Diarrhea is amongst the most common diseases to happen, especially amongst kids. Passing of loose stool frequently is termed as Diarrhea. Almost everyone has experienced this disease at least once in his or her lives.
Though people take diarrhea as merely an unpleasant condition, if contacted the acute form of diarrhea, it may become life threatening. Worldwide, diarrhea is one of the major causes leading to the infant deaths.
When you start passing frequent loose or liquid stools, it is sure to be diarrhea. Acute diarrhea is usually short-lived and occurs suddenly. Meanwhile, chronic diarrhea continues for a longer period. Major symptoms of Diarrhea, other than the frequent loose motions, are wind, stomach pains, cramps, nausea, vomiting, headache or piles. The back passage and the area around might feel sore.
Viral infections, parasites or bacterial toxins result in diarrhea. This is usually caused by food poisoning, gastroenteritis, anxiety, excess alcohol, some foods or side effects from certain drugs. Diarrhea can also be a secondary symptom of the more serious disease like dysentery, Montezuma’s Revenge, cholera or botulism or Crohn’s disease. Diarrhea is also a secondary symptom of appendicitis. At times, radiation sickness may also lead to diarrhea. Lactose intolerance may also result in loose stools.
Diarrhea can be classified into four types -- secretory diarrhea, osmotic diarrhea, motility-related diarrhea and inflammatory diarrhea.
Secretary diarrhea is associated to the secretary imbalances. This happens when there is an increase in active secretion or an inhibition of absorption. This type of diarrhea is caused by a cholera toxin, which leads to the secretion of anions and chloride ions.
Osmotic diarrhea happens when there is loss of water because of heavy osmotic load. Maldigestion (pancreatic disease or celiac disease) is the main cause of osmotic diarrhea.
When the motility of the gastrointestinal tract becomes abnormally high, it leads to Motility-related diarrhea. The food starts moving too quickly and thus the nutrients and water are not properly absorbed. Agronomy, diabetic neuropathy or a complication of menstruation are the causes for this type of diarrhea.
A damage to the mucosal lining or brush border results in the inflammatory diarrhea. This type of diarrhea leads to a passive loss of protein-rich fluids along with the decrease in the ability to absorb these fluids. The features of the above mentioned three types of diarrhea could be found in this one form of diarrhea. This diarrhea can be caused by bacterial infections, viral infections, parasitic infections or autoimmune problems (like inflammatory bowel disease).
Replacing the lost fluids and salts is usually the only treatment required to treat diarrhea. Water, clear soups, sugary drinks are all ideal for treating diarrhea and making up for the lost fluids and salts. Over the counter medicines which are available are lopeamide (Imodium) and bismuth subsalicylate Pepto Bismol and Kaopectate.
You can continue taking the normal diet, unless it makes motions worse. At times, bland foods are better tolerated. Consult a doctor if you see pus, blood or mucus in the diarrhea, apart from the severe stomach pains, dehydration, no urine passing over 12 hours or if the diarrhea continues for more than four days.
Usually, spoilt foods, bad water and hygiene problems lead to diarrhea. Thus taking good care of personal and food hygiene is very important, especially during summers and monsoons. Sanitary conditions will also help the diarrhea patient recover fast.
Appropriate storage, proper cooking of foods and avoiding foods, which are unsuitable for the bowel, especially while traveling, will definitely help reduce the risk of food poisoning. Healthy eating, restrictive alcohol drinking and low stress level will also help prevent diarrhea.