Diarrhea

Diarrhea is a condition that creates discomfort in a person's normal daily life due to frequent use of the toilet. In addition, the disease can cause deterioration in health and general well-being. Nevertheless, each of us sometimes has diarrhea - watery stools that cause discomfort and harm the general condition. In most cases, it lasts a couple of days. But when this condition persists for several weeks, it may indicate a serious disorder such as an acute infection, inflammatory bowel disease, or irritable bowel syndrome. It is important to seek specialized help in time if the situation is out of control.

What is diarrhea?

Diarrhea is caused by increased secretion of fluid in the intestine, decreased absorption of fluid from the intestine, or increased intestinal motility. Symptoms associated with diarrhea include abdominal pain, flatulence, weakness.

Diarrhea is having at least three liquid bowel movements every day. It often lasts for several days and can lead to dehydration due to fluid loss. Signs of dehydration: reduced skin elasticity, dry mouth, tachycardia, decreased urination.

However, loose but not watery stools in exclusively breastfed infants is a normal variant.

The most common cause is believed to be intestinal infection due to a virus, bacteria, or parasites, a condition also known as gastroenteritis. These infections are often acquired from food or water that has been contaminated with faeces or directly from another infected person. Diarrhea is an increase in the frequency of bowel movements or a decrease in the strength of the stool (great weakness of the stool). Although changes in bowel frequency and loose stools can vary independently of each other, changes often occur in both cases.

This disorder must be distinguished from other syndromes. However, these conditions can accompany diarrhea and often have different causes and treatments (other similar syndromes have a separate cause, although the symptoms are similar). So, for example, stool incontinence, which is the inability to control (delay) defecation until the appropriate time, for example, until the person can get to the toilet. Incomplete voiding, which is the feeling that it is necessary to revisit the toilet soon after a bowel movement, but at the same time there is difficulty with further stool a second time.

Symptoms and types of diarrhea

Signs and symptoms associated with indigestion may include:

A number of non-infectious causes can lead to this disorder. These include lactose intolerance, irritable bowel syndrome, gluten sensitivity, celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, hyperthyroidism, and a number of medications. Between 1.7 and 5 billion cases of diarrhea occur annually. The disease is most common in developing countries, where young children experience it three times a year on average.

An adult should see a doctor if diarrhea lasts more than two days, dehydration, severe abdominal or rectal pain, bloody or black stools. In addition, medical attention is needed if you have a fever above 39°C. If you experience diarrhea after returning from another country, you should also seek help from a healthcare professional.

Also, call your doctor right away if you have diarrhea and any of these signs of dehydration: less dark urine (fewer baby diapers full); fast pulse; headaches; dry skin ; irritability. In children, especially small ones (infants), it can quickly lead to dehydration. Call your doctor if your child does not improve within 24 hours or has any of the above symptoms.

Diarrhea is caused by increased secretion of fluid in the intestine, decreased absorption of fluid from the intestine, or increased intestinal motility. Symptoms associated with this disease include abdominal pain, nausea.

Diarrhea can be either acute or chronic, and each has different causes and treatments. Complications include dehydration, electrolyte (mineral) abnormalities, and irritation of the anus. Tests that are useful in evaluating acute diarrhea include stool examination for cells, chemistry (coprology), as well as parasites, bacteria, stool testing for C. difficile toxins, and blood testing for electrolytes.

Tests that are useful in assessing the chronic form: examination for parasites, dysbacteriosis, colonoscopy , stool test for calprotectin.

Dehydration can be treated at home with home remedies, oral rehydration solutions. Antibiotics are prescribed if a bacterial etiology of diarrhea is suspected.

Causes

Often this disorder is caused by viruses. Some people call it "stomach flu" or "stomach flu". In fact, rotavirus, norovirus or enterovirus is to blame.

Other causes include:

  • alcohol abuse;
  • allergic to certain foods;
  • diabetes ;
  • bowel disease (such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis);
  • eating foods that disturb the digestive system;
  • infection by bacteria (cause of most food poisoning) or other organisms;
  • drug abuse;
  • thyroid disorder (hyperthyroidism);
  • radiation therapy;
  • running;
  • certain cancers;
  • surgery on the organs of the digestive system.

Diarrhea usually loosens stools and increases the frequency of bowel movements. This weakness, which can range from mild to watery. During normal digestion, food is held in liquid by the excretion of large amounts of water through the stomach, upper small intestine, pancreas, and gallbladder. Food that is not digested reaches the lower small intestine and large intestine in liquid form. The lower small intestine and especially the large intestine absorb water, turning undigested food into harder stools. An increase in the amount of water in a bowel movement can occur if the stomach and small intestine secrete too much fluid, the small intestine and colon do not absorb enough, or liquid food passes too quickly through the small intestine.

Another way to look at causes is to divide the problem into five types. The first is referred to as secretory diarrhea because too much fluid is released into the intestines.

The second type is called osmotic diarrhea, in which small molecules pass into the colon and are not digested - they are absorbed, drawing water and electrolytes into the colon and stool.

The third type is called motility-associated diarrhea, in which the intestinal muscles are overactive and carry contents through the intestines without sufficient time to absorb water and electrolytes.

The fourth type is uncommon and is most commonly referred to as collagenous colitis. It manifests an inability to absorb fluid due to extensive scarring in the intestinal lining. Inflammation may also play a role.

The fifth type is considered inflammatory diarrhea and involves more than one mechanism. For example, some viruses, bacteria, and parasites cause increased fluid secretion, either by invading and inflaming the submucosa of the small intestine (inflammation stimulates the submucosa to actively secrete fluid) or by producing toxins (chemicals) that also stimulate fluid release but do not cause inflammation.. Disease of the small intestine and colon can increase the rate at which food passes through the intestines, while decreasing the time it takes for water to be absorbed.

Conclusions

Many people have diarrhea once or twice a year. It usually lasts 2 to 3 days and is mostly treated with home remedies. Some people experience it more often as part of irritable bowel syndrome or other conditions. If you have more than three watery stools a day and you're not drinking enough fluids, you may become dehydrated. This causes serious complications if the disease is not eliminated. Therefore, it is important to identify the signs of diarrhea in yourself in time, seek medical help and begin an examination. It is also necessary to study the information and tips to prevent such an unpleasant situation in the future.

Sources
  1. Belousova E. A., Zlatkina A. R. Diarrhea syndrome in the practice of a gastroenterologist: pathophysiology and a differentiated approach to treatment. - MONIKI them. M. F. Vladimirsky, Moscow. Pharmateka. - 2003. - No. 10. - p. 65–71.
  2. Medicina.ru. – Diarrhea.
  3. MSDmanuals.com. - Diarrhea.