Diarrhea: definition, causes, symptoms and treatment

Although it is a well-known annoyance, there are many causes, reasons, symptoms, and treat-ments for diarrhea. Find out everything you need to know about diarrhea, to manage it properly. 
A recurring phenomenon in the lives of many people, diarrhea is characterized by exceptionally soft and watery stools. Often it isn’t serious, it is important to know the causes, the effects and how to manage, it, in order to know what to do, or in more serious cases, when to consult a doctor.

  1. What is diarrhea?
    Diarrhea (What is diarrhea?) is characterized by loose, watery stools. One has diarrhea if it takes place three or more times during the day. Diarrhea that lasts a short time, usually one or two days, is known as "acute diarrhea." Diarrhea which lasts more than a few days is a sign of a more serious issue. This is known as “chronic diarrhea”, diarrhea which lasts at least four weeks. Symptoms may be continuous or not. This could be the symptom of a chronic disease. 
  2. What are the causes of diarrhea?
    Diarrhea can be caused by a number of factors. (What are the causes of diarrhea?) It can be related to bacteria or parasites, present in contaminated food or water, this is particularly the case for travel diarrhea, while traveling to certain countries. Certain viruses such as the flu, norovirus, rotavirus, or gastroenteritis can also cause diarrhea. This is also the case for medicines, including antibiotics, cancer drugs and antacids containing magnesium. It is also possible that diarrhea is related to food intolerance to gluten, lactose or even fructose. Some diseases of the stomach, small intestine, or colon, such as Crohn's disease, or irritable bowel syndrome, are symptomatic of diarrhea. Last but not least, abdominal surgery can also lead to diarrhea.
  3. What are the different kinds of diarrhea?
    There are three main types of diarrhea: (What are the different kinds of diarrhea?)

    -    Acute diarrhea of short duration. It is the most common, it occurs several times during one’s life and is generally not serious. 
    - Persistent diarrhea which can go up to 15 days and it should encourage you to consult a doctor. 
    - Chronic diarrhea lasts more than 30 days and is generally due to more severe intestinal dis-orders, like Crohn's disease
  4. What are the symptoms of diarrhea?
    When you suffer from diarrhea, your stools are very soft and watery (What are the symptoms of diarrhea?) and their color may be altered. You may also experience abdominal cramps, nausea, and a bloated feeling. It is also possible to have a fever with chills.
  5. How to manage diarrhea? 
    You can manage your diarrhea (How to manage diarrhea?) in different ways. The first is food. You should first make sure to drink at least 1 to 2 liters of water per day, in order to rehydrate yourself. Then avoid consuming certain foods such as dairy products, cit-rus juices, meat, fatty or sugary foods... You need to rather base your diet on starchy foods like white rice. Medication is available to treat diarrhea, but can lead to side effects, it is best to consult your doctor. Probiotics are good alternative to help create a healthy bowel environ-ment.

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