Diarrhea is a condition where the frequency of loose and watery stools increases. The term is derived from the Greek work meaning throughflow. This is not a life threatening disease and its symptoms usually stay for two to three days but may prove to be chronic.
It is caused when there is a reduction in the absorption of fluid by intestines or increase in secretion of fluid or speedy passage of stool through intestines.
Types of Diarrhea
Diarrhea is classified into-
- Acute Diarrhea
- Chronic Diarrhea
Acute diarrhea may last for 2 or 3 days but not more than a week. It is not life threatening condition and can be cured by taking simple medications available in medical stores.
Chronic diarrhea may last for 1 or 2 weeks, but sometimes it may last even for three weeks. It should be treated properly otherwise leads to serious consequences.
Causes of Diarrhea
Causes of this disease can be divided into five types:
- Secretory diarrhea – More fluid is secreted into the intestines.
- Osmotic diarrhea – Caused when too much water is drawn into the bowels.
- Motility related diarrhea – Where intestines are too active and transport intestinal contents with great speed so that there is not enough time to absorb water and electrolytes. This results in loose and watery stools.
- Collagenous colitis – In this condition, intestinal lining is damaged so that it cannot absorb water and electrolytes.
- Inflammatory diarrhea – where intestines are damaged due to bacterial or fungal infections.
Symptoms of this disease include-
- Loose stools.
- Feeling of bowel movement.
- Abdominal pain.
- Blood in stool in very rare cases.
Causes of diarrhea
The primary cause of diarrhea is the virus ( intestinal flu or stomach flu ) that infects the gut. The other causes of diarrhea are:
- Intestinal disease.
- Alcohol consumption.
- Consuming food that affects the digestive system.
- Surgery to the digestive system.
- Radiation therapy.
- Food poisoning.
- Skin cancers.
Generally, acute diarrhea will be cleared on its own within 2 to 3 days without any treatment. But it is advised to consult the physician and undergo treatment. Following are the few treatments that doctor may suggest:
- Antibiotics may be helpful to cure the body affected by bacteria or parasites.
- Water that contains salt and electrolytes help in replacing the fluids.
It is advised to consult gastroenterologist if the problem persists for more than a week.
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