How to Look After Your Kid with Diarrhea

Diarrhea

If a child has more than two or three loose, watery bowel movements per day, it means they have diarrhea which can be worrisome. When it comes to diarrhea in children, it is important to take immediate action, which is only possible if you understand the symptoms and how diarrhea in children is treated.

Proper care and treatment as well as consulting a doctor when needed can prevent the condition from leading to further complications.

Watching Out for Symptoms

While many things can cause the condition in children, one of the most common causes is typically a viral infection like rotavirus. When a child has a viral infection, some other symptoms that children can experience in addition to the condition are fever, stomach cramps, headaches, and vomiting.

Monitor Bowel Movements

It is important to pay attention to how frequently your child passes a watery stool and how severe their diarrhea is, considering the treatment is dependent on these aspects. With proper care and treatment, both the frequency and severity should lessen.

Pay Attention to Dehydration Signs

While mild cases do not typically lead to dehydration, the condition increases the risk of dehydration as it results in the loss of bodily fluids at an inordinate amount. Some dehydration signs you should look for are dry mouth, dizziness, dark urine or a decrease in the frequency of urination, and a lack of tears while crying.

Find Out Whether A Medication Causes Diarrhea

Diarrhea is the side effect of some medications, and if your child is on a medication because of another condition, make sure that the medicine they are on is not the reason they get diarrhea. If you believe your child suffers from diarrhea due to a medication interaction, discuss your options with your child’s pediatrician. Also, do not give your children over-the-counter diarrhea medications without consulting your doctor.

Nurse More

A major concern when babies have diarrhea is dehydration. Hence, it is important to nurse a baby more so than usual to keep them hydrated and provide them with the energy and nutrients they require. Furthermore, if you use formula, you can also up the number of feedings to compensate for the loss of bodily fluids and nutrients.

Incorporate Semi-Solid Foods Into Your Child’s Diet

If your child has had solid foods before, start feeding them semi-solid foods again such as potatoes and bananas can help.

Oral Rehydration Solution

If you are worried about your child not taking in enough liquids, you can also discuss your oral rehydration solution options with your child’s doctor.

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Avoiding Diarrhea While Traveling

Diarrhea While Traveling

Experiencing diarrhea while traveling is very common, affecting upwards of 10 million people every day.  While the destination you are traveling is an integral part, over 50% of those from first world or developed countries who go on a trip to developing countries experience diarrhea due to exposure to local bacteria and pathogens they ingesting food and liquids.

Although having diarrhea while traveling is common and usually no cause for concern, it can still help to take some measures to prevent discomfort and pain on your vacation.

Stick to Bottle Water

Avoid unsterilized tap water in developing countries as most of them do not have the same regulations and treatments with regards to tap water. Bottled water is your best bet when abroad in a developing nation. However, if you have to consume tap water, you can sterilize it by boiling it for at least a few minutes.

Make Sure You’re The First To Unseal a Beverage

From soft drinks to bottled water, it is important to pay attention to the seal, and only consume beverages whose seal you break yourself. You should also make sure that the dairy products you eat are pasteurized.

Skip Street Food

While it can be quite an experience, street food that can potentially involve unhygienic handling practices and improper cooking is one of the leading causes of traveler’s diarrhea. You can still experience the same tastes at restaurants that adhere to strict guidelines and regulations for safety.

Avoid Mysterious Meat Cuts, Raw Food, and Spicy Food

Seafood, rare types of meat, and raw dishes can also host pathogens or bacteria that can turn your digestive system upside down. Always stick to dishes that are well-cooked. Spicy food can also be problematic for some as their digestive system is not used to digesting extremely hot food, and spicy food is known to trigger diarrhea in many individuals.

Pay Attention to Your Utensils

Even when at a restaurant, pay close attention to whether your utensils are all clean before digging into your meal. If you are having a beverage that comes bottled or in a can, you should also skip using a cup and have it out of the bottle or can.

Keep Your Hands Sanitized

Being in the habit of washing your hands often is good practice everywhere, but it is especially important when you are abroad to lower the risk of exposure to germs.

How to Manage Diarrhea During Your Travel

If you experience diarrhea during your travel, it is vital to keep hydrated by drinking lots of water to rehydrate and replenish electrolytes. You can also control your portion sizes to manage and relieve symptoms as well as take Pepto-Bismol both as a preventative measure and treatment without exceeding the recommended dosage.

If your traveler’s diarrhea does not improve in a few days and is accompanied by fever, bloody stools, fever, vomiting, and dizziness, it is important to consult a doctor as soon as possible.

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How Can Chronic Diarrhea Affect you?

Chronic Diarrhea

Diarrhea, characterized by loose watery bowel movements, happens to everyone occasionally, which is referred to as acute diarrhea. Acute diarrhea is typically caused by bacterial or viral infections. Conversely, people with chronic diarrhea have a few or more loose, watery bowel movements a day for more than what is considered regular, which can point to a digestive disorder.

Chronic diarrhea can be difficult to manage and have an overall impact on an individual’s everyday life, but there are treatment options preventative measures to prevent severe symptoms.

Dehydration

The colon is the portion of the large intestine that absorbs excess water from the partially broken down food as it travels through the intestinal tract. Conditions such as inflammatory bowel syndrome and irritable bowel syndrome can have a negative effect on the absorption process in the intestines, leading to diarrhea.

When diarrhea flushes out excess bodily fluids in an extended period, this can lead to dehydration, which can be life-threatening unless remedied. Dehydration exhibits itself with symptoms such as being thirsty, feeling fatigued, not urinating frequently, and dryness.

Electrolytes

When the intestines cannot absorb water, minerals, also known as electrolytes, get flushed out of the body with the feces, which are needed for the support of many bodily functions. Some electrolytes present in our body are ones that you are probably familiar with such as potassium, calcium, and sodium.

Deficiency of each type of mineral has a different set of symptoms, but the symptoms of sodium deficiency, for instance, are dizziness, drowsiness, and disorientation. Potassium deficiency, on the other hand, can also cause dizziness, fatigue, and disorientation. Drinking broth and fresh juices are also recommended to keep electrolytes balanced.

Malnutrition

An important job of the small intestine is also to absorb nutrients, which means that irregularities in the small intestine can potentially lead to malnutrition. A poor diet or malnutrition is directly linked to diarrhea as disorders that cause diarrhea inherently interfere with the absorption of nutrients.

In turn, suffering from malnutrition makes one prone to infections that can cause diarrhea. Some symptoms of malnutrition are weakness, lightheadedness, fatigue, dryness, and developmental issues.

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Treating Diarrhea

Treating Diarrhea

If you have a couple or more loose, watery bowel movements per day, it means you have diarrhea. A bout of diarrhea is a condition where the bowel movement takes place before the stool can reabsorb the water in the intestines. Treating diarrhea is possible, however.

Accompanied by diarrhea and loss of bodily fluids at a fast pace, diarrhea can result in dehydration. However, in most cases, diarrhea is not life-threatening and only lasts for a day or two. It may only be a cause for concern if it persists for longer than 2-3 days. Diarrhea is typically caused by a bacterial infection or the stomach flu, but it may also be a symptom of an underlying condition, stress, or drug interaction.

What are diarrhea symptoms?

In addition to loose, watery stools, diarrhea is typically accompanied by stomach cramps, a frequent need to have a bowel movement, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes weight loss. However, weight loss typically happens if diarrhea lasts longer than a few days at which point it is vital to consult a doctor.

When diarrhea lasts longer or happens frequently, it may point to a more serious condition or a modification that needs to be made. Symptoms that are not very common that you should contact a doctor about immediate include bloody stools, high fever, and significant weight loss.

What causes diarrhea?

Diarrhea may be caused by many things, including the stomach flu, which is the most common reason people get diarrhea. Diarrhea is how the body expels pathogens, bacteria, and harmful substances from the body. Hence, in most cases, diarrhea improves on its own within a couple of days.

However, other causes include ingesting food and water contaminated with diarrhea-inducing parasites or viruses like E. coli and Giardia Lamblia. Stress, traveling, certain medications such as antibiotics, inflammatory bowel diseases, and some cancers can also result in diarrhea.

Treating Diarrhea

if you have a case of run-of-the-mill diarrhea, it is nothing to be worried about as long as it does not persist for longer than a few days. Prolonged and frequent diarrhea may point to a more serious underlying cause, so it is important to consult a doctor if you experience diarrhea to the extent of having it impact your everyday life. In most cases of diarrhea without an underlying condition, the most integral part of treatment is keeping hydrated.

Avoiding artificial sweeteners, spicy foods, caffeine, and processed foods is also vital, especially if you experience diarrhea frequently and due to dietary habits. Limiting dairy may also relieve symptoms.

If you experience diarrhea longer than a few hours with stomach cramps and discomfort, you may also use over-the-counter antidiarrheals without exceeding the recommended dosage and prolonged use. Another over-the-counter option is Imodium which works by controlling muscle spasms in the intestines.

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Signs of Diarrhea

Signs of Diarrhea

Diarrhea is a condition characterized by loose watery stool, stomach cramps, and discomfort and is typically caused by a bacterial infection — also known as the stomach flu. Diarrhea can also be a symptom of a more severe condition such as inflammatory bowel disease like colitis or Crohn’s disease. So what are the signs of diarrhea?

While diarrhea can potentially be life-threatening as it can lead to dehydration without proper treatment, in most cases, it is temporary and manageable.

Diarrhea Symptoms

The most common signs of diarrhea are loose watery bowel movements, a frequent urge to have a bowel movement, stomach cramps. In more severe and persistent cases, these symptoms may be accompanied by fever, fatigue, thirst, and dehydration. If you experience diarrhea for longer than 2-3 days, it is vital to consult a doctor as soon as possible to pinpoint what the underlying cause is.

You should especially seek medical attention if you experience high fever, bloody stools, and disorientation along with prolonged diarrhea.

What Causes Diarrhea?

Diarrhea can be caused by many things, but the most common cause is a bacterial infection in the stomach or what is more commonly known as the stomach flu. In most cases, however, the stomach flu only lasts for a few days and improves on its own.

Diarrhea can also be brought on by inflammatory bowel diseases, colitis or Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and eating foods that cause diarrhea. Typically, a bout of diarrhea up to 2 days is common and nothing to worried about, but if it lasts longer than 3 days, comes and goes too frequently, it is essential to contact a doctor.

Treating Diarrhea

In a case where diarrhea is not caused by an underlying condition and is simply a bacterial infection, the symptoms can be managed with over-the-counter medications, dietary adjustments, and drinking lots of water to replenish electrolytes. Using antidiarrheals short-term for fast-relief is also an option without exceeding the recommended daily dosage.

However, when diarrhea lasts for longer than a few days, it can point to a more serious condition that needs to be addressed by a medical professional. Chronic diarrhea is also manageable but demands a long-term treatment plan with lifestyle changes and the right medications if your symptoms have a big impact on your everyday life.

Pinpointing trigger foods, which can be dairy, chocolate, caffeine, gluten, cruciferous vegetables, and increasing your intake of probiotics (healthy gut bacteria found in yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, etc.) can also improve your symptoms and prevent diarrhea.

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Diarrhea Explained

Diarrhea

Diarrhea is a condition characterized by having frequent loose and watery bowel movements. It is normal and experienced by everyone of all ages now and then; it typically lasts a few days at the most, but it can be a sign of a more serious problem if it persists longer than a week.  The condition is usually not life-threatening unless it leads to dehydration and can be treated with over-the-counter medications.  

Diarrhea Symptoms and Causes

Diarrhea is characterized by loose, watery stools, usually more than a couple of times within a day. However, in addition to the hallmark symptom, symptoms such as bloating, nausea, stomach cramps, and a strong urge to have a bowel movement frequently are common.

In more severe cases, some people may experience bloody stools, fever,  and weight loss. If you experience any of these serious symptoms, consult a doctor as soon as possible.

Diarrhea is usually virus-related unless there is an underlying cause. The stomach flu is the most common cause, but there is a multitude of things that can cause diarrhea, including:

  • Conditions such as some cancers, allergies, bacterial infections, diabetes, inflammatory bowel diseases (colitis and Crohn’s), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), hyperthyroidism
  • Gastrointestinal surgery, radiation therapy, and certain medications
  • Excess alcohol use, prolonged use of laxatives, consuming trigger foods, e.g. dairy.

Standard Diarrhea Treatment

When there isn’t an underlying condition that causes diarrhea that needs to be treated, it can pass on its own or can be relieved with over-the-counter medications such as Imodium and Pepto-Bismol.

Drinking plenty of liquids is very important when you have an episode as the condition results in dehydration as well. Consulting your doctor about your over-the-counter medications and other treatment options for continual treatment is always recommended before taking medications long-term.

If you experience severe diarrhea for longer than a couple of days, very dark, bloody stools, a high fever, nausea, or stomach pain, contact your doctor as soon as possible.

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What Causes Diarrhea

Diarrhea

Diarrhea is characterized by loose, watery stools and is a relatively common condition that most individuals experience now and again in their lives. Often accompanied by discomfort and pain, many factors can result in diarrhea, from medication side effects to consuming trigger foods.

Though it is not a major health concern in developed and first world countries, it can be a cause of death in third world countries, especially among infants and children due to malnutrition and dehydration. Pinpointing the cause can both treat the condition and prevent complications from arising.

While there are prescription-strength medications available, most people can also find relief with over-the-counter medications. However, it is important to avoid triggers and make lifestyle changes such as dietary modifications to prevent chronic diarrhea.

Diarrhea Causes

Though many things can cause diarrhea, one common cause is the stomach virus or more commonly known as the stomach flu. The stomach flu is temporary and typically only persists for a few days.

Some other common causes include bacterial infections, other conditions such as IBD (colitis or Crohn’s), and consuming trigger foods. In most cases, one or two days of symptoms are normal and not a cause for concern that passes on its own without treatment. However, if you experience the condition repeatedly, it may be chronic, so consulting a doctor for a long-term treatment is essential.

Treating Diarrhea

Treatment is always case-specific as it depends on the cause. For instance, if there is an underlying condition that results in diarrhea as well as other symptoms, said condition must be addressed with proper treatment.

When it is not caused by a serious underlying disease, it can usually be relieved with over-the-counter antidiarrheals such as Imodium and Pepto-Bismol.

When you have diarrhea, it is also vital to drink plenty of liquids, water specifically, as the condition can lead to dehydration. If you notice that you experience diarrhea only after consuming certain foods, it is important to eliminate those trigger foods, but it is also a sound idea to limit your intake of high-fat and dairy products if you are prone to diarrhea.

If making dietary changes and over-the-counter treatment options do not prove to be effective, discussing your other treatment options with your doctor is essential as there are more potent medications that can be prescribed to be used short-term to relieve diarrhea and symptoms associated with it.

In most cases, the condition is typically nothing to worry about and caused by the consumption of certain foods, medications, or stress. It is manageable short-term as long as it is not chronic and caused by a more serious, underlying disease that needs to be addressed separately.

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The Remedies for Diarrhea

Remedies for Diarrhea

Diarrhea is a digestive condition that causes loose, watery stools. While in most cases it is not life-threatening, chronic diarrhea can be a sign of a more serious underlying condition. Diarrhea can be typically caused by other conditions, dietary choices, and some medications.  However, there are some remedies for diarrhea available.

While diarrhea is usually treatable and manageable with over-the-counter medications and lifestyle modifications, it is important to consult a doctor if it persists. Before getting alarmed, however, here are some natural ways that can relieve diarrhea.

OTC Medications

In the medicine department, there are many over-the-counter treatment options available to relieve diarrhea such as antidiarrheals. While their long-term use should be avoided, antidiarrheals are typically effective in treating diarrhea short-term.

However, if you experience diarrhea coupled with bloody stools and fever, it is important to discuss your symptoms with a physician instead immediately.

Probiotics

Probiotics are what are known as healthy gut bacteria that our body naturally produces. These healthy live microorganisms that live in the gut are integral to the proper functioning of the digestive tract due to their ability to fight off pathogens and harmful bacteria that can result in diarrhea.

Some foods that are high in probiotics are yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, dark chocolate, sourdough bread, and pickles.

Water

Although drinking lots of water is not in itself a diarrhea remedy, sufficient hydration is vital when it comes to diarrhea to prevent dehydration, particularly in infants and children. Drinking plenty of liquids and avoiding beverages that contain stimulants such as coffee, alcohol, and dairy are also essential.

Eating the Right Foods

When you have diarrhea, it is important to limit your fiber intake in addition to fat, carbohydrates, and dairy depending on personal triggers. Some foods that most people who experience diarrhea can eat without severe symptoms include bananas, applesauce, oatmeal, white rice, skinless baked chicken, chicken soup, and skinless baked potatoes.

While these foods do not necessarily relieve diarrhea, they can be eaten without being concerned about consequences. However, some foods are known culprits in leading to diarrhea that people with a tendency to experience diarrhea should avoid. Some of these foods are corn, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, beans, peas, artificial sweeteners, tea, coffee, alcohol, and milk products.

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IBS vs. IBD

IBS vs. IBD

Despite having similar symptoms, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) are entirely different conditions. IBD is an umbrella term for a group of diseases, including colitis and Crohn’s disease.

Inflammatory bowel diseases, as the name suggests, cause inflammation in the digestive tract due to a faulty immune system response. On the other hand, IBS is a gastrointestinal disorder whose cause is unknown that affects proper muscle contractions in the large intestine.

Understanding IBS and IBD Symptoms

IBD and IBS both affect the gastrointestinal tract and cause chronic symptoms. IBS can be diagnosed if an individual experiences symptoms for longer than a few months, which typically are constipation, diarrhea, stomach cramps, bloating, and gassiness.

In most cases, people with IBS either suffer from diarrhea or constipation the most, but they may also have alternating spells of both. Unlike IBD, IBS does not cause inflammation in the digestive tract.

The primary symptoms of IBD are typically diarrhea and stomach pain or cramps. Instead of alternating symptoms, though, with IBD, the dominant symptoms are often chronic and severe. The symptoms and pain experienced in IBD also vary depending on whether an individual has ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease as though these diseases belong in the same family, they can differ.

For instance, colitis primarily affects the large intestine, whereas Crohn’s disease can inflame the entire intestinal tract. Both inflammatory bowel diseases are caused by the same irregular immune system response, which turns the body against itself and attacks the lining of the GI tract.

In more severe cases, the trademark symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation, stomach cramps, and bloating can be accompanied by fever, fatigue, appetite loss, weight loss, and blood in stools, which can be a cause for concern.

IBS vs IBD: Long-Term Risks

IBD is a lot more serious than IBS and can potentially be life-threatening relative to IBS. The biggest risks associated with IBS are typically malnutrition caused by diarrhea coupled with pain and a loss of appetite, and also hemorrhoids due to constipation and straining. While IBS can be uncomfortable and have a general impact on one’s overall quality of life without treatment and lifestyle changes, IBS is manageable and not deadly.

IBD, however, is an inflammatory disease by nature, so it comes with bigger risks. Without proper care, monitoring, and treatment, IBD can result in serious bowel obstructions, ulcers that can lead to infections, and even colorectal cancer in some cases.

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IBS Causes and Prevention

IBS causes

Irritable bowel syndrome, also commonly referred to as IBS, is a digestive disorder that affects the colon and causes stomach pain and discomfort, diarrhea, constipation, gassiness, and bloating. While it is typically not a life-threatening condition, IBS causes are currently unclear. However, there are many treatment options to manage IBS symptoms.

Lifestyle modifications are important in treating IBS in addition to medications. Most people with IBS improve their symptoms by cutting out foods that they know trigger flare-ups and severe symptoms, which can be anything from lactose to stress.

The exact cause of IBS is still a mystery, though researchers believe that it is due to a nervous system malfunction that leads to irregular contractions in the large intestine.

What Causes Severe IBS Symptoms and Flare-Ups?

Too Much Stress

Stress does not directly result in IBS but is a common trigger as it worsens cramping and bloating. Stress management is essential to keep IBS symptoms under control.

Meditation, regular physical activity as well as breathing exercises are ideal stress management tools. Biofeedback is also an effective option that teaches you to gain control over your body’s natural responses to stress and consequently lowering its impact on IBS.

Food Triggers

Although every person with IBS has different triggers, there are some food triggers that are known to exacerbate IBS in most people with the condition. Some of these are cauliflower, broccoli, beans, chocolate, artificial sweeteners, and dairy products. Gluten intolerance or lactose intolerance can be an underlying reason for severe IBS symptoms as well.

Alcohol and Caffeine

In addition to drinking lots of water to keep your gastrointestinal tract hydrated, you should avoid known GI stimulants such as caffeine and alcohol, which includes energy drinks as well. Beverages with high-sugar content can also cause diarrhea.

IBS Medications

Over-the-counter antidiarrheals, bile acid binders, and cholestyramine work to relieve diarrhea in mild cases. Increasing your fiber intake is important if your primary IBS symptom is constipation, which can also be achieved by taking supplements. In more severe cases, antidepressants improve IBS symptoms. There are also newer medications like alosetron and rifaximin for diarrhea, and linaclotide for constipation.

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