It is the frequent passage of watery stools in large amounts through the anus.
Whatever may be the cause, diarrhea occurs due to:-
- An increased motility of the intestines
- Reduced absorption of the fluids from the intestines
- Increased secretion of fluids into the intestinal lumen making the stools watery
Types of Diarrhea
1. Absolute and Relative Diarrhea
Absolute diarrhea can be defined as the passage of more than five stools per day.
Relative diarrhea on the other hand can be defined as the increase in the number of bowel movements per day as compared to the previous bowel habit. The consistency of the stools may vary depending upon the food consumed by the patient.
For example - a person who had one bowel movement per day is now having two to three bowel movements per day which is not absolute diarrhea but definitely not a normal bowel movement in that particular person's case.
2. Acute and Chronic diarrhea
Diarrhea that lasts for a few days up to seven days is considered as an acute diarrhea.
Chronic diarrhea occurs when the problem continues from several days up to weeks.
Another term which is used for diarrhea is persistent diarrhea, in which loose stools are passed for up to two weeks. It can however be grouped under Chronic diarrhea itself.
Common symptoms of Diarrhea
- Pain is not very common, cramping may occur occasionally.
- An urgent feeling to evacuate the bowel
- Thin or loose stools
- Watery stools
- Bloating in abdomen
- Abdominal Cramps
Severe symptoms include:-
- Blood, mucus, or undigested food in the stool
- Weight loss
Causes of Diarrhea
- Over consumption of alcohol
- Food allergies
- Food poisoning
- Over eating
- Psychological factors
- Diabetes, as a result of diabetic neuropathy
- Inflammatory diseases of the intestines - Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
- Eating foods that upset the digestive system
- Infection by bacteria (the cause of most types of food poisoning) or other organisms
- Over use or over dosage of laxatives
- Excessive running to which the body is not habitual
- Cancers, for example – Stomach Cancer, Colon cancer etc.
- Post-surgery diarrhea
- Mal absorption syndrome
Diarrhea - Ayurvedic point of view
Diarrhea can be compared to "Atisaar" in Ayurveda. It is a Sanskrit word which means excessive passage of watery stools from the anus.
There are many types of Atisaar described in Ayurveda according to the body energy vitiated in the person.
When to seek a doctor in case of Diarrhea?
You need immediate medical attention by a doctor if you suffer from the following complications associated with Diarrhea.
- Moderate or severe abdominal pain
- Passage of blood in stools
- Severe diarrhea with passage of numerous stools within a span of 48 hours showing no signs of improvement.
- Excessive vomiting with Diarrhea
- Diarrhea with pregnancy
- Diarrhea associated with diseases like Crohn's disease, Irritable bowel syndrome and colitis.
- Acute diarrhea in infants as they are very much prone to dehydration as a result of diarrhea.
- Chronic diarrhea which is not responding to normal medicines.
- Moderate to severe dehydration.
What liquids can be taken in case of diarrhea?
As is obvious, patients are advised to increase their intake of water and other fluids to make up for the frequent loss of water in stools.
W.H.O recommends using ORS (Oral rehydration solution) in case of diarrhea, in both acute and chronic cases.
ORS is a mixture of glucose and electrolytes which helps to maintain electrolyte balance in the body and increases the absorption of water from the intestines thereby correcting as well as preventing dehydration.
Other drinks like fresh fruit juices and soft drinks containing sugar can be consumed to get direct energy.
Is milk good in case of Diarrhea?
Milk and dairy products should be temporarily avoided as they may aggravate diarrhea. Caffeine is also contraindicated in this case.
How to prepare ORS at home?
Oral rehydration solution can also be prepared at home by taking:-
1 liter of water + 6 table spoon full sugar +1/2 tea spoon full salt
Stir this mixture until the sugar dissolves completely.
Drink sips of this fluid at short intervals of approximately five minutes until the signs of dehydration disappear.
What kind of drugs can cause diarrhea?
There are many medicines which cause acute diarrhea as a side effect.
The common ones are listed below:-
- NSAIDs (Non – Steroidal anti – inflammatory Drugs)
- Chemotherapeutic medicines
- Medicines to control irregular heartbeats
- Antacids containing Magnesium
- Metoclopramide etc.
Complications of Diarrhea
The most common complication of diarrhea is severe dehydration.
Other symptoms include:-
- Excessive thirst with dry mouth - in case of moderate dehydration
- Hypotension - very low blood pressure
- Sunken eyes
- Flaccid skin
- Mental confusion
- Reduced urination
- Anal irritation - due to frequent passage of stools
- Kidney failure - in severe cases
- Shock - in severe cases.
Is there any herbal remedy to treat diarrhea naturally?
Many people look for natural ways to cure diarrhea and upset abdomen at home. A lot of information is available on the internet in this regard, but there are no solid scientific proofs in favor of this.
Can natural supplements be used for treating Diarrhea?
Natural supplements help in maintaining the health of the abdominal organs in general. They also help to improve the dietary schedule of the person and support the overall health.
Planet Ayurveda's Natural supplements for healthy abdominal organs
- Vatsakadi churna - 1 tea spoon full, twice daily with plain water after meals.
- Kutaj ghan vati - 2 - 3 tablets, twice daily with plain water after meals.
- Pitta Balance - 1 -2 capsules, twice daily with plain water after meals.
- Arjun Capsules - 1 - 2 Capsules, twice daily with plain water after meals.
To buy these Natural Supplements, please visit store.planetayurveda.com/