Medically reviewed by Dr. Rabeya Afroz Shomi
What is Diarrhoea?
Nearly two billion cases of diarrhoea are reported every year from across the globe. Among all the cases the ten percent of the patient suffering from diarrhea are children. In some of the developing countries the children suffering from diarrhea can also die. The basic characteristic of diarrhoea is that in this condition a loose water stool is experienced by a person. In the majority of the cases the frequency with which the stool passes also increases.
However, the consistency of the stool is not normal. The majority of the cases of diarrhea are caused by either some bacteria, parasite, or virus. There are various medical conditions as well which can cause diarrhoea like inflammatory bowel disease and crohn’s disease. One of the most common health complaints across the world is that of diarrhoea. This condition can range from mild, temporary to a life threatening condition.
What are Signs and Symptoms of Diarrhoea?
As described above diarrhea is a condition in which a person has some loose watery stools. However, the condition of diarrhea may be accompanied by various other symptoms like
- Pain in the stomach
- A person may feel thirsty
- There may be fever
- A person might experience some weight loss
- A person might also suffer from some abdominal cramps.
If diarrhea is a symptom of some other medical condition then the symptoms can be worse. Some of the worse symptoms which can be experienced are
- A person may experience persistent vomiting
- There may be pus or blood in the stool
- A person may be dehydrated
If diarrhea is severe then it is an indication of some severe illness in the body of the patient.
What are the Causes of Diarrhoea?
The majority of the cases of diarrhea are due to an infection in the gastrointestinal tract. The infection occurs because of either parasites, viruses, or bacteria. Other major causes of chronic diarrhoea are inclusive of:
- Microscopic colitis: This can be a persistent diarrhoea that sometimes affects older adults, usually throughout the night.
- Malabsorption and maldigestion diarrhea: The primary is caused due to impaired nutrient absorption, the second by improper functioning of the digestive system. One example is Celiac disease
- Chronic infections: A history of antibiotic use or travelling is often clues to chronic diarrhoea. numerous bacteria and parasites are often the cause.
- Drug-induced diarrhea: The diarrhea can be triggered by laxatives and alternative medicine, as well as antibiotics.
- Endocrine causes: In some of the cases the hormonal factors can lead to diarrhea for instance carcinoid tumors and Addison disease.
- Cancer causes: Growth diarrhoea is related to variety of gut cancers.
What are the Precautions for Diarrhoea?
In case of viral diarrhea some of the precautions which can be taken are given below
- Before preparing any food it is necessary that a person washes his/her hands. It is essential to wash hands after using toilet, changing diapers, coughing, sneezing, and handling meat which is uncooked.
- For proper washing of the hands a person must lather with soap for a minimum of 20 seconds.
- If a person is at a place where washing hands in not possible then he/she must make use of hand sanitizers.
- For the protection of the infants from the rotavirus which is the most common cause of diarrhea, the mother of the child can ask the doctor for the vaccination.
- For the prevention of the travellers diarrhoea a person must follow the following steps to ensure the risk of diarrhea is reduced
- A person should eat food products which are hot and properly cooked. Raw and under cooked foods must be avoided at all cost.
- Drink either boiled water or mineral water. Even the beverages like tea and coffee must be made from boiled water.
- Before travelling outside it is better that a person asks about the antibiotics which can be taken in case of diarrhea.
How to Do Diagnosis of Diarrhoea?
For diagnosing the condition of diarrhea first the doctor would ask for the symptoms and the medicines which are currently being consumed by him/her. The past medical history will also be taken into consideration. A doctor would be able to diagnose the cause of diarrhea very easily. However, a doctor may order stool test to confirm the diagnosis and the reason of diarrhea. If a person is suffering from the condition of severe or chronic diarrhea then a doctor may recommend the following tests
- Liver function test: This test indicates abnormality in the albumin level of a person
- Test for malabsorption: These will check the retention of calcium, nutrient B-12, and folate. They will likewise evaluate iron status and function of thyroid.
- Testing for antibodies: This test may detect the presence of celiac disease.
- Full blood count: Raised platelet count or anemia will indicate towards inflammation.
- ESR level: The raised level of ESR will indicate the presence of inflammatory disease.
What is the Best Treatment for Diarrhea?
In most cases, replacing lost fluid to prevent dehydration is the only treatment necessary. Medicines that stop diarrhoea may be helpful in some cases, but they are not recommended for people whose diarrhoea is from a bacterial infection or parasite, stopping the diarrhoea traps the organism in the intestines, prolonging the problem.
Instead, doctors usually prescribe antibiotics. Viral causes are either treated with medication or left to run their course, depending on the severity and type of the virus. In adults with diarrhoea, it may help to drink plenty of fluids to avoid becoming dehydrated.
Adding bulk to the diet may thicken the stool and decrease the frequency of stools. Certain foods thicken the stools, including rice, bananas, yogurt, and cheese. An increase in fibre from whole-wheat grains and bran add bulk to the diet.
What are the Indian Home Remedies for Diarrhoea?
Some of the home remedies which can be used for the treatment of diarrhea are as follows
- A person should not eat fibrous food products and fruits like prune juice and apple.
- Having strong coffee can be helpful for the person suffering from diarrhea.
- Avoiding milk products like milk, cheese, paneer can be beneficial.
- Mixing fenugreek seeds and cumin seeds with yogurt can not only cure diarrhea, but it also helps in regaining body balance.
What Should I Eat to Stop Diarrhoea?
Apart from taking the medicine for the treatment of diarrhea it is essential that a person follows some diet plan for quick and speedy recovery like
- After every passing of stool one should drink a glass of water.
- Don't drink during meals.
- Consume food products which are rich in potassium.
- Consume food products rich in sodium content.
- Consuming foods which are rich in soluble fiber is good for the body and it thickens the stools as well.
- Fried and sugary food must be avoided at all cost as they might make diarrhea worse.