What is Diarrhea?
Diarrhea is a very common condition that affects all kinds of people of all ages around the world. It consists of a loose, watery, and more frequent bowel movements from normal, due to a disruption in the absorption and excretion of nutrients and water in your digestive duct. There is a wide-variety of possible causes for this condition, but usually, doesn’t involve any serious problem and only lasts a few days.
Diarrhea Signs and Symptoms
Signs and symptoms related to diarrhea include:
- Loose, watery and fluid stools.
- A constant need to have a bowel movement.
- Abdominal cramps and pain.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Mild to high fever.
- Occasionally, blood in the stools.
- The appearance of mucus in the stools.
Diarrhea Common Causes
Most of the time, diarrhea is the expression of some other disease or infection affecting the intestinal wall barrier. Some of the most common conditions include:
- Viruses, including Norwalk virus, Rotavirus, hepatitis viruses, cytomegalovirus, among others.
- Some bacteria and parasites.
- Some medications like antibiotics, chemotherapy, and antacids.
- Digestive absorption disorders like lactose intolerance.
- Inflammatory intestinal diseases like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
- Celiac disease.
- Irritable bowel syndrome.
In the case your diarrhea lasts more than a few days, your doctor will perform a full physical exam and review in detail your medical history, in order to detect any possible cause for your condition. Additionally, your doctor will run some tests to determine the origin of your affection, these tests might include:
- General blood test.
- Stool test in order to look after bacterial or parasite presence.
- This procedure will help your doctor having an inside look at your colon and detecting possible causes of your condition.
Most cases of diarrhea will solve on their own within a few days without the need for any additional intervention like the cases related to viral infection.
In case your diarrhea is associated with another particular cause, treating the underlying cause might solve the problem, like using antibiotics or antiparasitic in the case your diarrhea is caused by a bacterial or parasite infection.
It’s extremely important when treating diarrhea is to avoid possible complications like dehydration, which can be prevented by ensuring you take plenty of fluids, that contain the minerals, salts, and sugar that your body needs.