Diarrhea: What Is Your Body Telling You?

Diarrhea: What Is Your Body Telling You?

Diarrhea can happen to anyone.  Diarrhea is when your stools are loose and watery.  There are many reasons why someone can end up with diarrhea, and they aren’t all caused by bacteria or viruses.  You can suffer from acute, persistent, or chronic diarrhea. 

  • Acute diarrhea is when it only lasts for one or two days and goes away usually by itself. 
  • Persistent diarrhea is when the diarrhea lasts for several weeks between two or four weeks then going away. 
  • Chronic diarrhea is when the diarrhea lasts four weeks or it comes and goes over a long period of time. 

Anyone at any age can develop diarrhea.  There isn’t much you can do to prevent it entirely.  

Diagnoses

Diagnosing diarrhea is usually self diagnosed.  Finding the cause of the diarrhea can sometimes be the trouble.  When you have a doctor’s appointment the doctor will usually take your history.  Another thing your doctor may ask for is a stool sample.  This will then be tested to rule out parasites.  Blood tests may be used to rule out infections.  If you have persistent or chronic diarrhea you may need to have a colonoscopy.  A colonoscopy is an outpatient procedure where your doctor will take a small camera up into your colon to look for polyps.  Mild cases of diarrhea usually resolve itself on its own, only lasting about two days.  

Symptoms

There are many symptoms that go along with having diarrhea.  Along with diarrhea you can have bloating, cramps, thin and loose stools, watery stools, an urgent feeling to go to the bathroom, nausea, vomiting, and large bowel movements.  You don’t always have other symptoms along with diarrhea, but it isn’t uncommon.  There are some serious symptoms that if you have you need to see a doctor.  Those include blood or mucus in your stool, weight loss, fever, or black tar stool.  These can be extreme symptoms of something else that is going on.  You will want to see the doctor when you can as soon as possible to get tested.  

Causes

There are lots of things that can cause diarrhea.  The most common cause of diarrhea is the intestinal or stomach flu.  Other diseases that can cause diarrhea is Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, some cancers, diabetes, rotavirus and overactive thyroid.  Rotavirus can also cause diarrhea.  In cases where diarrhea is a symptom of an underlying condition treatment on your underlying condition will hopefully lessen your diarrhea.  

Alcohol abuse, food allergies, food poisoning, laxative abuse, or trouble absorbing certain nutrients can cause diarrhea as well.  Having intestinal surgery or gallbladder surgery can also cause you to have diarrhea.  Undergoing some radiation therapy can have a side effect of diarrhea.  Some people suffer from runner’s diarrhea.  

Dehydration A Danger

Diarrhea in young children is very dangerous.  Diarrhea can cause serious dehydration and in infants it can happen very quickly.  If your child suffers from diarrhea lasting longer than twenty-four hours you will want to get them into their pediatrician as soon as possible to try and make sure dehydration doesn’t occur.  No matter what age you are dehydration can occur when having diarrhea.  It is important to make sure you drink lots of fluids.  If your stomach hurts too bad and you feel uncomfortable, warm broth is a good option.  Sports drinks with electrolytes are a good choice of drinks to replace the electrolytes in your body that you lose when having diarrhea.  If you are sore or uncomfortable you can also take a warm bath to soothe your uncomfortable lower half.  Other treatments to soothe are petroleum jelly or vaseline.  

Conclusion

Diarrhea is usually something that resolves itself and requires no treatment.  In some cases it is a symptom of an underlying disease but majority of times it is just an upset stomach.  The main thing to do when you suffer from diarrhea is to make sure you drink lots of water.  If you end up having persistent or chronic diarrhea you will want to see your doctor to make sure you don’t have a parasite or something else more serious going on.  

 


Sources:
my.clevelandclinic.org
webmd.com
healthline.com


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HealthStatus has been operating since 1998 providing the best interactive health tools on the Internet, millions of visitors have used our blood alcohol, body fat and calories burned calculators.

The HealthStatus editorial team has continued that commitment to excellence by providing our visitors with easy to understand high quality health content for many years.

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HealthStatus has been operating since 1998 providing the best interactive health tools on the Internet, millions of visitors have used our blood alcohol, body fat and calories burned calculators. The HealthStatus editorial team has continued that commitment to excellence by providing our visitors with easy to understand high quality health content for many years. Our team of health professionals, and researchers use peer reviewed studies as source elements in our articles. Our high quality content has been featured in a number of leading websites, USA Today, the Chicago Tribune, Live Strong, GQ, and many more.

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