Diarrhoea

What is Diarrhoea?

Diarrhoea is a condition during which a person passes loose or watery stool. Generally, diarrhoea may occur twice to thrice in a year and is considered normal, however, people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) are more susceptible to develop diarrhoea more often.

Causes of Diarrhoea

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Diarrhoea is primarily caused by stomach flu. During stomach flu, virus in our guts attack our gastrointestinal system. There are several other factors that cause diarrhoea, some of which have been listed under:

  1.  Allergy with certain types of foods, for example lactose or galactose intolerance are pretty common.
  2.  Alcohol abuse
  3.  Disease of the intestine (Crohn’s disease)
  4.  Excessive use of laxative
  5. Food poisoning
  6. Improper digestion of foods
  7.  Reaction to medicines, like some antibiotics
  8. Diabetes
  9.  Overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)
  10.  Cancer (Colon Cancer)
  11. Constipation might also lead to diarrhoea later
  12.  Using sugar free (sorbitol and mannitol) might also lead to diarrhoea

Symptoms

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One or more of the following symptoms might be experienced while suffering from diarrhoea:

  1. Abdominal cramp
  2. Loose or watery stool
  3. Abdominal pain
  4. Fever
  5. Blood in stool
  6. Bloating
  7. Nausea
  8. Urgent need to have bowel movements
  9. Mucus in stool.

Complications

Diarrhoea may lead to dehydration that can do severe damage to the body. The loss of water at times can be fatal as well. In addition, some other complications can be seen:

  1. Excessive thirst
  2. Dry mouth
  3. Little or no urination
  4. Weakness, dizziness or lightheadedness
  5. Fatigue
  6. Dark coloured urine
  7. Drowsiness

Foods that trigger diarrhoea

While there can be several other causes that may lead to diarrhoea as has been mentioned before, sometimes diarrhoea might be triggered by foods. Fried foods, foods rich with sauce/gravy, citrus fruit, artificial sweetener, excessive fibre-rich foods, fatty foods, fructose, peppermint, beans, chickpeas, Bengal gram chana, raw vegetables, and coffee are some of the foods that might trigger diarrhoea.

Treatment

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Although diarrhoea isn’t uncommon, neglecting diarrhoea can be extremely dangerous. The following treatments might be undertaken:

  1.  The first line of treatment is to drink Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) in order to mitigate the water imbalance caused by excessive water loss during diarrhoea. ORS contains both salt and glucose that can be easily absorbed by the intestine. During diarrhoea we need to make sure that the patient is fed ORS several times. According to WHO, 90% of diarrhoea can be treated with ORS.
  2.  Sometimes people avoid eating while suffering from diarrhoea which can be further detrimental to health. So, in addition to drinking sufficient water, one needs to take foods rich in potassium, like banana, boiled potato, and soft rice.
  3. Medication should be taken as per doctor’s advice
  4.  Probiotics have enormous benefits for people with diarrhoea and should be taken as per doctor’s suggestions.

Diarrhoea can happen for various reasons and therefore it is very important to diagnose the underlying cause. Once ascertained, proper diet and lifestyle modification can play a very important role in providing long term cure from diarrhoea.

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