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Defeating Diarrhea

Diarrhea Defined

Diarrhea is defined as bowel movements that are frequent, loose, and watery. Body wastes are passed through the rectum and anus through bowel movements, commonly known as stools. Stools are the remnants of your digestive system’s absorption of nutrients and fluids from your food and drink.

Diarrhea Signs and Symptoms

Diarrhea symptoms normally last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Diarrhea is frequently accompanied with abdominal cramps.

The following are the most prevalent causes of diarrhea:

  • Viruses
  • Bacteria
  • Parasites
  • Medications that disrupt the normal balance of bacteria in your intestines, artificial sweeteners, and lactose, a sugar found in milk, are among the other culprits.
Bacteria

Diarrhea that lasts longer than a few days is classified as chronic, and it could indicate an underlying problem such as inflammatory bowel disease or an infection. Diarrhea can cause dehydration in certain circumstances, necessitating medical attention. When the body loses too much fluid and electrolytes (salts like potassium and sodium), dehydration ensues. Since the body cannot operate correctly without the fluid and electrolytes lost during diarrhea, they must be supplied as soon as possible.

Diarrhea can cause the following signs and symptoms:

  • Stools that are loose and watery on a regular basis
  • Cramps in the abdomen
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Fever
  • Bleeding
Vomiting Woman

Vomiting can also occur as a result of diarrhea caused by a viral infection, such as a stomach virus, or a bacterial infection. In addition, diarrhea caused by bacterial illnesses may include blood and mucus in the feces.

Treating Diarrhea

The most effective mild diarrhea treatment medications are listed below:

1. Drinking A Lot Of Water

smiling girl holding drinking water from glass in the morning

Dehydration is one of the most serious side effects of diarrhea, and it is what drives many individuals to the emergency room. Diarrhea causes the body to lose a lot of water as well as electrolytes (sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium) that it needs to function properly. Dehydration, especially in young children, can be hazardous if not treated properly. 

You’ll need to refill fluids and electrolytes (salts) if you have a minor case of diarrhea. Water, clear liquids, clear broths, or an electrolyte-rich sports drink are all good options. 

When you have diarrhea, there are a few things you should avoid. Avoid laxatives such as coffee, caffeinated beverages, prune juice, sugary drinks, sodas, and alcohol. Avoiding dairy products is also a smart idea. 

Pediatric rehydration liquids, such as Pedialyte, Enfalyte, or Gastrolyte, should be given to young children and babies who have diarrhea. Infants who have been breastfed should continue to be breastfed. Rather than being put on a restriction diet, children should continue to eat their regular diet while also drinking rehydration fluids. 

You can also make a homemade rehydration drink using only salt, sugar, and water if you wish to eliminate the artificial colorings and flavorings found in certain commercial rehydration drinks.

Oral rehydration salts are also available over the counter at most pharmacies. Too much salt can be dangerous, especially to youngsters, so make sure to follow the directions.

2. Probiotics Food Or Supplements

Probiotics

Probiotics, whether in the form of food or supplements, can assist to reduce the length of a mild attack of diarrhea. Probiotics are live bacteria and yeast that help your digestive system work better.

Diarrhea can cause your stomach and intestines to lose a lot of good microorganisms. Probiotics (which contain Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium bacteria as well as Saccharomyces boulardii yeast) can help to restore normal bowel function by promptly replacing these protecting microorganisms. This is notably true of S. boulardii, which has antidiarrheal properties. 

While dairy products should be avoided during diarrhea, living probiotic bacteria in yogurt or kefir are particularly useful. Fermented foods such as miso, kombucha, sauerkraut, aged soft cheeses, cottage cheese, green olives, sourdough bread, and tempeh are all natural probiotic sources.

However, although kimchi is frequently referred to as “super-probiotic,” it contains spicy ingredients that might aggravate diarrhea.

Probiotics’ side effects, whether in food or supplement form, are usually minor and include stomach distress, bloating, and gas.

3. When Should You Seek Medical Attention?

Diarrhea is a condition that should never be overlooked. If you’ve tried the home cures described above and still have loose stools, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about over-the-counter drugs that can help.

On the other hand, if you or your kid develops persistent or severe diarrhea and/or signs of dehydration, you should consult a healthcare provider right away:

Bloody Stool

Adults

  • 3 days or more of diarrhea
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Stools that are bloody or black
  • Fever of more than 102 degrees Fahrenheit (39 C)
  • Urination is infrequent or absent
  • Dry skin and mouth 
  • Excessive thirst 
  • Urine that is dark in color

Children

  • Diarrhea that lasts more than 24 hours
  • Fever of more than 102 degrees Fahrenheit (39 C)
  • Dry mouth or tongue 
  • Crying without shedding tears
  • Sleepiness that is out of the ordinary
  • Stools that are black or bloody
  • Sunken cheekbones or eyes 
  • When pinched, the skin does not retract.

Diarrhea in babies under the age of three months should be taken to a doctor or an emergency department as soon as possible. Waiting or attempting to treat the disease at home is not a good idea.

Bonus Question

Spicy Meals

Can eating too much spicy food cause diarrhea?

Spicy meals are one of the most common causes of food poisoning. Strong spices that your body isn’t acclimated to are especially likely to cause this. Chili peppers and curry blends are two of the most popular offenders.