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Diarrhea: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

What is Diarrhea?

Diarrhea or Diarrhoea is a disorder that occurs when there is a frequent need to have a bowel movement. The stool occurs to be loose and watery. It might occur as a result of a viral or bacterial infection or sometimes due to food poisoning. Diarrhea can be acute or chronic. Acute diarrhea is fairly common and disappears in a day or two without any treatment. Chronic diarrhea refers to a condition that lasts for at least four weeks. In such cases, you need to see a doctor.

Symptoms of Diarrhea

The primary symptom of diarrhea is loose, watery bowel motion. Depending on the cause, there are multiple signs of diarrhea. You may experience only one of the following or a combination of them:
• Nausea and Vomiting
• Chronic and Recurring Abdominal Pain
• Cramps or Upset Stomach
• Bloating
• Dehydration
• Fever
• Bloody Stools
• Frequent Urge to Evacuate the Bowel
• A Large volume of stools
• Loss of Appetite
• Occasional Muscle Pain or Headache
Diarrhea can cause dehydration especially in the case of children and aged class. The symptoms of dehydration in adults include:
• Thirst
• Lack of Energy
• Less Urine Passage
• Dizziness or Light-Headedness
Symptoms of mild to moderate dehydration in children may include:
• Dry Mouth
• Less Urine Passage
• Irritation
• Listlessness
• Fewer Tears While Crying
• Sunken Eyes. cheeks or belly or a sunken fontanelle
The young children and elderly people are at risk of becoming rapidly dehydrated. Immediate medical attention should be sought in such cases.

Causes of Diarrhea

Diarrhea can be acute or chronic. Acute diarrhea is usually caused by an infection in the gastrointestinal tract caused due to bacterial, viral or parasitic infection of the bowels. Diarrhea caused by any of these infections is called gastroenteritis.

Viral gastroenteritis, popularly known as stomach flu, is a chronic intestinal infection that occurs through contact with an infected person or by ingesting contaminated food or water. Gastroenteritis can be deadly for infants, old people and people with the weak immune system.

Several viruses can lead to gastroenteritis, including:
• Noroviruses: The most common cause of foodborne illness. In majority of the cases, this virus is picked up from contaminated food or water and is also contagious. This virus can affect a person of any age group and can sweep through families and societies.
• Rotavirus: This type of virus is most commonly observed in infants and children. The infection usually causes when children put their finger or other virus prone objects in their mouth. Developed countries like the US provide a vaccine against viral gastroenteritis.
The major concern of viral gastroenteritis is dehydration leading to a severe loss of water, salts, and minerals in the body. Infants, children, aged people may be severely affected because of the loss of fluids.

Treatment for Diarrhea

Mostly the problem of diarrhea cures in a day or two without the need for any treatment. Self-care and home remedies suffice to relieve the symptoms. They are:
• Avoid caffeine, dairy products, greasy, high fiber and sugary foods
• To provide relief from abdominal cramps, place a hot water bottle or a wheat pack on stomach
• Apply zinc or castor oil ointment to affected areas in case of rashes from diarrhea
• Avoid taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen or diclofenac for pain relief as these medications can be a cause for diarrhea
• To avoid dehydration, drink plenty of liquids in the form of broths, soups, diluted non-caffeinated sports drinks, rehydration formulations

However, if diarrhea caused is not due to bacterial or viral infection, there are likely chances that diarrhea is due to the improper functioning of the gastrointestinal or the digestive tract. In most cases, one can treat stomach flu by following a strict diet and intake of healthy fluids and electrolytes.
You can switch to medication if you find your infection incurable. Dr.Piyush Ranjan, one of the best gastroenterologists and liver specialists in Delhi is an expert in this field. After taking a detailed session with the patient the expert and his team recommends the needful treatment. In some cases, probiotics(live microbes) normally present in the digestive tract are suggested as treatment. Studies suggest that some probiotics may help shorten the case of diarrhea. Talking about medicines, there are two types of medicines available to cure diarrhea:
Loperamide(Imodium) slows down the movement of food through intestines. This aids more fluid intake in the body.
Bismuthsubsalicylate balances the flow of fluid through the digestive tract.
For infants or children, vaccination against the virus is the ultimate cure.
In case of failure from the above remedies, the doctor sometimes advices for some antimicrobial therapies to treat bacterial gastroenteritis. Therapies are as listed:
• Aeromonas species
• Bacillus species
• Campylobacter species
• C difficile
• C perfringens
• Listeria species
• Plesiomonas species
• V cholera
• Yersinia species[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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