How Long Does Diarrhea Last

Diarrhea makes you excrete looser, and waterier stools compared to what you usually do. This can be attributed to the more-frequent bowel movements, which can stem due to various reasons. During such a condition, the individual might experience symptoms like stomach cramping, nausea, vomiting, lightheadedness, and loss of weight.

Fortunately, such a troublesome condition does not last for more than a few days. It can be managed very well through home remedies and non-prescription medications. However, if the condition persists beyond a few days then one should seek medical attention.

When diarrhea symptoms remain for more than a week then it might be a strong indication that the individual may be experiencing another problem like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or some type of gut-related disorder.

Types Of Diarrhea

Acute diarrhea can last for around 1 to 2 days. It might even take up to a week or so to attain full recovery from the diarrhea symptoms. This type of diarrhea can be mild, and it goes away without needing medical treatment.

But chronic diarrhea can last for a month (4 weeks) or so. This type of diarrhea requires special medical treatment. Its causes can be different from acute diarrhea. This is a serious condition, which can affect the individual’s quality of life.   

Symptoms of diarrhea

  • Passing loose and watery stools frequently
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Stomach cramping
  • Dizziness and lightheadedness due to dehydration
  • Nausea and fever

Factors responsible for causing diarrhea

Diarrhea is a disorder linked to your digestive system. When the food particles move from the stomach to the intestines, the process of metabolization begins. To push the food particles further through the intestines, the gut regulates the bowel movements. But sometimes the gut starts malfunctioning. This happens due to the following reasons:

  • Bacterial, viral, or parasitic infection

This can happen when the infectious pathogens enter the host body through contaminated food or drinks. Such pathogens irritate the walls of the stomach and intestines and lead to gut malfunction.

  • Food allergies and intolerances

Your body might reject certain types of foods and indicate them by causing allergic reactions. Diarrhea can be a symptom of allergy or intolerance.

  • Side effects of medications

Medications like antibiotics, antacids, antidepressants, and chemotherapy drugs can interfere with your digestive function and cause diarrhea.  

  • Issues with the digestive tract

Disorders related to the digestive system can contribute to diarrhea.

Ways to manage diarrhea at home

Diarrhea is a manageable condition. It does not have serious consequences unless it happens to an infant, children, older individuals, or those having a weak immune system. One can alleviate the difficulties, by implementing several changes in their lifestyle for a few days until complete recovery from diarrhea. Steps to cope with diarrhea are listed below:

  • Replenishing lost fluids and electrolytes

Diarrhea makes you lose excess fluids and electrolytes through excretion. The bowel movement happens persistently, which causes them to pass loose and watery stools. After excretion, you might feel dizzy, weak, and lightheaded, which are the symptoms of dehydration. It is essential to replace lost fluids and electrolytes by increasing your fluid intake. Consume more water to maintain your hydration levels and increase your intake of liquid foods such as soups, broth, and fruit juices.

  • Eating the right kind of foods

Include soft foods that are low in fiber and high in carbohydrates. Examples include white rice, boiled mashed potatoes (without skin), bananas, white bread or toast, eggs, oatmeal, cereals, chicken broth, or any broth. Such foods are easy on your gut. Your gut can get such foods easily digested without exacerbating your condition.

  • Incorporating prebiotics into your diet

Prebiotics can be extremely beneficial for your gut health. It increases the good bacteria in your gut, which supports the digestive system’s health. Prebiotics contain millions of live cultures or microorganisms, that promote the growth of good bacteria in the gut. It provides fast relief from diarrhea.

  • Letting your body heal and recover

You may experience weakness, tiredness, lightheadedness, and weightd loss due to diarrhea. This is your body’s way of letting you know that you need adequate rest. So, avoid going to the gym or any other form of exercise for a few days and allow your body to restore its health.

The right time to see the doctor

Without any delays, you must immediately see the doctor in case your infant or child is having diarrhea. It can have fatal consequences due to loss of body fluids and electrolytic imbalance. Also, older individuals need to be careful, as diarrhea can give rise to serious problems, this is why, it is better to see the doctor and get the condition treated before it gets worse.

In adults, diarrhea may not stay for long, however, if it does, become chronic and leads to symptoms such as fever, passing of bloody or black stools, severe dehydration, and severe abdominal pain, then it must be diagnosed. The condition requires medical attention necessarily.  

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