Diarrhea: symptoms and causes
Diarrhea is a defecation disorder that causes frequent evacuations of liquid or semi-liquid stools. Discover the symptoms and causes of diarrhea’s.
1. What is Diarrhea?
2. Diarrhea Symptoms
3. Causes of diarrhea
4. Diarrhea and dysentery: differences
What is Diarrhea?
Diarrhea is a defecation disorder that results in the rapid and frequent emission of predominantly liquid stools . To be able to speak of diarrhea’s, the following two conditions must be met:
- at least 3 evacuations per day;
- alterations in the quantity or quality of evacuations with poorly formed stools (liquid or semi-liquid)
In normal situations, the water content of the stool is around 100 ml/day. If the water content exceeds 200 ml/day and is associate with 3 or more evacuations per day, we can speak of diarrhea’s. In many cases, diarrhea is also associate with rectal muteness, that is, the frequent need to pass even in the absence of stool.
Like constipation, diarrhea is not a true pathology but a symptom of intestinal dysfunction, common to various diseases or different non-pathological states .
Many people underestimate diarrhea’s as a trivial disorder, related to stress, diet or climate change. However, diarrhea is often a defense reaction of our body which aims to eliminate pathogenic microorganisms or toxins. It is therefore not advisable to use antimalarial drugs before discovering the causes of the disorder.
Depending on the duration and frequency of the disorder, it is possible to distinguish between acute diarrhea, chronic diarrhea’s and recurrent diarrhea’s .
Acute diarrhea: it lasts less than 2 weeks and often heals spontaneously without specific treatment. Acute diarrhea’s is very common in the general population and in many cases is of viral origin. However, in case of dehydration, fever and tachycardia, it is necessary to consult a doctor as soon as possible.
Chronic diarrhea: Persistent diarrhea’s lasting more than 2-3 weeks may indicate a more serious problem and lead to severe dehydration. The body also experiences electrolyte alterations that can cause low blood pressure, metabolic acidosis, tachycardia, and torpor. Chronic diarrhea’s can become especially dangerous in children, the elderly, and debilitated people. In cases of severe dehydration, prolonged diarrhea’s may require hospitalization.
Recurrent diarrhea: cyclic disorder and frequent diarrheal episodes. In case of periodic diarrhea’s, it is advisable to consult a doctor.
Depending on its severity and cause, diarrhea may be associate not only with frequent passing of loose stools, but also with the following symptoms:
- abdominal swelling
- abdominal pain
- defecation urgency
- traces of blood and/or mucus in the stool
In the event of symptoms such as fever, blood in the stool or severe abdominal pain, it is important to consult a doctor as soon as possible.
Causes of diarrhea’s
The causes of diarrhea are many and varied. The most common causes of diarrhea’s are:
Infections: Bacterial and viral infections can lead to diarrhea. In summer, diarrhea’s caused by bacterial infections is more common, while in winter, viral forms are more common. Water and food contaminated with bacteria like salmonella and cyanobacteria can cause diarrhea’s. While diarrhea’s caused by viral infections can be cause by different viruses including rota virus , Nor walk virus and megalomaniacs .
Parasites: some parasites can enter the body through ingestion of water and food and cause diarrhea’s. Among these parasites are amendment holistically and guardian lambkin .
Psychological causes: stress, anxiety and great tension can trigger episodes of diarrhea which often stop spontaneously.
Bowel inflammations: certain inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Bowel disorders: irritable bowel syndrome.
Medications: ingestion of certain classes of medications such as laxatives, NSAIDs, antibiotics and chemotherapy drugs.
Foods: intolerance and allergies to certain foods, such as artificial sweeteners and lactose.
Anatomical lesions and surgical interventions: anatomical lesions, in particular following operations such as intestinal bypass, or surgical interventions such as the removal of the gallbladder.
Endocrine causes: endocrine disorders such as hyperthyroidism and diabetes.
Neoplastic: intestinal carcinomas and lymphomas.
Acute forms of diarrhea’s are often caused by bacterial infections, viral infections or parasites. On the other hand, chronic diarrhea’s is generally linked to functional disorders or inflammation of the intestine.