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Diarrhea

Also called: Dysentery, The runs, The trots
अनुवाद: हिन्दी
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What is diarrhea?

Diarrhea is loose, watery stools (bowel movements). You have diarrhea if you have loose stools three or more times in one day. Acute diarrhea is diarrhea that lasts a short time. It is a common problem. It usually lasts about one or two days, but it may last longer. Then it goes away on its own.

Diarrhea lasting more than a few days may be a sign of a more serious problem. Chronic diarrhea -- diarrhea that lasts at least four weeks -- can be a symptom of a chronic disease. Chronic diarrhea symptoms may be continual, or they may come and go.

Who gets diarrhea?

People of all ages can get diarrhea. On average, adults In the United States have acute diarrhea once a year. Young children have it an average of twice a year.

People who visit developing countries are at risk for traveler's diarrhea. It is caused by consuming contaminated food or water.

What causes diarrhea?

The most common causes of diarrhea include

  • Bacteria from contaminated food or water
  • Viruses such as the flu, norovirus, or rotavirus . Rotavirus is the most common cause of acute diarrhea in children.
  • Parasites, which are tiny organisms found in contaminated food or water
  • Medicines such as antibiotics, cancer drugs, and antacids that contain magnesium
  • Food intolerances and sensitivities, which are problems digesting certain ingredients or foods. An example is lactose intolerance.
  • Diseases that affect the stomach, small intestine, or colon, such as Crohn's disease
  • Problems with how the colon functions, such as irritable bowel syndrome

Some people also get diarrhea after stomach surgery, because sometimes the surgeries can cause food to move through your digestive system more quickly.

Sometimes no cause can be found. If your diarrhea goes away within a few days, finding the cause is usually not necessary.

What other symptoms might I have with diarrhea?

Other possible symptoms of diarrhea include

  • Cramps or pain in the abdomen
  • An urgent need to use the bathroom
  • Loss of bowel control

If a virus or bacteria is the cause of your diarrhea, you may also have a fever, chills, and bloody stools.

Diarrhea can cause dehydration, which means that your body does not have enough fluid to work properly. Dehydration can be serious, especially for children, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems.

When should I see a doctor for diarrhea?

Although it is usually not harmful, diarrhea can become dangerous or signal a more serious problem. Contact your health care provider if you have

  • Signs of dehydration
  • Diarrhea for more than 2 days, if you are an adult. For children, contact the provider if it lasts more than 24 hours.
  • Severe pain in your abdomen or rectum (for adults)
  • A fever of 102 degrees or higher
  • Stools containing blood or pus
  • Stools that are black and tarry

If children have diarrhea, parents or caregivers should not hesitate to call a health care provider. Diarrhea can be especially dangerous in newborns and infants.

How is the cause of diarrhea diagnosed?

To find the cause of diarrhea, your health care provider may

  • Do a physical exam
  • Ask about any medicines you are taking
  • Test your stool or blood to look for bacteria, parasites, or other signs of disease or infection
  • Ask you to stop eating certain foods to see whether your diarrhea goes away

If you have chronic diarrhea, your health care provider may perform other tests to look for signs of disease.

What are the treatments for diarrhea?

Diarrhea is treated by replacing lost fluids and electrolytes to prevent dehydration. Depending on the cause of the problem, you may need medicines to stop the diarrhea or treat an infection.

Adults with diarrhea should drink water, fruit juices, sports drinks, sodas without caffeine, and salty broths. As your symptoms improve, you can eat soft, bland food.

Children with diarrhea should be given oral rehydration solutions to replace lost fluids and electrolytes.

Can diarrhea be prevented?

Two types of diarrhea can be prevented - rotavirus diarrhea and traveler's diarrhea. There are vaccines for rotavirus. They are given to babies in two or three doses.

You can help prevent traveler's diarrhea by being careful about what you eat and drink when you are in developing countries:

  • Use only bottled or purified water for drinking, making ice cubes, and brushing your teeth
  • If you do use tap water, boil it or use iodine tablets
  • Make sure that the cooked food you eat is fully cooked and served hot
  • Avoid unwashed or unpeeled raw fruits and vegetables

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

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Demographic Information - Diarrhea

Following is the demographic information reported by website visitors for Diarrhea. Information below may include patient demographics as well as data for website visitors who might be researching on behalf of patients e.g. parents for small children. The data below may or may not be reflective of the complete patient population demographics for this medicine/health topic.
User gender
30 out of 36 users are male.
Patients
Female6
Male30
Other0
Survey Participants: 36
User age
The most common user is 21-30 years old.
Patients
< 2110
21-3015
30-408
40-503
50+7
Survey Participants: 43
User reported disease
Users most commonly suffer from Back pain.
Patients
Back pain3
Depression2
Hepatitis B2
Angina2
Insomnia1
High cholesterol1
Other2
Survey Participants: 13
User exercise frequency
Users most commonly exercise once a week.
Patients
Once a week15
Twice a week8
Five times a week4
Everyday4
Survey Participants: 31
User smoking habit
31 out of 41 users do not smoke.
Patients
Smoke10
Do not smoke31
Survey Participants: 41
User alcohol consumption frequency
Users most commonly reported never consuming alcohol
Patients
Never26
One drink a day0
Two drinks a day0
More than two drinks a day1
Once a week4
Twice a week2
Once a month2
Survey Participants: 35
User body weight
9 out of 34 users report being overweight.
Patients
Overweight9
Not overweight25
Survey Participants: 34
User well-being
13 out of 38 users report having significant pain in the last 3 months.
Patients
Significant pain in the last 3 months13
No significant pain in the last 3 months25
Survey Participants: 38
User profession
The most common user profession is Student.
Patients
Student7
Retired3
Engineer, IT or Software3
House Maker3
Family business2
Government service2
Other10
Survey Participants: 26

References - Diarrhea

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 11/19/2017.
This page provides information for Diarrhea in English.