Diarrhea - Causes And Treatment
Diarrhea is a common symptom of a gastrointestinal disturbance. It is characterized by frequent and loose, watery stools. Diarrhea can cause dehydration, which means the body lacks enough fluid to function properly. Dehydration is particularly dangerous in children and the elderly, and it must be treated promptly to avoid serious health problems. Stool is made up mostly of water. For people in the Western World, the usual amount of water in stool each day is generally no more than 200 ml or 7 oz. (8 oz. = 1 cup). When it is consistently more than this, it is called diarrhea in the medical field.
Diarrhea symptoms and signs
Symptoms that may accompany diarrhea include vomiting, cramping, thirst, and abdominal pain. Some people run a fever as well. It is rarely a serious condition, except in young children and older adults. Diarrhea causes the loss of both fluids and electrolytes (minerals), which can lead to troublesome problems. Following are the signs that indicate the presence of this ailment:-
Causes of diarrhea
Among the many possible causes of diarrhea are incomplete digestion of food; food poisoning; food allergies; excess alcohol consumption; bacterial, viral, or other infection; and consumption of contaminated water.
Caffeine, magnesium, laxatives, and sorbitol (for young children) are all known to cause diarrhea in some people. The use of certain drugs, including antibiotics such as tetracycline, clindamycin (Cleocin), or ampicillin can also contribute to diarrhea. Inflammatory bowel disease, such as ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis, or Crohn's disease; pancreatic disease; and cancer may all lead to severe intestinal upsets. Emotional stress also can cause diarrhea. Acute diarrhea accompanied by fever and mucus or blood in the stool can 'be a sign of infection or the presence of parasites.
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