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Diarrhoea: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

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Diarrhoea: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Gastro Science | Posted on 04/27/2023 by Dr. Abhinav Sharma



Have you been experiencing watery stools? If yes, then it indicates diarrhoea. Diarrhoea is one of the most common health issues that can be faced by anyone. It can occur a few times for some people every year. People having diarrhoea usually come across symptoms like loose and watery stools. In most cases, the cause is not known and the problem goes away on its own after some time.

If you are worried that it can cause serious complications, then usually it is not a matter of concern and can be treated with simple treatment options like medications. In this blog, we will include a comprehensive discussion on diarrhoea, so ensure that you read it till the end. Kindly note that it is for only informational purposes and doesn’t construe the consultation of a healthcare professional.

What is diarrhoea?

Diarrhoea is a loose and watery stool that involves frequent movement of the bowel. It is one of the common problems anyone can experience. It might occur alone or linked to other symptoms like abdominal pain, weight loss, etc. This health problem is often short-lived and doesn’t last for more than a few days or a week. However, if it lasts for more than one week, then it is an indication of other health issues like irritable bowel syndrome or serious disorders like celiac disease, persistent infection or inflammatory disease.

The primary cause of diarrhoea is bacteria and dehydration is among the most dangerous side effects of this illness. It is recommended by healthcare professionals to get in touch with a doctor right away if it is causing constant washroom visits, and is not going away even after following the treatment measures.

What are the types of diarrhoea?

There are two types of diarrhoea which include:

  • Acute diarrhoea- It is a common condition that often occurs because of infection and goes away on its own after some time. The common infections of this type are norovirus, rotavirus, and bacteria known as E. coli.
  • Chronic diarrhoea- This type of diarrhoea lasts for four weeks or more than that and generally requires immediate medical attention to resolve.

What are the diarrhoea symptoms?

The diarrhoea symptoms might vary from person to person, however, the most common symptoms are:

  • Weight loss
  • Appetite loss
  • Fever
  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Abdominal pain 

When should you consult a doctor for diarrhoea?

Chronic or persistent diarrhoea can be perilous causing dehydration, imbalance of electrolytes and in severe cases, kidney failure. You must consult your doctor if you experience the following issues:

  • Dehydration
  • Elder patients with multiple clinical issues
  • Fever above 39°C
  • Severe nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Persistent diarrhoea

What causes diarrhoea?

There are a number of diseases and conditions which causes diarrhoea such as:

  • A virus
  • A bacterial infection
  • Food intolerance
  • Food allergies like gluten allergy or celiac allergy
  • Parasites enter the body through water or food
  • Medicines reaction
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Functional bowel disorder
  • Gallbladder surgery
  • Antibiotic use
  • Metabolic conditions like thyroid issues
  • Less reasons like damage from radiation treatments or tumours producing too many hormones

How is diarrhoea diagnosed?

The doctor will initiate a diarrhoea diagnosis with a physical evaluation and understanding the medical history while identifying the diarrhoea causes. They might order lab tests for examining the urine and blood tests. There are other tests which are ordered to confirm the causes and other linked conditions. So, here are these tests:

  • Diet elimination tests- To identify if it is due to food intolerance or food allergy
  • Imaging tests- To assess the inflammation and structural anomalies of the intestine
  • Stool culture- To look for parasites, bacteria or other disease signs
  • Colonoscopy- To evaluate the complete cologne for intestinal disease signs
  • Sigmoidoscopy- To identify the intestinal disease signs by checking the rectum and lower colon

How is diarrhoea treated?

The recommended diarrhoea treatment usually is over-the-counter medication. However, OTC medications don't always prove to be the right solution. If the cause of diarrhoea is a parasite or infection, then you need to consult a healthcare provider for treatment. When someone is experiencing a fever or blood in the stool, then one must get in touch with a doctor because using OTC medications aren’t recommended in such cases.

If diarrhoea lasts longer than a week, then your doctor will begin the treatment depending on the cause. There are certain options which involve:

  • Antibiotics- Your doctor might prescribe antibiotics or medication for treating an infection or parasite that is causing diarrhoea. 
  • Medication for a specific condition: Diarrhoea can indicate other medical conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, microscopic colitis, or bacterial overgrowth. Once the cause of diarrhoea is known, it can be managed easily with medication.
  • Probiotics- Probiotics are usually used as a treatment option for re-establishing a healthy biome for combatting diarrhoea. It helps in certain cases and healthcare providers recommend it to the patient. You must consult your doctor before starting a supplement or any form of probiotic

What are the tips for diarrhoea prevention?

There are a few tips you can follow for diarrhoea prevention such as:

  • Avoiding infections with good hygiene habits
  • Watching what you drink while travelling
  • Getting your vaccinations like rotavirus on time
  • Storing food in the refrigerator properly

Conclusion

Diarrhoea is among the most common conditions, but it doesn’t mean that it cannot get dangerous. In certain cases, the patient can become extremely dehydrated leading to serious complications. It is among the most hazardous side effects of diarrhoea. Hence, to avoid complications, it is important to drink plenty of fluids containing electrolytes. It allows the body to replace the electrolytes lost. In certain parts of the world, diarrhoea is considered to be a life-threatening condition due to electrolyte imbalance and dehydration. Timely treatment plays an important role. So, if you have diarrhoea and it’s been more than a week, consult the best multispecialty hospital known as Rukmani Birla Hospital in Jaipur. It is one of the finest healthcare services offering amazing patient care.

FAQ

 

Is diarrhoea a symptom of corona?

Yes, diarrhoea is an initial symptom of coronavirus.

What to eat with diarrhoea?

Patients with diarrhoea must involve eating salty foods like soup, pretzels, and sports drinks. You should also include high-potassium food like potatoes, fruit juices, and bananas.