One of the most common digestive health problems is diarrhea, and it can inflict people of all ages. It is possible that the repeated occurrence of loose and watery stools may stop after a couple of days even if left untreated, but oftentimes when the problem persists for more than 2 days.
Diarrhea is very dangerous for children especially for newborns, infants, and the elderly. If there is blood, pus or black stools, or a fever, bring the person to a doctor immediately. When a child or an elderly person has had diarrhea for 24 hours, they must be brought to the doctor. Teens and adults should be checked up if the loose stools continue for a period of over 48 hours. Diarrhea and its treatment should not be taken lightly as there is a high risk of dehydration, and there are many people who have died from diarrhea because it there was no proper treatment.
There are two kinds of diarrhea, acute and chronic. When it last for less than 3 weeks, it is acute. If it lasts longer than 3 weeks, it is chronic and there might functional disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, or celiac disease. Diarrhea is caused by a viral, parasitic or bacterial infection, food intolerance, reaction to medication, an after-effect of stomach surgery or gallbladder removal, or can be a symptom of an intestinal disease. The most common reason why people get diarrhea is because they consumed food or water that has bacteria or parasites.
A few other conditions that usually accompany diarrhea are bowel movements right after consuming food, the sudden urge to the inability to control bowel movement, and the sensation of needing to have another bowel movement after one has been passed. These conditions are often mistaken for symptoms of diarrhea and may necessitate a different form of treatment. The actual symptoms of diarrhea are abdominal pain, stomach cramping, bloating, nausea, or the urgent need to have a bowel movement.
When a person has diarrhea, preventing dehydration is vital. There must be an increase in the fluid intake. Drinking lots of water can help but it is better to drink certain beverages to make up for the loss of electrolytes. The recommended liquids to take in are sports drinks, fruit juice, vegetable juice and clear broth soups. Young children can use rehydration solutions such as Pedialyte, Infalyte or Ceralyte.
Food consumption should also be monitored, especially during the first 24 hours. Crackers, toasted bread, soft fruit such as bananas, boiled vegetables like potatoes, can be consumed as light meals throughout the first day. Avoid greasy food, dairy products, and food items that are high in fiber or sugar. The BRAT diet, which stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast, is a food intake regime that can easily adhered to as treatment for diarrhea. If the bout of diarrhea has stopped, going back to the normal intake of food has to be done gradually, and close observation must be continue to be able to find out what specific food item might be a cause for a recurrence.
There are antidiarrheal medicines that can be bought over the counter, and their generic names are loperamide and bismuth subsalicylate. If the diarrhea was caused by bacteria, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics. If the cause of the diarrhea was bacteria or parasites, these kinds of medication may make it worse as it will stop the body from natural purging out the harmful elements. It is better to consult a doctor first before taking any medication, and children below the age of 6 cannot just take any medication without the advice of a pediatrician.