Diarrhea- loose and watery stools and more frequent bowel movements are very common problems. It generally lasts for a few days but may become a matter of concern if it lasts beyond a few days. Chronic diarrhea indicates that there may be other problems such as ibs (irritable bowel syndrome), celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease among others.

Symptoms associated with diarrhea.

    blood in stool
    mucus in stool
    abdominal cramps
    frequent bowel movements

When should you consult a doctor?

Adults should consult their physician if:

  • Loose, watery stools persist beyond two days.
  • You have black or bloody stools.
  • You have severe pain in the abdomen.
  • You are suffering from dehydration.

Children, particularly young ones may quickly become dehydrated because of diarrhea. If the child has a fever above 102 f and seems dehydrated, consult your doctor immediately, without wasting any time.

What are the common causes of diarrhea?

  • Lactose intolerance – lactose is found in milk and dairy products. People who have difficulty digesting lactose may suffer from diarrhea after consuming dairy products.
  • Artificial sweeteners – artificial sweeteners are non-absorbable sugars found in sugar-free products and can cause diarrhea in people.
  • A side-effect of medication – many medications cause diarrhea. Antibiotics remove infection by killing the bad bacteria in the body. Sometimes they kill the good bacteria as well, leading to an imbalance of bacteria in our intestine. This causes diarrhea. 
  • Bacteria and viruses – exposure to harmful pathogens such as bacteria and viruses through contaminated food and water is a leading cause of diarrhea.
  • Digestive disorders – diarrhea may also be caused if a person is suffering from diseases such as crohn’s disease, celiac disease, ulcerative colitis, small intestine bacterial growth, etc.

How can diarrhea be prevented?

Diarrhea can be prevented by following some simple steps like regular handwashing. Eat hygienic food and drink bottled water. Avoid raw and undercooked meat and dairy products.