Diarrhoea : Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
August 10, 2022
What is diarrhoea?
Diarrhoea is a frequent problem characterised by loose, watery, and possibly more frequent bowel motions. It can occur alone or with other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal discomfort, or weight loss. When you have diarrhoea, you will often have loose, watery stools and an urgent need to urinate many times daily. Diarrhoea can be both acute and persistent. When diarrhoea lasts for 1 to 2 days, it is considered acute. You may get diarrhoea as a result of a viral or bacterial infection caused by anything you ate or drank. Chronic diarrhoea is defined as having diarrhoea on most days for more than three to four weeks.
The following are some of the most common causes of chronic diarrhoea:
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD)
- Conditions such as celiac disease affect the absorption of certain nutrients.
Causes of diarrhoea
A variety of conditions or circumstances can cause diarrhoea. Diarrhoea can be caused by several things, including:
- Rotavirus, norovirus, and viral gastroenteritis are examples of viral infections.
- Bacterial infections, including Salmonella and E. coli
- Parasitic infections
- Intestinal diseases
- A food intolerance, such as lactose intolerance
- An adverse reaction to a medication
- Gallbladder or stomach surgery
Chronic diarrhoea could be a sign of a more severe disorder like irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease. On the other hand, frequent and severe diarrhoea could be a sign of intestinal illness or a functional bowel condition.
Symptoms of Diarrhoea
The most common symptoms of diarrhoea are frequent loose, watery stools and a strong desire to urinate.
Diarrhoea can cause a variety of symptoms. You might have just one of these or any combination of them. The cause determines the symptoms. It is usual to have one or more of the following symptoms:
- Abdominal pain
- A frequent urge to evacuate your bowels
- A large volume of stools
Dehydration & Diarrhoea
Diarrhoea can cause rapid fluid loss, putting you at risk of dehydration. It might have severe consequences if you do not get treatment for diarrhoea. Dehydration symptoms include:
- Dry mucous membranes
- Increased heart rate
- A headache
- Increased thirst
- Decreased urination
- Dry mouth
Diarrhoea in babies and young children
- Decreased urination
- Dry mouth
- A headache
- A lack of tears when crying
- Dry skin
- Sunken eyes
- Sunken fontanel
You should drink extra water or electrolyte replacement drinks like sports drinks to treat diarrhoea. In difficult situations, fluids may be administered via intravenous (IV) therapy. If a bacterial infection causes diarrhoea, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics.
Your treatment will be based on:
- The seriousness of the diarrhoea and associated illness
- The frequency of diarrhoea and accompanying symptoms
- The extent of your dehydration, your health
- Your medical background
- Your age, your tolerance for various procedures or drugs
- Expectations for your condition’s improvement
When establishing the reason for your diarrhoea, your doctor will perform a physical examination and review your medical history. They may also request laboratory examinations of urine and blood samples.
Additional examinations Your doctor may order the following tests to establish the cause of your diarrhoea and other related conditions:
- Diet elimination tests are used to evaluate whether a food intolerance or allergy is the source of the problem.
- Imaging tests to look for intestinal inflammation and structural issues
- A stool culture to look for germs, parasites, or illness signs
- A colonoscopy to look for symptoms of intestinal disease throughout the colon
- A sigmoidoscopy to look for signs of intestinal disease in the rectum and lower colon
A colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy can assist in determining whether you have an intestinal ailment or severe or chronic diarrhoea.
Although diarrhoea can develop from a variety of causes, there are steps you can do to avoid it:
- Washing the cooking and food preparation areas more frequently will help you avoid diarrhoea from food poisoning.
- As soon as the food is ready, serve it.
- Refrigerate any leftovers immediately.
- Thaw frozen food in the refrigerator.
Preventing traveller’s diarrhoea
When travelling, you can assist prevent traveller diarrhoea by doing the following:
- Before you go, ask your doctor if you can start an antibiotic medication.
- Avoiding tap water, ice cubes, and potentially contaminated fresh produce
- While on vacation, washed with tap water
- While on vacation, only consume bottled water.
- Just eating cooked cuisine when on vacation.
Preventing viral or bacterial infections
If you have diarrhoea caused by a viral or bacterial infection, you can prevent the infection-causing agent from spreading to others by washing your hands more frequently. When washing your hands, use soap and scrub for 20 seconds. When hand washing isn’t an option, use a hand sanitiser.
People also ask
1. What is better? Preventing diarrhoea or letting it go?
If you have severe diarrhoea, it is better to address it immediately. By treating diarrhoea, your body can begin to heal, allowing you to feel better and get back to your day as soon as possible.
2. What are the four types of diarrhoea?
It is classified into three types primarily: watery, fatty (malabsorption), and inflammatory. Watery diarrhoea is further classified as osmotic, secretory, or functional. Irritable bowel syndrome, the most prevalent cause of functional diarrhoea, is included in watery diarrhoea.
3. Does drinking water help with diarrhoea?
Drinking water is the first step in rehydrating. Fluid replacement is critical for healing. If this is not done, a person may become dehydrated. Dehydration can be dangerous in youngsters and the elderly, so encouraging them to drink water if they have diarrhoea is critical.
4. How should you sleep when you have diarrhoea?
You want to be as comfortable as possible in the position. Sleep in whatever posture permits you to get out of bed the quickest if you have diarrhoea. There isn’t much a sleeping position can do to aid with diarrhoea, so go with whatever feels comfortable and allows you to hurry to the bathroom when the time comes.
5. What happens to the body when you have diarrhoea?
You lose a lot of fluids when you have diarrhoea. Salts and minerals such as sodium, chloride, and potassium are also lost. These salts and minerals affect the amount of water in your body. Dehydration can be dangerous, especially for youngsters, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems.