What Can Cause Diarrhea

During diarrhea, bowel movement becomes more frequent, due to which the stools fail to bind and turn loose and too watery. Moreover, This leads to a loss of excess fluids from the body, along with electrolytes. The condition can lead to dehydration and electrolytic imbalances in the body, which can make the person develop some symptoms such as weakness, lightheadedness, loss of weight, fever, and vomiting.  

A condition like diarrhea may not be a cause for worry, as it can be effectively dealt at home. But if the condition becomes chronic by persisting for more than a week, then it needs medical intervention for performing a proper diagnosis followed by treatment.       

Given below are some potential factors that can cause diarrhea:

  • Bacterial or parasitic infections

Your body’s exposure to infectious bacteria or parasites can lead to gut malfunction. These pathogens may find access to your body through contaminated foods or water. They can disturb normal digestive function and cause bloating, stomach cramping, nausea, and diarrhea. It can be prevented by adopting good hygiene practices.

The possibility of diarrhea due to bacterial or parasitic infection is high when you change your location by traveling to some faraway place. Exposure to new environments and resources like food and water can give rise to diarrhea. It can be cured with the help of antibiotic medications.  

  • Viral infections

Also called stomach flu, can cause an infection of the intestines. The reason for such infections is the consumption of food or water that is contaminated with viruses. Lack of proper hygiene can also potentiate the risk of such infections, which cause intestinal malfunction, thereby leading to diarrhea, along with several other symptoms like vomiting, fever, nausea, bloating, and stomach pain. 

One can prevent viruses from entering your body by taking preventative measures. Make hygiene your priority, wash your hands thoroughly, eat healthy foods that are properly cooked in fresh water, and drink purified water only. This will reduce the chances of stomach flu.

  • Food allergies and intolerance

Some foods might not be suitable for you. Your body might be intolerant to certain substances which can lead to allergic side reactions. Diarrhea can be the side reaction of such allergies. For example, some people might be allergic to dairy products, which is why they might find it difficult to get them properly digested.

The gut might release more fluids in the intestines for the foods digested. This causes frequent bowel movements, leading to the passing of loose and watery stools. To prevent diarrhea, you need to avoid consuming such foods that irritate your gut and lead to its malfunction.

  • Medications

Diarrhea can be a side reaction of some medications, particularly antibiotics. Such medications improve one’s health by reducing infections by killing off bad bacteria, however, along with bad bacteria, the medication also eliminates good bacteria that support digestion. Moreover, This leads to the imbalance of good and bad bacteria in the gut, giving rise to gut malfunction and diarrhea. Besides, medications other than antibiotics can also cause diarrhea.

  • Digestive disorders

Diarrhea can occur when an individual is suffering from some digestive disorder. Such disorders may include irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), celiac disease, small intestine bacterial growth (SIBO), Crohn’s disease, and others. They can lead to chronic diarrhea which might extend up to 4 weeks or so.

If the diarrhea persists for more than a week, then there is a possibility of any of these disorders. Such disorders require timely diagnosis and appropriate treatment, otherwise, they can threaten your life.  

  • Artificial sweeteners

Some artificial sweeteners, found in sugar-free products and candies, frozen desserts, breakfast cereals, baked goods, etc. can contribute to diarrhea. Avoid such foods that contain unnatural sweeteners.

  • Lack of proper hygiene

Poor hygiene and lack of sanitation can lead to the contamination of the environment. Most diseases get spread through poor hygiene. The waste disposal needs to be done properly, otherwise, it can increase the risk of bacterial infections. Also, you need to prioritize personal hygiene along with cleanliness.

Take a bath regularly, at least once or twice a day. Wear clean and tidy clothes and wash your hands whenever necessary. Small steps towards hygiene will eliminate your risk of developing diarrhea or other bacterial-related problems that affect the quality of your life.  

Symptoms of diarrhea

  • Loose and watery stools
  • Frequent urge to defecate
  • Abdominal cramping and pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fever
  • Presence of blood or mucus in stools

Tips to cope with diarrhea

  • Eat bland foods, which will get easily digested. Include boiled potato, white rice, white bread or toast, cereals, banana, and probiotics like curd or yogurt.
  • Avoid spicey, oily, and fiber-rich foods such as vegetables, nuts, grains, etc.
  • Take OTC medications.
  • Rest enough.
  • Increase your water intake.
  • Avoid exercising for a few days.
  • If the condition persists beyond 3 days, then consult a doctor.

The lowdown

The causes of diarrhea may differ from individual to individual. It is not a serious condition, as it goes away in 2 to 3 days. But if it doesn’t, then you must talk to your doctor, as there might be a possibility of some disorder related to your digestive system, which is causing diarrhea.  

Your doctor will suggest you get some tests done, which will help them with diagnosis. Based on the reports, they will prescribe some anti-diarrhea drugs along with several other medications for managing the digestive disorder (if any).  

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