DIARRHEA or DIARRHOEA is considered an abnormal condition of the intestines in which abnormally frequent and fluid feces occur, generally accompanied with bowel movements and with little presence of solids.
Rather than the number of depositions , diarrhea can be defined by the percentage of water from the fecal material. It is considered as such when it presents more than 85% water, whereas between 60 and 85% is the percentage of a normal stool.
The number of depositions of a person with diarrhea can vary a lot and become higher than 20 a day.
Types of diarrhea
- Acute diarrhea: It is that which affects the individual as a result of a momentary reason . It doesn't´t last more than 15 or 20 days. This type of diarrhea, which , in most cases, usually responds to a bacterial or viral cause, is responsible in developing countries for the death of many people, especially girls and children under 5 years.
- Chronic diarrhea: A condition in which the individual has episodes of constant diarrhea . In this case it is a response to some kind of bodily disease. Medically it is said to be that type lasting more than 8 months. This type of diarrhea is a major personal problem for people who suffer it either in their relationship with other people or in their workplace.
Symptoms of diarrhea
Among the main symptoms we could mention the following: Immediate need for bowel evacuation , headache, weakness, stomachache, etc.
Causes of diarrhea
The main causes of diarrhea are:
- Eating food in poor condition leading to food poisoning.
- Allergies to some foods or food absorption problems such as lactose intolerance or gluten intolerance. For example, many people, who can not tolerate milk , suffer severe diarrhea after drinking milk or eating cheese.
- A diet with too much fruit or vegetables, specially in individuals who are not used to it. .
- Eating foods with lots of artificial sweeteners.
Diarrhea can be a symptom of physical disease. Among these we can mention:
- Gastroenteritis: one of the most common diarrhea causes is gastroenteritis caused by intestinal influenza virus that usually affects people living together such as schoolchildren, workers of the same company, members of the same family, etc.
- Some medications or vitamins. Among the former antibiotics and antacids are responsible for the occurrence of diarrhea . B vitamin, vitamin C or magnesium, for example, when taken in excess or are ingested by susceptible individuals, produce diarrhea.
Diarrhea prevention . How to prevent diarrhea?
To avoid the occurrence of diarrhea you should follow the following tips:
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before eating.
- Wash your hands thoroughly after handling food, especially raw meat.
- Do not leave your cooked food out of the fridge for too long.
- Thaw your food in the microwave.
- Wash dishes with soap and water specially if raw meat has been placed on them .
- Wash your dishes well right after eating.
- On trips abroad or in areas of low confidence drink only bottled water. Use this water for brushing your teeth.
- In foreign travels or at places of low confidence do not eat anything raw.
Usually the diarrhea problem is solved with a proper diet after a few days. Special emphasis should be put on drinking plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration, especially in infants or young children are affected.
Chronic diarrhea require special treatment by the doctor who must diagnose their cause and apply the proper treatment.
Among the clearest signs to know whether this is a chronic diarrhea is to determine whether there is blood in the feces or whether there is a loss of more than 4.5 kilos of body weight in a short time and without apparent reason. Another clear sign is the need to get up to defecate at night.
In addition to chronic diarrhea, you also have to search for medical care when , together with acute diarrhea, some symptoms as the following appear:
- Traces of blood in the feces.
- When fever is above 38 º C in babies or above 39 º C in adults.
- When heart problems appear.
- Where there is no improvement after 3 days in young children or babies older than 3 months or after 5 days in adults. Newborns and babies up to 3 months must visit the doctor when they get diarrhea.