Published: Tue, January 31, 2017
World | By Tasha Manning



Definition of diarrhea

Diarrhea is a change in bowel movements that causes stools that are softer than normal. Feces are what remains once the digestive system absorbs nutrients and fluids from what you eat and drink. The digestive system is made up of the stomach, small intestine and colon.

The stool leaves the body through the rectum. If liquids are not absorbed, the stools will be soft and liquid. The stools will also be soft and liquid if the digestive system produces an excess of fluids. Soft stools are more abundant than normal. People with diarrhea often go away frequently. They can get to evacuate about one liter of liquid stools in a day.

Symptoms of diarrhea

People with diarrhea also may have the following symptoms:

Cramps in the abdomen (the area between the chest and hips) Swelling in the abdomen > Urgent need to evacuate bowels Inability to control intestines (fecal incontinence) Chills Fever

In addition, people with diarrhea may feel sick to the stomach or be dehydrated.

Definition of dehydration

Dehydration means that the body does not have enough fluid to function properly. You lose fluid whenever you breathe, sweat, urinate or evacuate the bowels. Diarrhea increases fluid loss through bowel movements. Along with the liquid, you lose salts (chemicals that your body needs to function properly). Loss of fluids and salts can be serious, especially for babies, toddlers and older adults.

In addition, the kidneys may stop working.

Signs of dehydration in infants and toddlers are: dry mouth and tongue

High fever In addition, the skin of children seems to lose elasticity when they have diarrhea.

Anyone can have diarrhea

This common problem can last for 1 or 2 days, or a few months or years, depending on the cause. Most people get better without treatment. But diarrhea can be serious for babies and older adults if lost fluids are not replaced. Many people throughout the world die from diarrhea. This is due to the large amount of water lost and the loss of salts that accompany it.

Causes of diarrhea

Here are some causes of diarrhea: >

  • bacteria, viruses or parasites (very small organisms that live inside a larger organism)
  • medicines like antibiotics
  • foods like milk >
  • Diseases that affect the stomach, small intestine or colon, such as Crohn's disease and irritable bowel syndrome

Sometimes no cause can be determined for diarrhea .

When to see a doctor

Diarrhea is often removed without treatment. However, it may be a sign of a more serious problem. You should talk to the doctor if your diarrhea lasts more than 3 days. You should also call the doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • signs of dehydration
  • severe pain in the abdomen or rectum
  • fever Of 102 ° F (about 39 ° C) or more
  • black or tarry stools

The doctor can test you to determine the cause of the diarrhea. For example: a physical exam

stool or blood tests to look for bacteria, parasites or other signs of illness or infection Fasting tests to see if diarrhea disappears when you stop eating a particular food a sigmoidoscopy (a test inside the rectum and part of the colon) a colonoscopy Of the entire colon)

For a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy, the doctor uses a thin, flexible probe that has a light and a lens at the end. H3> Treatment of diarrhea

In many cases of diarrhea, the only treatment required is the replacement of lost liquids and salts. For example:

Adults should consume broth, soup, fruit juices, soft fruits or vegetables. Children should drink a special liquid that has all the nutrients Need. These solutions are sold over-the-counter in supermarkets or pharmacies. Some examples are Pedialyte, Ceralyte and Infalyte.

In some cases it may be helpful to take medicine to stop diarrhea. The following medicines are available without a doctor's prescription:

Loperamide (Imodium) Bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto Bismol and Kaopectate)

If your symptoms get worse or diarrhea lasts longer than 2 days, stop taking these medicines.

You should avoid any type of food or medicine that is causing diarrhea. You should also avoid foods that can make diarrhea worse while waiting for it to pass. For example:

Milk and dairy products, such as ice cream or cheese High fat or greasy foods such as fried foods They have a lot of fiber, like citrus fruits (lemons, oranges, grapefruit, etc.) very sweet foods, such as cakes and sweet biscuits

Children can eat bananas, rice, applesauce and toast.

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People who visit other countries may suffer from what is known as "diarrhea Of the traveler ". This is if you consume food or water contaminated by bacteria, viruses or parasites.

To prevent traveler's diarrhea, do the following:

Avoid drinking tap water or using Ice cubes made from tap water.

Avoid eating unpasteurized milk or eating dairy products made with that milk. Avoid eating raw fruits and vegetables unless peeled and Do not eat meat or seafood that is not hot when served. Do not eat raw or just cooked meat or fish.

You can safely take bottled water, soda, and hot drinks like coffee or tea.

Some things to remember < Diarrhea is a common problem.

Diarrhea is caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites, some foods or medicines, or diseases that affect the digestive system. > Diarrhea It is dangerous if you become dehydrated. The main treatment for diarrhea is replacement of lost fluids. Talk to your doctor if you have severe abdominal or rectal pain , Fever, blood in the stool, signs of dehydration or severe diarrhea for more than 3 days (1 day in the case of children).

National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse
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Source: NIH Publication No. 06-5176. April 2006. This publication is not copyrighted. Publications produced by the NDDIC are carefully reviewed by NIDDK scientists and experts outside the organization. This publication is not copyrighted. The NDDIC grants permission to the users of this publication so that it can be reproduced and distributed in unlimited quantities.

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