Diarrhea is a symptom and not a disease. It affects people of every age and can last for two to three days to two weeks. The symptoms mostly subside within two to three days and do not mostly lead to a serious medical condition. Sometimes it can be a symptom of any underlying disease often as a part of irritable bowel syndrome or chronic diseases of the large intestine. It is contagious and can be spread from person to person.
Symptoms Of Diarrhea
Stools may be watery with urgency and you will suffer from abdominal cramps and bloating or nausea. It can make you run to the bathroom more often. It may also lead to weight loss, fever with shivering, headaches, dry skin, irritability, confusion.
The frequency of the urine will be minimized as you may lose water through bowel movements instead of urine. Dehydration can also lead to other complications such as kidney failure and electrolyte imbalances.
Dehydration can also lead to dizziness. Severe cases of diarrhea may be accompanied by vomiting and blood and mucus in the stools.
Causes Of Diarrhea
The most common cause of diarrhea among children is due to viral or bacterial infections such as salmonella or rotavirus. In this type of diarrhea the virus infects the gut.
Diarrhea accompanied with fever and stools with blood may be a sign of some dangerous infection which needs prompt doctor’s attention. The bacteria or virus inflame the lining of the small intestine or produce toxins leading increased secretion of fluid. This inflammation in the small intestine increases the rapidity of the food which passes through the intestine reducing the time that is available for absorbing water.
Some people are unable to digest lactose, fructose, and sorbitol or absorb fat or carbohydrate properly, leading to diarrhea. Food left unrefrigerated overnight such as salads, sandwiches get contaminated with staphylococcus bacterium which multiply in the food and produce toxins in the small intestine after their intake.
Better avoid eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water. Having caffeine products should be avoided temporarily as it can further worsen the condition.
Intestinal diseases can be the cause of diarrhea for eg: ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, corhns disease. They cause inflammation in the lining of the digestive tract which trigger diarrhea.
Hyperthyroidism, Addison’s disease, certain cancer can also trigger diarrhea. Aids patients have chronic infections in their intestines that cause diarrhea.
Certain medications such as antacids containing magnesium and blood pressure medicines can lead to diarrhea. Prolonged use of antibiotics is also one of the reasons that triggers diarrhea as it disturbs the natural balance of intestinal bacteria.
Certain nutritional supplements can also trigger diarrhea. In drug induced diarrhea the symptoms begin soon after the treatment with the medicines begin.
Radiation and chemotherapy, digestive tract surgery can also be the cause for diarrhea. Excessive alcohol intake, emotional stress can also lead to diarrhea or worsen the condition.