What is Diarrhoea?
Diarrhoea is a condition where an individual experience high frequency of loose and watery stools. The term is derived from the Greek words “Dia” and “rhein”, meaning “flowing through”. Usually, it is not a life-threatening disease and the duration of its symptoms usually vary as there are many causal factors.
It is primarily caused when there is a reduction in the absorption of fluid by intestines or an increase in secretion of fluid or speedy passage of stool through intestines.Diarrhoea is classified into two types, namely-
- Acute Diarrhea
- Chronic Diarrhea
Acute diarrhoea may last for 2 or 3 days, but not more than a week. It is not a life-threatening condition and can be cured by taking relevant medications.
Chronic diarrhoea may last for 1 or 2 weeks, but it can last much longer. This is usually due to other underlying gastrointestinal diseases.
Types of Diarrhea
Diarrhoea is of the following types :
- Secretory diarrhoea – Excess fluid is secreted into the intestines.
- Osmotic diarrhoea – Caused when too much water is drawn into the bowels.
- Motility-related diarrhoea – 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 diarrhoea – Where intestines are damaged due to bacterial or fungal infections.
Causes of Diarrhoea
Diarrhoea has many pathological factors and other factors such as :
- Intestinal disease.
- Alcohol consumption.
- Consuming food that affects the digestive system.
- Surgery to the digestive system.
- Radiation therapy.
- Food poisoning.
- Skin cancers.
Symptoms of Diarrhoea
Symptoms of this disease include-
- Loose stools
- The feeling of a bowel movement
- Abdominal pain
- Bloody stools (rare cases)
Generally, acute diarrhoea will recede on its own, within 2 to 3 days without any treatment. But it is advised to consult the physician regardless. Following are a few treatments that a doctor may suggest:
- Antibiotics may be helpful if the symptoms are caused by bacterial or parasitic infections
- Water that contains salt and electrolytes help in replacing the lost fluids
- Medications that treat symptomatically.
It is advised to consult gastroenterologist if the problem persists for more than a week.
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