8 Causes of Diarrhea

Most people have experienced diarrhea at some point in their lives. While it is usually not a serious medical condition, it can be accompanied by discomfort and pain. Loose, liquid-like bowel movements are not attributed to any one single cause. The reason for diarrhea can be as simple as an upset stomach, or may by a symptom for a more complex health problem. In most cases, loose stools will stop after a couple of days. When diarrhea persists, it is important to contact a doctor. Treatment for an underlying condition may be necessary.

There are a few things you can do to treat loose bowel movements at home. First, it is important to drink a sufficient amount of water to replace fluids that are lost. It is advisable to drink one quart per hour for one to three hours. You should also change your diet to consume mild foods until stools become thicker. Most physicians will also recommend avoiding milk, or foods containing dairy because they can further upset the stomach.

If necessary, it is safe to take non-prescription anti-diarrheal medicine to relieve gas and quicken healing. Over-the-counter medicines include ingredients such as Loperamide or Bismuth Subsalicylate. Loperamide helps your intestines absorb more fluid to prevent watery stools. Bismuth Subsalicylate balances fluid and relieves inflammation. Both should be used sparingly outside of a doctor’s recommendation.

The best treatment for loose stool is to learn what is causing the problem in the first place. By addressing the underlying causes, you can avoid the uncomfortable experience of diarrhea altogether. In general, there are eight major causes of diarrhea in the human body.

1. Stomach Viruses

Stomach flus are one of the most common causes of diarrhea. The medical term for this condition is called Viral Gastroenteritis. A stomach flu can be caused by drinking or eating a contaminated substance, or through contact with an infected person. Unlike a normal flu, Gastroenteritis solely affects the intestines and stomach.

There are numerous symptoms associated with Gastroenteritis. It may start with a headache or body pain. You may also notice the development of a slight fever. Soon, you’ll be afflicted by watery bowel movements. These symptoms may be accompanied by abdominal cramping and nausea. In more severe cases it is not uncommon to experience vomiting. However, blood in the stool is not normal and should be immediately discussed with a health care professional.

In most cases Gastroenteritis does not require a doctor visit. Yet, there are some populations that may need to seek medical help as a precaution. Seniors and small children should consult a doctor at the onset of Gastroenteritis. People who suffer from a weakened immune system should do the same. A normal, healthy person only needs to get medical advice if the fever exceeds 104 degrees, or the condition lasts for more than 10 days. As mentioned above, another worrisome symptom is blood in the stool. This symptom should also be communicated to your doctor regardless of your health status.