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What is Diarrhea? What's the Difference Between Mild, Moderate or Severe Diarrhea Cases?

You can greatly lower the chances of getting Moderate or Severe Diarrhea starting today by simply washing your hands as often as possible. That's especially important after touching objects in public places such as doors, tables, chairs, store and restaurant counter-tops, pens and menus, bathroom facilities and not shaking hands (if you do shake hands, at least wash the hands as quickly as you can (or at a minimum wipe the hand vigorously on your clothing). - Diarrhea is loose, watery stools. A person with diarrhea typically passes stools greater than 3-times a day. People with diarrhea may pass more than a quart of stool a day, much of it being liquid-like. Mild or moderate diarrhea is a common problem usually lasting 1 to 2-days and goes away on its own without special treatment. However, serious or severe diarrhea, ongoing for 3 days or more may be a sign of a serious problem and also has an elevated risk of Dehydration. Severe diarrhea sometimes indicates a chronic disease or medical condition.

Diarrhea can cause dehydration, which means the body lacks sufficient fluids to function properly. Dehydration is particularly dangerous in both young children and in older people (which is an elderly health issue a Geriatrician worries about), and must be treated promptly to avoid potential closely related serious health issues and concerns.

People of all ages can get diarrhea and the average adult has a bout of serious-diarrhea about 4 or more times a year. In the USA, each child will have from 8 to 16-cases of diarrhea (some episodes may be severe-diarrhea) by the age of 5. We strongly suggest you wash your hands frequently to avoid getting diarrhea

What causes Chronic Diarrhea and Severe Diarrhea?

Severe cases of diarrhea are typically related to a bacterial, viral, or parasite infection. Chronic diarrhea is often related to other health and medical conditions or quite possibly attributable to fairly common functional disorders such as an irritable bowel for example, or a medical condition known as inflammatory bowel syndrome and disease.

A few of the more common causes of diarrhea include the following:

Some people develop severe diarrhea after stomach or stomach pacemaker surgery, or removal of the gallbladder. The reason may be a change in how quickly food moves thru the digestive system after stomach surgery, or an increase in bile in the colon after gallbladder surgery.

People who visit foreign countries are at high-risk for traveler’s severe diarrhea, which is caused by eating food or drinking water contaminated with bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Traveler’s diarrhea can be a problem for people visiting developing countries. Luckily visitors to the United States, Canada, most European countries, Japan, New Zealand and Australia do not face much risk of getting traveler’s diarrhea.

In many cases, the cause of diarrhea cannot be found. As long as diarrhea goes away on its own, a time-consuming search for diarrhea causes is likely not necessary.

What are the Symptoms of Diarrhea?

Diarrhea may be accompanied by cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, or urgent needs to use the bathroom, ASAP. Depending on the cause, a person may have a fever or bloody stools.

Severe or Chronic Diarrhea in Children is a Troubling Kids Health Issue

Children can have acute and chronic forms of serious diarrhea. Causes of diarrhea in young children It may be advisable for kids to see a doctor in cases of severe diarrhea include bacteria, parasites, virus or viral infections, medications, functional bowel disorders and forms of food sensitivities.

Infection with the rotavirus is the most common cause of acute or serious diarrhea in kids. Rotavirus diarrhea usually resolves in 3 to 9-days. Very young children who are 6 to 32-weeks old can be vaccinated against the virus with a vaccine called Rotateq.

If your child has diarrhea, do not hesitate to call the doctor for medical advice. Diarrhea is especially dangerous in newborn babies and infants, leading to rapid dehydration. A child can die from serious dehydration within a few days. The main treatment for diarrhea in children is re-hydration to replace lost body fluid quickly.

Take your child to the doctor if there is no obvious signs of improvement after 24-hours or so, or if any of the following conditions symptoms appear:

Medications to treat diarrhea in adults can be dangerous for children and should only be given with a doctor’s guidance.

Dehydration from Diarrhea

drink lots of water to prevent dehydration from diarrheaModerate or severe cases of diarrhea may cause dehydration, which means the body has lost too much fluid and electrolytes and can’t function properly. Dehydration is particularly dangerous in children and in older folks and must be treated promptly to avoid serious health problems.

Signs of Dehydration include

Signs of dehydration in children include

If you suspect that you or your child is dehydrated, call the doctor immediately. Severe dehydration may require hospitalization and IV fluid or IV vitamin therapy.

Dehydration Can Be Prevented

The fluid and electrolytes lost during diarrhea episodes need to be replaced ASAP because the body cannot function without them. Electrolytes are the salts and minerals that affect the amount of water in your body, muscle activity, and other important functions.

Although water is extremely important in preventing dehydration, it does not contain electrolytes. Broth and soups which have sodium, fruit juices, soft fruits, or vegetables that contain potassium, help restore electrolyte levels. Over-the-counter rehydration solutions such as Pedialyte, Ceralyte, and Infalyte are also good electrolyte sources and are especially recommended for children's consumption.

How is the cause of Diarrhea Diagnosed?

Diagnostic tests to find the cause of diarrhea may include the following:

How is Diarrhea Treated?

In most cases of diarrhea, replacing lost fluid to prevent dehydration is the only treatment necessary. Medicines that stop diarrhea may be helpful, but they are not recommended for people whose diarrhea is caused by a bacterial infection or parasite.

If you stop the diarrhea before having purged the bacteria or parasite, you will trap the organism in the intestines and prolong the problem. Instead, most doctors usually prescribe antibiotics as an initial treatment procedure. Go-here for disease/conditions information to help decide when to visit the doctor Viral infections are either treated with medication or left to run their course, depending on the severity and type of virus.

Tips About Food and Food Sensitivity

Your doctor may ask you about the diet and foods the diarrhea patient has been eating. Until diarrhea subsides, try to avoid caffeine, milk products, dairy and ice cream, greasy foods, high fiber food, or very sweet treats. These foods tend to aggravate or cause diarrhea symptoms and contribute to its longevity.

As your digestive health improves, you can add soft, bland foods to your diet, including bananas, plain rice, boiled potatoes, toast, crackers, cooked carrots, tofu and other healthy light foods which are also non-spicy and plain, with low-fat. For children, the pediatrician may also suggest a bland or simple food diet. Once the diarrhea has stopped, the pediatrician will encourage kids to return to a normal but healthy diet, assuming the food will be well tolerated.

Preventing Traveler’s Diarrhea

Traveler’s diarrhea happens when you consume food or water contaminated with bacteria, viruses or parasites. You can take these precautions to prevent traveler’s diarrhea when you travel outside the United States and Canada:

You can safely drink bottled water—if you are the one to break the seal—along with carbonated soft drinks, and hot drinks such as coffee or tea.

Depending on where you are going and how long you will stay, your doctor may recommend you take antibiotics before leaving on your overseas trip to help protect you from possible infection.

Hope through Research

The Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases supports basic and clinical research into severe severe diarrhea and other gastrointestinal conditions. Among other areas, researchers are studying how the absorption and secretion in the digestive tract affects content and consistency of stool, the relationship between severe-diarrhea and Helicobactor pylori, motility in chronic diarrhea, and chemical compounds may be useful in treating cases of Severe Diarrhea.

Points to Remember about Diarrhea

Home Health care to Treat Diarrhea

If you have a chronic form of diarrhea, such as is caused by irritable bowel syndrome, try adding bulk to your diet to thicken your stool and regulate bowel movements. Such foods include fiber from whole-wheat grains and bran. Psyllium-containing products such as Metamucil or similar products can also add bulk to stools.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Diarrhea is not usually harmful, but it can become dangerous or signal a more serious problem. You should consider seeing your doctor if you experience any of the following:

What to Expect at Your Doctors' Office Visit

Your doctor will take a complete medical history and examination, paying attention to your abdomen.

Questions the health professional may ask include these issues:

Your doctor may ask you to obtain one or more stool samples in containers to test for signs of inflammation and infection and to identify those which may be causing infection.

If there are signs of dehydration in addition to the diarrhea, your doctor may order:

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