The ABCs of Diarrhea

ABCs of Diarrhea

Talking about bodily fluids is a taboo for most people, regardless of their age, gender or cultural background. But as squeamish as the topic may be, there are many health conditions where symptoms involve a change in regular bowel movement. One of these is ABCs of Diarrhea.

There are many myths and misconceptions about diarrhea. So, to get a better grasp of this medical condition, a brand providing trusted diarrhea medicine in Dubai and elsewhere has made this guide on some of the most important terms to remember when it comes to ABCs of Diarrhea.

Acute diarrhea

Known as the most common form of loose bowel movement, acute diarrhea symptoms primarily involve loose, watery stools that last for no more than two days, and go away on their own. Given its short duration, most people who have acute diarrhea do not require any treatment. Viral and bacterial infections commonly cause acute diarrhea, so if symptoms persist, make sure you get yourself checked.

Bacterial infections

People typically develop diarrhea when they consume food or water contaminated with bacteria. Some of the more common types of diarrhea-causing bacteria include Escherichia coli (E. coli), Shigella, Salmonella, and Campylobacter, among others. 

Chronic diarrhea

Characterized by watery stools lasting for over four weeks, chronic diarrhea is sometimes caused by other underlying medical conditions, such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, bacterial or parasitic infections, among others. When a person has chronic diarrhea, several other symptoms may arise, including nausea, abdominal cramps and bloating. 

Make an appointment with your doctor if the symptoms do not go away in a couple of days or don’t respond to treatment. During your visit, your doctor will ask a series of questions and conduct several tests to eliminate other potential causes.

Treatment options can vary depending on the cause. In some cases, corticosteroids or immunosuppressants may be prescribed. A change in your lifestyle or diet may also be recommended.

Diarrhea

People who have diarrhea experience frequent bowel movements and watery stools at least three times in a single day. There are many potential causes for diarrhea, including:

  • Food and water contaminated with bacteria or parasites
  • Viruses such as the rotavirus in children or the flu
  • Antibiotics, antacids and other types of medication
  • Intolerances and sensitivities to food
  • Stomach ailments such as Crohn’s disease
  • Colon issues including irritable bowel disease or IBD

Treatment options can vary depending on the cause. In acute cases, the doctor may prescribe anti-diarrhea medicine for adults or children. The doctor may also advise you to avoid certain types of foods and drinks to relieve the symptoms.

Electrolytes

We all have electrolytes sourced from the food and drinks we consume. These work to conduct electricity while regulating muscle and nerve function, as well as balancing blood pressure and acidity levels, among others. A healthy balance of different types of electrolytes is needed for the body to function properly.

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When a person suffers from diarrhea, the electrolytes are depleted. Drinking liquids containing potassium chloride, sodium chloride, and glucose is recommended to replace missing nutrients in the body.

Fecal Calprotectin

The calprotectin is a non-invasive stool test used to see and measure intestinal inflammation. Inflammation in the intestines can indicate bacterial infections, inflammatory bowel disease, or infectious diarrhea. Some doctors may order fecal calprotectin tests to rule out colorectal cancer.

Calprotectin itself is a type of protein that can be found in several body fluids, including blood, urine, saliva and cerebrospinal fluid. It can be used to tell if there is inflammation in the body. However, the results cannot indicate where the infection is located.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) comprises a range of chronic health conditions that affect the digestive tract. Some IBD types include Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Symptoms common in IBD patients include abdominal pain, weight loss, fatigue and severe diarrhea.

Malabsorption

A symptom commonly associated with celiac and Crohn’s disease, malabsorption involves the body’s inability to absorb nutrients from the food efficiently. Other than the previously mentioned conditions, surgery, bacterial overgrowth and a sugar-rich diet are other factors that can cause the same effects.

In people with malabsorption issues, the fat is not processed effectively or absorbed by the body. As such, people who have this issue may experience excreting oily and foul-odored watery stools, or what is sometimes referred to as fatty diarrhea.

Parasitic infections

Much like bacteria, parasites can also enter the body and cause diarrhea when a person consumes contaminated food or drinks. The Entamoeba histolytica and Cryptosporidium enteritis are a few examples of diarrhea-inducing parasites.

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Persistent diarrhea 

The term “persistent diarrhea” is one of the many ways of classifying diarrhea. Persistent diarrhea lies in between the acute and chronic types. In general, persistent diarrhea lasts for no more than four weeks. ABCs of Diarrhea may be caused by a functional bowel disorder or a symptom of an intestinal problem.

Runner’s diarrhea

Also known as “runner’s trots” or “runner’s colitis,” runner’s diarrhea is a condition that concerns runner and joggers. It is characterized by frequent bowel movements and stomach discomfort during and after a run. 

This form of diarrhea is so common that approximately 62 percent of runners experience this condition. Given the discomfort, they may be forced to stop running to look for a bathroom. Other symptoms include stomach cramps, gas, acid reflux, and nausea.

Much like acute diarrhea, the symptoms last no more than 24 hours after the race. There is no clarity regarding what causes it, although some attribute it to stress and anxiety before a race.

Traveler’s diarrhea

Aptly named traveler’s diarrhea, this medical condition affects tourists. It is characterized by abdominal discomfort and loose stools caused by ingesting contaminated food or water while traveling. Terrifying as the experience may sound, especially when it happens while the traveler is in a foreign country, in most cases, the condition is not severe.

There are several ways of reducing the chances of getting ABCs of Diarrhea. As much as possible, travelers should consider getting anti-diarrhea medicine before leaving their home country. This will give tourists a way to relieve some symptoms and treat minor cases of diarrhea.

ABCs of Diarrhea comes in many forms and can last for many weeks, depending on the severity. With the help of this guide, you’ll have a better idea of the signs and potential causes of diarrhea.

In general, symptoms of acute diarrhea go away after a few days. If you experience pain or notice blood in your stool, consult your doctor right away.

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