food additives, and chronic diseases.
- Along with watery and loose stools, the patients having diarrhea urinate much less than normal. Bloating, abdominal cramps, and nausea are some other issues that follow in such a situation.
- The basic way to treat diarrhea is by getting the bowel back to its normal functioning or movements.
- One should prevent himself from dehydration while suffering from diarrhea and look for some home remedies in case medicines are not available or not working.
Diarrhea – A Hilarious Yet Serious Health Issue
Remember making fun of any friend or family member when he is suffering from diarrhea? This has noticeably happened to everyone’s life. Diarrhea is among the common health issues which can range from temporary condition, mild condition, to serious life-threatening condition.
Do you know! around 2 billion cases of people suffering from diarrhea are recorded every year globally and around 1.9 million cases of children below the age of 5 die due to the same in the developing countries! Yes, this is a fact.
Diarrhea is a condition when an individual notices watery or loose stools, or might have frequent bowel movements. The disease basically changes bowel movement frequency. No doubt, the health disorder is quite normal or common, however, it can be serious at times. Diarrhea is a condition that can either be chronic or acute.
Acute diarrhea occurs if some bacterial or viral infection occurs. The condition would last for a day or two only. However, it sometimes takes place due to food poisoning also. On the other hand, chronic diarrhea is a condition that would last for a minimum of 4 weeks due to any disorder in the intestine like Crohn’s Disease and celiac disease.
Traveler’s diarrhea is also another common condition that would take place if any individual comes into contact with the parasites or bacteria while traveling to a developing country.
What are the causes of Diarrhea?
Before starting the Diarrhea Treatment, we should know the causes of Diarrhea. It basically happens when a virus is found in the gut or gastrointestinal tract, which is also known as stomach flu or intestinal flu. This happens due to any bacteria, virus, or parasitic organisms. However, the list of the causes includes:
- Alcohol abuse
- Allergies to particular food items
- Intestine diseases
- Food that keeps the digestive system upset
- Food poisoning or bacterial infection
- Laxative abuse
- Particular medications
- Radiation therapy
- Particular cancers
- Surgeries in the digestive system
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Malabsorption or trouble digesting some nutrients, etc.
Apart from all these, rotavirus is also another cause of diarrhea in children. Diarrhea is also caused due to bacterial infections because of E. coli or Salmonella. Again, severe or frequent diarrhea can also be a result of any kind of bowel disorder or intestinal disease.
What are the symptoms of diarrhea?
Some of the common symptoms and signs related to diarrhea include:
- Abdominal cramps
- Loose and watery stools
- Abdominal pain
- Blood in stool
- Mucus in stool
- The urgency in bowel movement
These are the simple symptoms and signs of suffering from diarrhea. However, there are some symptoms when you need to rush to a doctor. The list includes:
- If diarrhea lasts for more than 2 to 3 days
- You are suffering from dehydration
- Having severe pain in rectal or abdomen
- Having stool that is black or bloody
- Fever above 39C or 102F
Again, for the children, you need to visit the doctor as soon as dehydration is observed, or he is having black or bloody stools.
What is the effective diarrhea treatment?
When one is suffering from mild diarrhea, it can be easily treated with home remedies. However, chronic or persistent diarrhea needs to be properly diagnosed and treated after learning its symptoms. Here are some of the treatments for diarrhea.
1. Rehydrate the patient for Diarrhea Treatment
No matter whether the patient is suffering from mild diarrhea or severe, rehydration is the best way to deal with diarrhea. Increase the intake of fluids. You can also replace the water with other fluids particularly for the children. This would reduce the chances of dehydration. Oral rehydration solution, popularly known as ORS is widely recommended to the patients which contain both glucose and salt. ORS effectively treats the patient suffering from diarrhea in a safe way. Apart from ORS, Oralyte or Rehydration also serves with zinc supplements that provide effective treatment in case of severe diarrhea suffered by children.
2. Antidiarrheal medications
When diarrhea is observed for more than 1 day, there are some anti-diarrheal medications that can also be helpful in treating the issue. There are particular medicines available in the market namely loperamide, Imodium, pept-Bismol, and many more that help in reducing the frequency of bowel movements and stabling the disorder. The medications reduce the passage of the stool as well as help in the prevention of traveler’s diarrhea. All the medicines are easily available from the medical stores without any prescription from the doctor. However, even after taking these medicines, there is no change in the situation, it is highly recommendable to look for some professional consultation.
Along with the medications, you also need to focus on your diet when suffering from diarrhea to control it. The nutritionists recommend taking fluids like fruit juice however, it shouldn’t have added sugar. Make sure after visiting the washroom you replace the lost fluids with one cup fluid in minimum. Take a good quantity of fluids between the meals and not together. Look for ingredients that are rich in potassium and liquid-like potatoes (after removing the skin), fruit juices in diluted form, bananas, etc. Consuming fluids rich in sodium is also recommended like soups, broths, salted crackers, and sports drinks. Check for ingredients that are rich in fiber like rice, oatmeal, bananas, etc. that help in thickening the stool. Avoid food items that can worsen the situation like fried food items, sugary food, creamy food items, etc. There are some fluids also that can turn the situation serious like sweet cherries, sugar-free gum, prunes, caffeine drinks, soft drinks, nuts, honey, figs, dates, lactose dairy product, magnesium, etc.
4. Antibiotics and Probiotics
Antibiotics are mostly used for the treatment of diarrhea due to bacterial infection. For this, looking for some other medications would be helpful. On the other hand, probiotics are much helpful for treating traveler’s diarrhea or for the children suffering from diarrhea for more than a day. Probiotics are widely used for treating diarrhea-related with Clostridium difficile. The probiotics are available in the form of powder, tablets, capsules, and even liquids that help in reducing the frequency. The probiotics and antibiotics can again be purchased without any prescription from the doctor, however, visiting the doctor is also recommended before starting with any.
Apart from this, keeping a watch on what you are having in your meals is also helpful for controlling or managing diarrhea.
What is the right time to see a doctor?
No doubt, in case of mild diarrhea, one can treat the situation through some easily available medications and diet. However, there are conditions when the help of doctors is needed right away. Here are the situations that need a quick move.
- Blood in stool
- Black or tarry stool
- Fever above 101F which lasts for more than a day
- No changes in the diarrheal situation for more than 2 days
- Nausea which doesn’t allow you to have replacing fluids
- Severe pain in the rear end or belly
- Diarrhea after returning from any foreign country
- Dark urine
- Reduced amount of urine
- Increased heart rate
- Dry skin
If you are observing any of the above situations, it is the right time to visit a doctor and seek proper medications and treatment.
How can you prevent diarrhea?
Apart from Diarrhea Treatment, there are some essential ways of preventing viral diarrhea. For this,
- Make sure you wash the hands properly while preparing meals or after food is prepared.
- Wash the hands after coking uncooked meat, changing diapers, visiting the toilet, coughing, sneezing, blowing the nose, etc.
- While washing the hands, make sure you clean the hands properly for a minimum of 20 seconds with properly lathering soap.
- If washing the hands is not possible to look for a good hand sanitizer that is alcohol-based for cleaning the hands and making it germ-free.
- To protect your children from any viral diarrhea or rotavirus, make sure you don’t miss the vaccines approved for it.
- While traveling, keep a watch on your meals. Make sure they are properly cooked.
- Avoid having raw veggies and fruits, uncooked meat, and even dairy products while traveling.
- Make sure you also avoid tap water, ice cubes, and other beverages while traveling. Drink water from purified water bottles, and also use the bottled water for brushing.
- Have beverages that are made using hot or boiling water like tea and coffee in your journey.
- Before starting with the trip, ask the doctor for any antibiotics or medications that can be taken in such a situation.
Diarrhea is a situation that is widely mild in terms of severity. There are many people who depend on home remedies to cure diarrhea at home only. However, if the situation comes with zero changes after a day or two, make sure you immediately seek medication attention for diarrhea treatment.
Diarrhea hence can be a funny health issue for some; however, it should never be taken lightly.