Indy Gastro | Colonoscopy, rectal bleeding, diarrhea, constipation, endoscopy

Diarrhea

Definition

Diarrhea is loose, watery stools. A person with diarrhea typically passes stool more than three times a day. Acute diarrhea is a common problem that usually lasts more than 7 days and goes away on its own without special treatment. Prolonged diarrhea persisting for more than 2 days may be a sign of a more serious problem and poses the risk of dehydration. In many cases, the cause of diarrhea cannot be found. As long as diarrhea goes away on its own, an extensive search for the cause is not usually necessary.

Causes

  1. Food: Several types of bacteria consumed through contaminated food or water can cause diarrhea. Common culprits include Campylobacter, Salmonella, Shigella, and Escherichia coli (E. coli). Some people are unable to digest, or intolerant of food components such as artificial sweeteners and lactose—the sugar found in milk which can cause diarrhea.
  2. Chemical laxatives: Over use of laxatives can cause diarrhea.
  3. Prescription Drugs: Antibiotics, blood pressure medications, cancer drugs, and antacids containing magnesium can all cause diarrhea.
  4. Infection: Parasites can enter the body through food or water and settle in the digestive system. Parasites that cause diarrhea include Giardia lamblia, Entamoeba histolytica, and Cryptosporidium.
  5. Traveler’s Diarrhea: Patients who travel outside the United States, particularly to Mexico or the Third World countries, are very prone to develop traveler's diarrhea. A microorganism call E. coli often causes this.
  6. Diseases: Inflammatory bowel disease, colitis, Crohn’s disease, and celiac disease often lead to diarrhea. Diarrhea can be a symptom of irritable bowel syndrome. Some people develop diarrhea after stomach surgery or removal of the gallbladder
  7. Stress: In some cases, when people are under more than usual stress, diarrhea can develop.
  8. IBS: Please direct to IBS  section of data.

Treatment:

Diarrhea can lead to dehydration. The fluid and electrolytes lost during diarrhea need to be replaced promptly because the body cannot function without them. Electrolytes are the salts and minerals that affect the amount of water in your body, muscle activity, and other important functions. Medicines that stop diarrhea may be helpful, but they are not recommended for people whose diarrhea is caused by a bacterial infection or parasite. Viral infections are either treated with medication or left to run their course, depending on the severity and type of virus.

Summary

People of all ages can get diarrhea. Diarrhea often goes away on its own. When diarrhea that will not go away can be a sign of a more serious condition and a doctor should be notified. The body can lose important fluids and electrolytes during a course of diarrhea. Drinking fluids is important.

Follow us on

Contact Indy Gastro

  • (317) 865-2955 & (800) 403-4683
  • Mailing Address

    8051 S. Emerson Ave.
    Suites 150 & 200
    Indianapolis, IN 46237

  • Contact UsView All Locatons