Whatever you name it—going to the toilet, having a bowel movement, pooping—stool is a normal part of your existence. This method of eliminating waste from your body might, however, occasionally change. Diarrhea is characterized by loose or watery stools. This is a relatively common ailment, and it typically goes away on its own.
There are many different causes of diarrhea, and it typically goes away on its own in one to three days. When you have diarrhea, you can feel the urge to use the look immediately and more frequently than usual. Additionally, you can feel bloated, get cramps in your lower abdomen, and occasionally feel queasy.
Although the majority of episodes of diarrhea are self-limited (lasting a specific amount of time and progressing at a constant rate of severity), it can occasionally cause life-threatening consequences. Dehydration (when your body loses a lot of water), electrolyte imbalance (loss of sodium, potassium, and magnesium), and renal failure (not enough blood or fluid is delivered to the kidneys) are all effects of diarrhea. Along with excrement, diarrhea causes the loss of electrolytes and water. To replenish the lost fluids, you must consume enough of liquids. If dehydration does not improve, worsens, or is not properly treated, it may become dangerous.
Depending on how severe or light your diarrhea is, as well as its underlying cause, you may suffer a variety of symptoms. A medical problem that needs to be treated is connected to severe bouts of diarrhea.
You might encounter some or all of these signs and symptoms when you have diarrhea. The primary sign of diarrhea is watery or loose stools.
Other symptoms of mild diarrhea can include:
- Bloating or cramps in the abdomen.
- A strong and urgent need to have a bowel movement.
- Nausea (upset stomach).
If you have severe diarrhea, you may experience symptoms like:
- Weight loss
- Severe pain
Several serious problems might arise from severe diarrhea. Call your healthcare practitioner and get help if you experience these symptoms.
Most self-limited diarrheal diseases have an unknown source. Viral gastroenteritis, the most typical cause of diarrhea, is an infection of the colon by a virus. The illness, which might last a few days, is occasionally referred to as “intestinal flu.”
Other possible causes of diarrhea can include:
- Infection by bacteria
- Infections by other organisms and pre-formed toxins
- Eating foods that upset the digestive system
- Allergies and intolerances to certain foods (Celiac disease or lactose intolerance)
- Radiation therapy
- Malabsorption of food (poor absorption)
There are a few methods you can do to lessen your risk of getting diarrhea, such as:
Avoiding infections with good hygiene habits: The most effective technique to stop diarrhea is to wash your hands with soap and water after using the restroom and before cooking, handling, and eating. Washing your hands thoroughly can make a significant difference in the health of both you and others around you.
Getting your vaccinations: The rotavirus vaccine can stop rotavirus, one of the causes of diarrhea. Throughout the first year of life, this is administered to infants at various periods.
Storing food properly: You may avoid getting diarrhea by storing your food at the proper temperatures, preparing it to the required temperature, and handling all meals carefully.
Watching what you drink when you travel: When you consume water or other beverages that haven’t been properly treated, you run the risk of developing traveler’s diarrhea. The likelihood of this occurring is highest in emerging nations. There are certain guidelines to follow in order to avoid getting diarrhea. Observe what you consume. Never consume unpasteurized milk, milk products, or juices, use tap water to make ice cubes, wash your hands with tap water, or brush your teeth with it. Attempting local cuisine from street vendors, consuming raw or undercooked meats (including seafood), as well as eating raw fruits and vegetables, should all be done with caution. When in doubt, sip on bottled water or previously cooked beverages like coffee or tea.