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What is diarrhea?

Diarrhea is the symptom of passing loose and watery stools more than three times a day. Diarrhea itself led to the urgent need to use the bathroom, loss of control of bowel movements, cramping, nausea, and pain in the abdomen. Patients who suffer from infections also suffer from bloody stools, light-headedness, dizziness, vomiting, fever, and chills.

Many diarrhea comes with two major side effects: dehydration – the loss of water in your body, reflect by thirst, dry mouth, decreased skin turgor, urinating less, and feeling tired; and malabsorption –  difficulties of absorption of nutrients and water from food, reflected by a change in appetite, bloating gas, weight loss, and loose, greasy and foul-smelling bowel movements. 

What causes diarrhea?

There are three common types of diarrhea: acute, travelers, and chronic, and each of them is caused by different factors. In the case of acute diarrhea, the most common cause is an infection, which can be from viruses like norovirus and rotavirus that also cause Viral gastroenteritis or stomach flu, from bacteria such as E.Coli, Salmonella, Shigella, and Campylobacter, or from parasites such as Cryptosporidium enteritis, Entamoeba histolytica, and Giardia lamblia. Diarrhea is also one of the possible side effects of medicines including antibiotics, antacids, and cancer treatment medicines.

Travelers’ diarrhea is mostly associated with acute diarrhea, as it is also caused by drinking or eating food and drinks contaminated with unfamiliar viruses, bacteria, or parasites. Traveler’s diarrhea can be a problem to travelers as it lasts longer than usual, making your trip very unpleasant. 

Causes of chronic diarrhea can vary, with the most common ones being food allergies and intolerances that indigestion of food such as lactose, fructose, and sugar alcohols can prolong diarrhea. Abdominal surgery and digestive tract problems including Celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, Ulcerative colitis, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, irritable bowel syndrome, and other functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorders can also lead to chronic diarrhea. Long-term use of antibiotics can cause chronic diarrhea as it changes normal gut flora and increases the chance of infection with bacteria.

Is diarrhea dangerous?

Diarrhea is mostly making you feel very unpleasant and uncomfortable. Meanwhile, diarrhea can become dangerous or be a signal to more serious health problems. See your doctors right away if you suffer from

  • Diarrhea that lasts more than 2 days
  • Six or more loose stools within 24 hours
  • Stools that are black and tarry, or contain blood or pus
  • Signs of massive dehydration
  • Frequent vomiting
  • severe pain in abdomen or rectum
  • high fever with 39c or higher

Is diarrhea treatable?

Diarrhea can be easily prevented by washing hands regularly, properly storing, cooking, cleaning, and handling foods, and receiving the rotavirus vaccine to prevent the risk of infections in your digestive tract. For prevention of Travellers’ diarrhea, avoid drinking tap water, drinking a liquid that is not pasteurized, eating raw or undercooked foods, and eating foods from unhygienic vendors. Taking antibiotics before a trip can prevent, or shorten the case of diarrhea.

If you are suffering from diarrhea, doctors typically do not diagnose the cause of acute diarrhea, which usually can be ended in 3-4 days. Meanwhile, for chronic or serious cases of diarrhea, doctors will ask you about symptoms, your history of medical conditions, medications being taken, food allergies, and your recent eating history.  Some may require a stool test to identify infections in your gastrointestinal tract or an endoscopy to help locate digestive tract problems. 

For acute diarrhea, over-the-counter medicine like loperamide and Bismuth subsalicylate is very effective in the reduction of symptoms and help speed the recovery time. Meanwhile, chronic diarrhea needs specific medicines such as antibiotics, antiviral, or antiparasitic drugs to treat infection, and certain medications to treat gastrointestinal problems. Some doctors may recommend using probiotics – bacteria similar to microorganisms normally have in the intestine, to help stabilize your digestive tract.

To prevent dehydration, do not drink plain water but use electrolytes instead, which can be oral rehydration solutions, or substitutes like broths, caffeine-free soft drinks, or sports drinks. Also, avoid alcoholic beverages, caffeine, diet drinks, dairy products, and greasy or spicy foods during diarrhea, as most of them are worsening your condition.

Diarrhea treatment at Phyathai 1 International

Gastrointestinal and Liver Center of Phyathai 1 International is ready for the treatment of diarrhea for both acute diarrhea and chronic diarrhea resulting from food allergies or other digestive tract problems by our experienced specialists in gastrointestinal disease. The center also provides one-stop-services for surgical and non-surgical treatment of complicated problems in the digestive tract including peptic ulcer, gastroesophageal reflux, liver diseases, hepatitis, pancreatitis, colon diseases, colorectal polyp, colon cancer, hemorrhoids, and diverticulosis.

If you suffer from diarrhea for many days or have signs of serious diarrhea, we recommend consulting with our specialist at the Gastrointestinal and Liver Center of Phyathai 1 International, which opens daily from 8 am to 8 pm. To ensure the fastest procedure time, We recommend taking a reservation by phone at number (+66)2-201-4600 ext.2378 or by E-mail at [email protected]

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