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Diarrhea is loose, watery stools. Having
diarrhea means passing loose stools three or more times a day. Acute diarrhea
is a common problem that usually lasts 1 or 2 days and goes away on its own.

Diarrhea lasting more than 2 days may be a
sign of a more serious problem. Chronic diarrhea—diarrhea that lasts at least 4
weeks—may be a symptom of a chronic disease. Chronic diarrhea symptoms may be
continual or they may come and go.
Diarrhea of any duration may cause
dehydration, which means the body lacks enough fluid and electrolytes—chemicals
in salts, including sodium, potassium, and chloride—to function properly. Loose
stools contain more fluid and electrolytes and weigh more than solid stools.
People of all ages can get diarrhea. In the
United States, adults average one bout of acute diarrhea each year, and young
children have an average of two episodes of acute diarrhea each year.

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  1. 1. http://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=262Fitango EducationHealth TopicsDiarrhea
  2. 2. 1OverviewDiarrhea is loose, watery stools. Havingdiarrhea means passing loose stools three or moretimes a day. Acute diarrheais a common problem that usually lasts 1 or 2 daysand goes away on its own.
  3. 3. 2OverviewDiarrhea lasting more than 2 days may be asign of a more serious problem. Chronic diarrhea—diarrhea that lasts at least 4weeks—may be a symptom of a chronic disease.Chronic diarrhea symptoms may becontinual or they may come and go.
  4. 4. 3OverviewDiarrhea of any duration may causedehydration, which means the body lacks enoughfluid and electrolytes—chemicalsin salts, including sodium, potassium, andchloride—to function properly. Loosestools contain more fluid and electrolytes andweigh more than solid stools.
  5. 5. 4OverviewPeople of all ages can get diarrhea. In theUnited States, adults average one bout of acutediarrhea each year, and youngchildren have an average of two episodes of acutediarrhea each year.
  6. 6. 5SymptomsDiarrhea may be accompanied by cramping,abdominal pain, nausea, an urgent need to use thebathroom, or loss of bowelcontrol. Some infections that cause diarrhea canalso cause a fever and chills
  7. 7. 6Symptomsor bloody stools.**Dehydration**Diarrhea can cause dehydration. Loss ofelectrolytes through dehydration affects theamount of water in the body,muscle activity, and other important functions.
  8. 8. 7SymptomsDehydration is particularly dangerous inchildren, older adults, and people with weakenedimmune systems. Dehydrationmust be treated promptly to avoid serious healthproblems, such as organdamage, shock, or coma—a sleeplike state inwhich a person is not conscious.
  9. 9. 8SymptomsSigns of dehydration in adults include:thirstlessfrequent urination than usualdark-coloredurine
  10. 10. 9Symptomsdry skinfatiguedizzinesslight-headednessSigns of dehydration in infants and youngchildren include:
  11. 11. 10Symptomsdry mouthand tongueno tearswhen cryingno wetdiapers for 3 hours or more
  12. 12. 11Symptomssunkeneyes, cheeks, or soft spot in the skullhigh feverlistlessnessor irritability
  13. 13. 12SymptomsAlso, when people are dehydrated, their skindoes not flatten back to normal right away afterbeing gently pinched andreleased.Anyone with signs of dehydration should see a
  14. 14. 13Symptomshealth care provider immediately. Severedehydration may requirehospitalization.Although drinking plenty of water isimportant in preventing dehydration, water doesnot contain electrolytes.
  15. 15. 14SymptomsAdults can prevent dehydration by also drinkingliquids that containelectrolytes, such as fruit juices, sports drinks,caffeine-free soft drinks,and broths. Children with diarrhea should be givenoral rehydration solutions such
  16. 16. 15Symptomsas Pedialyte, Naturalyte, Infalyte, and CeraLyte toprevent dehydration.
  17. 17. 16DiagnosisIf acute diarrhea lasts 2 days or less,diagnostic tests are usually not necessary. Ifdiarrhea lasts longer or isaccompanied by symptoms such as fever or bloodystools, a doctor may perform
  18. 18. 17Diagnosistests to determine the cause.Diagnostic tests to find the cause ofdiarrhea may include the following:-- Medicalhistory and physical examination.
  19. 19. 18DiagnosisThe doctor will ask about eating habits andmedication use and will perform aphysical examination to look for signs of illness.-- Stoolculture. A sample of stool is
  20. 20. 19Diagnosisanalyzed in a laboratory to check for bacteria,parasites, or other signs ofdisease and infection.-- Bloodtests. Blood tests can behelpful in ruling out certain diseases.
  21. 21. 20Diagnosis-- Fastingtests. To find out if a foodintolerance or allergy is causing the diarrhea, thedoctor may ask a person toavoid foods with lactose, carbohydrates, wheat, orother ingredients to see
  22. 22. 21Diagnosiswhether the diarrhea responds to a change in diet.-- Sigmoidoscopyor colonoscopy. These tests maybe used to look for signs of intestinal diseases thatcause chronic diarrhea.
  23. 23. 22DiagnosisFor sigmoidoscopy, the doctor uses a thin, flexible,lighted tube with a lenson the end to look at the inside of the rectum andlower part of the colon.Colonoscopy is similar to sigmoidoscopy, but itallows the doctor to view theentire colon.
  24. 24. 23TreatmentIn most cases of diarrhea, the only treatmentnecessary is replacing lost fluids and electrolytes toprevent dehydration.Over-the-counter medicines such as loperamide
  25. 25. 24Treatment(Imodium) and bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol and Kaopectate) may help stopdiarrhea in adults. However, people with bloodydiarrhea—a sign of bacterial orparasitic infection—should not use thesemedicines. If diarrhea is caused by
  26. 26. 25Treatmentbacteria or parasites, over-the-counter medicinesmay prolong the problem, sodoctors usually prescribe antibiotics instead.Medications to treat diarrhea in adults canbe dangerous for infants and children and shouldonly be given with a doctor’s
  27. 27. 26Treatmentguidance.Eating,Diet, and NutritionUntil diarrhea subsides, avoiding caffeineand foods that are greasy, high in fiber, or sweetmay lessen symptoms. These
  28. 28. 27Treatmentfoods can aggravate diarrhea. Some people alsohave problems digesting lactoseduring or after a bout of diarrhea. Yogurt, whichhas less lactose than milk,is often better tolerated. Yogurt with active, livebacterial cultures may even
  29. 29. 28Treatmenthelp people recover from diarrhea more quickly.As symptoms improve, soft, bland foods can beadded to the diet, including bananas, plain rice,boiled potatoes, toast,crackers, cooked carrots, and baked chickenwithout the skin or fat. For
  30. 30. 29Treatmentchildren, the health care provider may alsorecommend a bland diet. Once thediarrhea stops, the health care provider will likelyencourage children toreturn to a normal and healthy diet if it can betolerated. Infants with
  31. 31. 30Treatmentdiarrhea should be given breast milk or full-strength formula as usual, alongwith oral rehydration solutions. Some childrenrecovering from viral diarrheashave problems digesting lactose for up to a monthor more.
  32. 32. 31CausesAcute diarrhea is usually caused by abacterial, viral, or parasitic infection. Chronicdiarrhea is usually relatedto a functional disorder such as irritable bowelsyndrome or an intestinal
  33. 33. 32Causesdisease such as Crohn’s Disease.The most common causes of diarrhea includethe following:-- Bacterialinfections. Several types of
  34. 34. 33Causesbacteria consumed through contaminated food orwater can cause diarrhea. Commonculprits include Campylobacter, Salmonella,Shigella, and Escherichiacoli (E. coli).-- Viral
  35. 35. 34Causesinfections. Many viruses causediarrhea, including rotavirus, norovirus,cytomegalovirus, herpes simplexvirus, and viral hepatitis. Infection with therotavirus is the most commoncause of acute diarrhea in children. Rotavirusdiarrhea usually resolves in 3
  36. 36. 35Causesto 7 days but can cause problems digesting lactosefor up to a month or longer.-- Parasites. Parasites can enter the body throughfood or waterand settle in the digestive system. Parasites thatcause diarrhea include Giardia
  37. 37. 36Causeslamblia, Entamoeba histolytica, andCryptosporidium.-- Functionalbowel disorders. Diarrhea can bea symptom of irritable bowel syndrome.-- Intestinal
  38. 38. 37Causesdiseases. Inflammatory boweldisease, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, andceliac disease often lead todiarrhea.-- Foodintolerances and sensitivities.
  39. 39. 38CausesSome people have difficulty digesting certainingredients, such as lactose, thesugar found in milk and milk products. Somepeople may have diarrhea if theyeat certain types of sugar substitutes in excessivequantities.-- Reaction
  40. 40. 39Causesto medicines. Antibiotics,cancer drugs, and antacids containing magnesiumcan all cause diarrhea.Some people develop diarrhea after stomachsurgery, which may cause food to move throughthe digestive system more
  41. 41. 40Causesquickly.People who visit certain foreign countriesare at risk for traveler’s diarrhea, which is causedby eating food or drinkingwater contaminated with bacteria, viruses, orparasites. Traveler’s diarrhea
  42. 42. 41Causescan be a problem for people traveling todeveloping countries in Africa, Asia,Latin America, and the Caribbean. Visitors toCanada, most European countries,Japan, Australia, and New Zealand do not facemuch risk for traveler’sdiarrhea.
  43. 43. 42CausesIn many cases, the cause of diarrhea cannot befound. As long as diarrhea goes away on its ownwithin 1 to 2 days, finding thecause is not usually necessary.
  44. 44. 43PreventionTwo types of diarrhea can beprevented—rotavirus diarrhea and traveler’sdiarrhea.RotavirusDiarrhea
  45. 45. 44PreventionTwo oral vaccines have been approved by theU.S. Food and Drug Administration to protectchildren from rotavirusinfections: rotavirus vaccine, live, oral, pentavalent(RotaTeq); and rotavirusvaccine, live, oral (Rotarix). RotaTeq is given toinfants in three doses at 2,
  46. 46. 45Prevention4, and 6 months of age. Rotarix is given in twodoses. The first dose is givenwhen infants are 6 weeks old, and the second isgiven at least 4 weeks laterbut before infants are 24 weeks old.Parents of infants should discuss rotavirus
  47. 47. 46Preventionvaccination with a health care provider. For moreinformation, parents canvisit the Centers for Disease Control andPrevention rotavirus vaccinationwebpage at www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/rotavirus.Traveler’s
  48. 48. 47PreventionDiarrheaTo prevent traveler’s diarrhea, peopletraveling from the United States to developingcountries should avoid:drinkingtap water, using tap water to brush their teeth, orusing ice made from
  49. 49. 48Preventiontap waterdrinkingunpasteurized milk or milk productseating rawfruits and vegetables, including lettuce and fruitsalads, unless they
  50. 50. 49Preventionpeel the fruits or vegetables themselveseating rawor rare meat and fisheating meator shellfish that is not hot when served
  51. 51. 50Preventioneating foodfrom street vendorsTravelers can drink bottled water, softdrinks, and hot drinks such as coffee or tea.People concerned about traveler’s diarrhea
  52. 52. 51Preventionshould talk with a health care provider beforetraveling. The health careprovider may recommend that travelers bringmedicine with them in case theydevelop diarrhea during their trip. Health careproviders may advise some
  53. 53. 52Preventionpeople—especially people with weakened immunesystems—to take antibioticsbefore and during a trip to help prevent traveler’sdiarrhea. Early treatmentwith antibiotics can shorten a bout of traveler’sdiarrhea.