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What is diarrhea?

Defecation is defined as diarrhea if it occurs to adults more than 3 times a day in an increased and/or thin quantity.

Causes and therapy

Diarrhea is defined in frequency and form. Even both normally differ from human being to human being.  When defecation takes place more than 3 times daily, it is called diarrhea. The quantity increases and /or is liquid. Whilst one fights with constipation and is happy to have bowel movements every two days, the other needs to relieve daily. Particularly defecation varies with babies. Normal bowel movement could happen from 5 times daily to once in 5 days. Although many persons affected from this measure are convinced to be affected by diarrhea, a thin or pulpy stool is not a criterion of malade diarrhea. Condition is a bowel movement - at least than 3 times daily – of more liquid consistence. The volume and weight of defecation is higher. Liquid stool is known by almost everybody. When additional vomiting adds and one does not feel too well, it is often spoken of influenza of the abdomen –intestine or an infection of abdomen-intestine. How poor the affected mainly feels, but most quickly return to their feet. One to two days of diet and a lot of liquid intake, everything will be back to normal. However, there are heavier causes. In severe diarrhea the body looses large amount of water, salts and gastric juices from the abdomen. Nutrient is absorbed insuffiently. There is a risk of dehydration without treatment. Especially elderly and children could be threatened to suffer from dehydration very quickly.

When do I have to visit a doctor?

If the diarrhea lasts longer than three days, is severe and weakens the affected, a doctor has to be consulted. This also applies if severe abdominal pain, fever or repeated vomiting occurs, if the stool is blood spattered, and of course upon suspicion of poisoning.

Acute Diarrhea

How will acute diarrhea be treated

Suddenly occurring diarrhea which lasts only a few days is mostly caused by a virus or bacteria infection. A typical example is the travel diarrhea. Medical examinations are mainly not necessary. Some simple rules should be observed to prevent it. It should be without any question to clean the hands after using a toilette and before each meal. To avoid infections of nutrient it should be the rule, to cool it well, and cooked, warmed up and sterilized in high temperature particularly in summer.

How to treat acute diarrhea

Acute diarrhea which only lasts for one or two days one does not need to visit a doctor. One compensates the loss of liquid in taking in a high measure of liquid. The intake of a high measure of liquid is the A and O to prevent dehydration. Dehydration fundamentally threatens babies less than six months old or children when they relieve more than eight liquid stools within the last 24 hours and/or had to vomit more than 4 times within the last 24 hours. Also, elderly persons become endangered under these conditions as they tend to dehydrate anyway or are accompanied with diseases.

It could be wise to do sometime without solid food or choose bland diet. Even when diarrhea and vomit spoil the desire to eat: particularly children should not  stop eating  for long. Especially low fat nutrient like zwieback, grated apple, mashed banana, salted sticks or rice are well suitable. Otherwise healthy adults should have an intake of three litres of liquid a day. Babies and children should drink 80 to 150 ml per kg of weight. Optimal is a sugar-electrolytic liquid from the pharmacy for children and adults. It helps to equalize the lack of salt and liquid and a light loss of weight, and it opposes dehydration.

The doctor decides whether medicine should be taken against diarrhea and accompanying symptoms like sickness, nausea and pain of the belly.  Distinct stomach cramps, for instance, could be treated with antispasmodic medicine like butyscopolamin. Medicine which should stop diarrhea like loperamid hinders the excreted matter in agents of disease. However, this is in a way a kind of self-healing process of the corps in an infection.  Therefore, medication against diarrhea is only a short-term help, for instance in air travel. However, neither fever nor blood spattered stool should be present. In severe cases or if enough drinking is not guaranteed, liquid through the bloodstream must be supplied. If in doubt, consult a doctor (see above, dehydration) - possibly the patient has to be admitted to a hospital.  Sometimes an antibiotic is necessary.

Chronic diarrhea

Chronic diarrhea is connected with many various, sometimes even with severe diseases. Of course, sometime chronic diarrhea starts off more or less acute. The symptoms occur repeatedly or in batches in over more than two to four weeks. In between they could diminish. Chronic inflamed intestine disease like a colitis ulcerosa could imitate an acute infection of the intestine, therefore, one thinks first of all of a pathogen to trigger it. In other cases intestine complaints could be the question of nutrition (lactose or fructose intolerance) and minimize when for instance milk and fruit be eliminated from the menu. Bread and roles, biscuits and cereals, noodles, pizza and beer could trigger diarrhea. This could point to gluten intolerance, but it needs, of course, a clarification. Diarrhea which is chronic is more than a bothersome irregularity. Because of permanent digestive and nutritional disorder could cause serious consequences of health. As a result the cause has to be pursued (there are over 50 different reasons) in any case. Thereto defecation and blood examination, coloscopy and sometimes particular metabolic tests and additional analyses are necessary.

How to treat chronic diarrhea?

Chronic diarrhea always requires a causally related therapy. A diet could help in which food or parts of food a patient does not tolerate or is allergic against are eliminated or replaced by digestible food. Example par excellence is gluten-free food in celiac disease. Also, changeover in use of laxatives or other medicine in consultation with the doctor could be the key of success.

There are many more therapy options dependent on diagnosis. Only two examples: A treatment with resolvents in a chronic inflamed intestine or with special medicines will be carried out which bring down the immune system. In case of cancer disease a broad therapy inclusive surgery dependent on the grade could be necessary.