Diarrhea: symptoms, causes, prevention & Treatment

diarrhea causes


Diarrhea is free, watery stools (bowel actions). You have diarrhea in case you have free stools three or extra instances in someday. Acute diarrhea is diarrhea that lasts a short while. It is a typical drawback. It normally lasts about one or two days, however, it might last more. Then it goes away by itself.

Diarrhea lasting quite a lot of days could also be an indication of an extra major problem. Chronic diarrhea — diarrhea that lasts at the very least 4 weeks — generally is a symptom of power illness. Chronic diarrhea signs could also be continuous, or they might come and go.

Who is in danger for diarrhea?

People of all ages can get diarrhea. On common, adults In the United States have acute diarrhea annually. Young youngsters have it a median of twice a yr.

People who go to creating nations are in danger for traveler’s diarrhea. It is brought on by consuming contaminated meals or water.

When ought to I see a health care provider for diarrhea?

Although it’s normally not dangerous, diarrhea can turn out to be harmful or sign a extra major problem. Contact your well being care supplier in case you have

  • Signs of dehydration
  • Diarrhea for greater than 2 days, if you’re an grownup. For youngsters, contact the supplier if it lasts greater than 24 hours.
  • Severe ache in your stomach or rectum (for adults)
  • A fever of 102 levels or larger
  • Stools containing blood or pus
  • Stools which are black and tarry

If youngsters have diarrhea, dad and mom or caregivers shouldn’t hesitate to name a well being care supplier. Diarrhea could be particularly harmful in newborns and infants.

What are the remedies for diarrhea?

Diarrhea symptoms

Diarrhea is handled by changing misplaced fluids and electrolytes to stop dehydration. Depending on the reason for the issue, you could want medicines to cease the diarrhea or deal with an an infection.

Adults with diarrhea ought to drink water, fruit juices, sports activities drinks, sodas with out caffeine, and salty broths. As your signs enhance, you’ll be able to eat delicate, bland meals.

Children with diarrhea ought to be given oral rehydration options to switch misplaced fluids and electrolytes.

Causes of Diarrhea

Numerous ailments and situations may cause diarrhea, together with

  • Viruses. Viruses that may trigger diarrhea embrace Norwalk virus, cytomegalovirus and viral hepatitis. Rotavirus is a typical reason behind acute childhood diarrhea.
  • Bacteria and parasites. Contaminated meals or water can transmit micro organism and parasites to your physique. When touring in creating nations, diarrhea brought on by micro organism and parasites is usually referred to as traveler’s diarrhea. Clostridium difficile is one other kind of micro organism that may trigger critical infections that trigger diarrhea, and it might happen after a course of antibiotics or throughout a hospitalization.
  • Medications. Many medicines, equivalent to antibiotics, may cause diarrhea. Antibiotics destroy each good and dangerous micro organism, which might disturb the pure steadiness of micro organism in your intestines. Other medication that trigger diarrhea are most cancers medication and antacids with magnesium.
  • Lactose intolerance. Lactose is a sugar present in milk and different dairy merchandise. People who’ve problem digesting lactose have diarrhea after consuming dairy merchandise. Lactose intolerance can improve with age as a result of ranges of the enzyme that helps digest lactose drop after childhood.
  • Fructose. Fructose is a sugar discovered naturally in fruits and honey. It’s typically added as a sweetener to sure drinks. In individuals who have bother digesting fructose, it might result in diarrhea.
  • Artificial sweeteners. Sorbitol and mannitol — synthetic sweeteners present in chewing gum and different sugar-free merchandise — may cause diarrhea in some in any other case wholesome folks.
  • Surgery. Abdominal or gallbladder elimination surgical procedures can typically trigger diarrhea.
  • Other digestive issues. Chronic diarrhea has quite a lot of different causes, equivalent to Crohn’s illness, ulcerative colitis, celiac illness, microscopic colitis and irritable bowel syndrome.

What causes diarrhea?

The most typical causes of diarrhea embrace

  • Bacteria from contaminated meals or water
  • Viruses such because the flu, norovirus, or rotavirus. Rotavirus is the most typical reason behind acute diarrhea in youngsters.
  • Parasites, that are tiny organisms present in contaminated meals or water
  • Medicines equivalent to antibiotics, most cancers medication, and antacids that comprise magnesium
  • Food intolerances and sensitivities, that are issues digesting sure elements or meals. An instance is lactose intolerance.
  • Diseases that have an effect on the abdomen, small gut, or colon, equivalent to Crohn’s illness
  • Problems with how the colon features, equivalent to irritable bowel syndrome

Some folks additionally get diarrhea after abdomen surgical procedure, as a result of typically the surgical procedures may cause meals to maneuver by means of your digestive system extra shortly.

Sometimes no trigger could be discovered. If your diarrhea goes away inside a number of days, discovering the trigger is normally not obligatory.



You will help defend your toddler from rotavirus, the most typical reason behind viral diarrhea in youngsters, with one among two authorised vaccines. Ask your child’s physician about having your child vaccinated.

Preventing viral diarrhea

Wash your fingers to stop the unfold of viral diarrhea. To guarantee ample hand-washing:

  • Wash ceaselessly. Wash your fingers earlier than and after making ready meals. Wash your fingers after dealing with raw meat, utilizing the bathroom, altering diapers, sneezing, coughing and blowing your nostril.
  • Lather with cleaning soap for at the very least 20 seconds. After placing cleaning soap in your fingers, rub your fingers collectively for at the very least 20 seconds. This is about so long as it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice by means of.
  • Use hand sanitizer when washing is not attainable. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when you’ll be able to’t get to a sink. Apply the hand sanitizer as you’d hand lotion, ensuring to cowl the fronts and backs of each fingers. Use a product that incorporates at the very least 60 p.c alcohol.

Preventing traveler’s diarrhea

Diarrhea generally impacts individuals who journey to nations the place there’s insufficient sanitation and contaminated meals. To scale back your threat:

  • Watch what you eat. Eat scorching, well-cooked meals. Avoid uncooked vegatables and fruits except you’ll be able to peel them your self. Also keep away from uncooked or undercooked meats and dairy meals.
  • Watch what you drink. Drink bottled water, soda, beer or wine served in its authentic container. Avoid faucet water and ice cubes. Use bottled water even for brushing your tooth. Keep your mouth closed whilst you bathe.Beverages made with boiled water, equivalent to espresso and tea, are in all probability secure. Remember that alcohol and caffeine can worsen diarrhea and worsen dehydration.
  • Ask your physician about antibiotics. If you are touring to a creating nation for an prolonged time, ask your physician about antibiotics earlier than you go, particularly in case you have a weakened immune system.
  • Check for journey warnings. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintains a vacationers’ well being web site the place illness warnings are posted for numerous nations. If you are planning to journey exterior of the United States, examine there for warnings and ideas for lowering your threat.

Diarrhea Symptoms

Diarrhea symptoms

Signs and signs related to diarrhea could embrace:

  • Loose, watery stools
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Abdominal ache
  • Fever
  • Blood within the stool
  • Mucus within the stool
  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Urgent must have a bowel motion

What different signs would possibly I’ve with diarrhea?

Other attainable signs of diarrhea embrace

  • Cramps or ache within the stomach
  • An pressing want to make use of the toilet
  • Loss of bowel management

If a virus or micro organism is the reason for your diarrhea, you might also have a fever, chills, and bloody stools.

Diarrhea may cause dehydration, which signifies that your physique doesn’t have sufficient fluid to work correctly. Dehydration could be critical, particularly for kids, older adults, and folks with weakened immune methods.

How is the reason for diarrhea identified?

To discover the reason for diarrhea, your well being care supplier could

  • Do a bodily examination
  • Ask about any medicines you’re taking
  • Test your stool or blood to search for micro organism, parasites, or different indicators of illness or an infection
  • Ask you to cease consuming sure meals to see whether or not your diarrhea goes away

If you will have power diarrhea, your well being care supplier could carry out different checks to search for indicators of illness.

When to see a health care provider

If you are an grownup, see your physician if:

  • Your diarrhea persists past a number of days
  • You turn out to be dehydrated
  • You have extreme belly or rectal ache
  • You have bloody or black stools
  • You have a fever above 102 F (39 C)

In youngsters, notably younger youngsters, diarrhea can shortly result in dehydration. Call your physician in case your kid’s diarrhea does not enhance inside 24 hours or in case your child:

  • Becomes dehydrated
  • Has a fever above 102 F (39 C)
  • Has bloody or black stools

Can diarrhea be prevented?

Two kinds of diarrhea could be prevented – rotavirus diarrhea and traveler’s diarrhea. There are vaccines for rotavirus. They are given to infants in two or three doses.

You will help forestall traveler’s diarrhea by being cautious about what you eat and drink if you find yourself in creating nations:

  • Use solely bottled or purified water for consuming, making ice cubes, and brushing your tooth
  • If you do use faucet water, boil it or use iodine tablets
  • Make positive that the cooked meals you eat is totally cooked and served scorching
  • Avoid unwashed or unpeeled uncooked vegatables and fruits

Treatment for Diarrhea


If your case is delicate, you could not must take something. Adults can take an over-the-counter medication equivalent to bismuth subsalicylate or loperamide, which you may get as liquids or tablets.

You additionally want to remain hydrated. You ought to drink at the very least six 8-ounce glasses of fluids every day. Choose electrolyte alternative drinks or soda with out caffeine. Chicken broth (with out the fats), tea with honey, and sports activities drinks are additionally good decisions. Instead of consuming liquids together with your meals, drink liquids between meals. Sip small quantities of fluids usually.


Diarrhea may cause dehydration, which could be life-threatening if untreated. Dehydration is especially harmful in youngsters, older adults and people with weakened immune methods.

If you will have indicators of great dehydration, search medical assist.

Indications of dehydration in infants and younger youngsters

These embrace:

  • Not having a moist diaper in three or extra hours
  • Dry mouth and tongue
  • Fever above 102 F (39 C)
  • Crying with out tears
  • Drowsiness, unresponsiveness or irritability
  • Sunken look to the stomach, eyes or cheeks

Indications of dehydration in adults

These embrace:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Dry mouth or pores and skin
  • Little or no urination
  • Weakness, dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Fatigue
  • Dark-colored urine

When Should I Call My Doctor?

Call your physician straight away in case you have:

  • Blood in your diarrhea or black, tarry stools
  • A fever that’s excessive (above 101 F) or that lasts greater than 24 hours
  • Diarrhea lasting longer than 2 days
  • Nausea or throwing up that stops you from consuming liquids to switch misplaced fluids
  • Severe ache in your stomach or rear finish
  • Diarrhea after getting back from a international nation

Also, name your physician straight away in case you have diarrhea and any of those indicators of dehydration:

  • Dark urine
  • Smaller than regular quantities of urine or, in a baby, fewer moist diapers than regular
  • Rapid coronary heart charge
  • Headaches
  • Dry pores and skin
  • Crankiness
  • Confusion

How Can I Feel Better?

Your rectal space could turn out to be sore due to all of the bowel actions that diarrhea brings. You could have itching, burning, or ache while you go to the toilet.

For reduction, take a heat tub. Afterward, pat the world dry (don’t rub) with a clear, delicate towel. You might also strive to utilize a hemorrhoid cream or petroleum jelly on the affected space.