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Diarrhoea: Symptoms, Treatment and relation with Dehydration

01 October, 2020 Prashasti Jauhari

Diarrhoea is basically loose, watery bowel movement. A person with diarrhea often needs frequent bowel movements. Diarrhoea does not always need treatment.  

Acute diarrhoea is the one that lasts for a day or two, often as a result of food poisoning or some viral or bacterial infection.

 
Chronic diarrhoea is rather serious. It lasts for at least a month and is usually the result of an intestinal disease celiac disease.
 
When you travel, the odds of developing diarrhoea increases. You might get exposed to certain bacteria or viruses which can cause diarrhoea. This type of diarrhoea is known as a traveler’s diarrhoea.

Causes of Diarrhoea

Diarrhoea can occur due to a number of reasons, such as,

  • A food allergy
  • A viral infection
  • A bacterial infection
  • Intolerance towards certain food such as lactose intolerance
  • Reaction to a certain medication
  • A parasitic infection
  • Any intestinal disease
  • Gallbladder surgery
  • Stomach surgery

In children, Rotavirus is what usually causes diarrhoea. Diarrhoea due to a bacteria is often caused by salmonella or E. coli types of bacteria.

Symptoms of Diarrhoea

Symptoms of diarrhoea varies from one person to the other. An individual might not experience all the symptoms. The symptoms of diarrhoea that one experiences also depend on the cause of diarrhoea

Diarrhoea can cause extreme fatigue.

Some of the common symptoms are –
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Bloating
  • Dehydration
  • Cramps
  • Blood in stools
  • The large volume of stool
  • Frequent bowel movements or the sensation of having a bowel movement

If you have any of the symptoms mentioned above, see your doctor. 

Dehydration and Diarrhoea

Diarrhoea increases the risk of dehydration as a person loses a lot of fluids during diarrhoea. If not treated in time, it can cause severe effects, some symptoms of which include –

  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased thirst
  • Dry mucous membrane
  • Reduced urination

If you experience any of these symptoms along with diarrhoea, it might indicate that it is causing dehydration. Talk to your doctor immediately.

Diarrhoea in Infants and Young Children

Diarrhoea is a more serious condition in children and infants. Severe dehydration can occur in just 24 hours in an infant with diarrhoea. If your child has any of the symptoms (given below) of dehydration or diarrhoea, it could mean that it is an emergency situation.
 
Consult your doctor immediately if your child shows any of the following symptoms of diarrhoea

  • Fatigue
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Reduced urination
  • Dry skin
  • Sunken eyes
  • Lack of tears while crying
  • Irritable behavior
  • Excess sleepiness 

Get immediate medical help and treatment, if your child shows any of these symptoms –

  • If they have a constant fever of 102°F (39°C) or higher
  • If the child has had diarrhoea for 24 hours or more
  • If blood occurs in their stools
  • If their stool contains pus
  • If their stool is black and tarry

Treatment for Diarrhoea

Diarrhoea can often be treated at home with some fluids. Staying hydrated is the key. Rink a lot of fluids and electrolytes.
 
If the rather serious, fluids might be needed to be given through intravenous therapy. If diarrhoea is caused due to any bacterial infection, the doctor might prescribe certain antibiotics. You can buy prescription drugs online at an affordable price and get it delivered to your home.

Stay Hydrated!
 
The treatment for diarrhoea varies in people based on different categories which include –
  • Age
  • Degree of dehydration
  • Severity of diarrhoea
  • Medical history
  • Frequency of diarrhoea
  • Reaction of medications​

How to Prevent Diarrhoea?

Although diarrhoea is very common, you can take certain precautions and try to prevent it from occurring frequently.
 
Some of these preventive measures that should follow are –

  • Practicing food safety. Wash vegetables and fruits before cooking them to avoid food poisoning.
  • Wash utensils used for cooking before and after using them.
  • Avoid drinking tap water directly. Boil it first and let the microorganisms die.
  • Wash your hands properly.
  • Drink bottled water only when you are traveling.
  • You can talk to your doctor if you can have any preventive medication to avoid diarrhoea while traveling.​

Conclusion

It is a common condition but it is best to get some expert advice before trying to treat it on your own. There is no shame in consulting a doctor about your health. Feel free to talk to your doctor about your health condition and tell him clearly all the symptoms that you are having as it can affect the treatment procedure.