The term ‘ diarrhoea ’ refers to frequent loose stools that are more than 3 loose stools in a day. Quantitatively, it is defined as faecal output more than 200 gm per day, when dietary fibers content is low. It is common in children and adults and it lasts just for a few days. Sometimes, it can be a sign of a serious condition in which dehydration can take place. It is either a symptom of functional disorder.
In this blog, we embark on a journey to understand the causes, management strategies, and crucial indicators of when to seek medical assistance for it.
What’s Behind Your Diarrhoea ?
There are a number of conditions and diseases which can cause it. Some common causes includes :
- Bacteria and parasites – Exposure to bacterias such as E.coli and parasites through contaminated food can lead to diarrhoea.
- Viruses – Norovirus, enteric adenoviruses, rotavirus, astrovirus are some common viruses, which can cause diarrhoea.
- Food Poisoning – You can ingest some harmful toxins from contaminated foods or drinks. These toxins can lead to diarrhoea.
- Medications – Medicines such as antibiotics, antacids, anti-metabolics etc which contain magnesium can cause diarrhoea.
- Lactose Intolerance – Individuals who have trouble digesting lactose have diarrhoea after eating dairy products.
- Other Digestive Disorders – Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, Irritable bowel syndrome.
The Symptom Spectrum
The common sign of it is watery tools that are more than 3 loose stools in a day. Other common symptoms include :
- Belly pain
- Blood in the stool
- Mucus in the stool
- Dry mouth
Exploring The Varieties Of Diarrhoea
It is invariably infective in origin characterised by fever, headache, myalgia, anorexia, malaise and vomiting accompanied by it evolving over a period of minutes to hours and lasting for not more than 2 weeks. It is usually associated with abdominal pain or discomfort. It could be due to viral, bacterial or protozoal infection.
It is also called non-specific diarrhoea because causative bacterial and protozoal pathogens are difficult to recover from the stool, hence, considered to be of viral aetiology at most occasions.
It is an acute diarrhoea, infective in origin frequently seen in tourists. Some pathogenic organisms causing traveler’s diarrhoea are enterotoxigenic E. coli, unknown cause, shigella, salmonella, campylobacter, rota virus etc.
The attack of it lasts for 2-3 days. The onset is sudden and stools are watery. Fever, abdominal pain, vomiting etc are common symptoms of it.
It persisting for weeks and months is called chronic diarrhoea. It is usually a symptom of some underlying organic disease. Abdominal tenderness and fever indicate inflammatory bowel disease as a cause of it, while their absence indicates malabsorption syndrome.
Diagnosis : Uncovering the Underlying Causes
In the case of acute diarrhoea, diagnosis is not required. In more severe cases, your provider will work to determine the cause. Here are some common tests, which are required for the diagnosis of it :
- A blood tests
- A stool test
- A hydrogen breath test
- Diet elimination tests
- Endoscopy of upper and lower digestive tract
- Specific tests for lactose intolerance
- Stool culture
- Exocrine pancreatic tests
- Serum electrolytes and blood urea
Identify and correct the specific cause of it. In many cases, a cause of it may not be identified, and symptomatic therapy alone may be indicated. If there is an acute emergency. Patient has extensive fluid loss and is dehydrated. Treatment is directed to replenish fluids and electrolytes rapidly with monitoring of pulse, BP, CVP, and urine output. Antiemetics may be prescribed by your doctor if you have gastroenteritis and are having problems due to vomiting.
Prevention: Staying Ahead of it
Prevention helps in reducing the risk of getting it because of food contamination.
- Practice good hygiene – Wash your hands with soap before preparing and eating food.
- Store food properly – Make sure to store food at correct temperatures. Avoid consuming food and drinks past their expiration dates.
- Get vaccinated on time – Get rotavirus vaccine, which is a common cause of it.
- Stay hydrated – Drink plenty of drink and stay hydrated.
Diarrhoea is a common problem with many potential causes. As we conclude our exploration of it, by understanding the common causes, variations and symptoms, making informed choices, and staying hydrated, you can navigate the challenges of it with confidence.