When To Seek Medical Help
Diarrhea should never be ignored. If you have tried the above-listed home remedies and still have loose stools, call your doctor or speak with your pharmacist about over-the-counter medications that may help.
On the other hand, you should see a doctor immediately if you or your child experience persistent or severe diarrhea and/or develop signs of dehydration, as follows:
Diarrhea 3 days or more
Severe abdominal pain
Fever over 102 F
Little or no urination
Diarrhea for more than 24 hours
No wet diapers in 3 hours
Fever over 102 F
Dry mouth or tongue
How To Find Relief
Many of the conditions that cause PD require medical treatment, but these four lifestyle treatments may also ease the condition:
Avoid trigger foods: Certain foods may contribute to PD. If you arent sure what your trigger foods are, keep a food diary. Make note of what you eat and when you experience PD. Look for food commonly associated with PD, such as fatty foods, fiber, and dairy.
Practice food safety: Keep bad bacteria at bay by washing fruits and vegetables before eating them, cooking meat to the proper temperature, and properly refrigerating foods that need to be kept cold.
Eat smaller meals: Eat five to six small meals a day instead of three big ones. This may help your intestines more easily digest food, and that could reduce symptoms of PD.
Reduce stress: Your mind has a lot of power over your gut. When youre stressed or worried, you may make your stomach upset more easily. Learning to manage your stress and anxiety is good not only for your mental health, but also for your digestive health.
Causes Of Diarrhea After Eating
Diarrhea immediately after eating can occur with just about any bowel disease where diarrhea is a symptom. Often these conditions are acute. However, not all people who experience this symptom has a diarrheal illness. Some of these conditions may even be chronic and a part of daily life for many people. This can be inconvenient and even debilitating as a person is not unable to eat a meal without being close to a toilet.
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Acute And Persistent Diarrhea
The most common causes of acute and persistent diarrhea are infections, travelers diarrhea, and side effects of medicines.
Three types of infections that cause diarrhea include
Bacterial infections. Several types of bacteria can enter your body through contaminated food or water and cause diarrhea. Common bacteria that cause diarrhea include Campylobacter, Escherichia coli , Salmonella, and Shigella.
- Parasitic infections.Parasites can enter your body through food or water and settle in your digestive tract. Parasites that cause diarrhea include Cryptosporidium enteritis, Entamoeba histolytica, and Giardia lamblia.
Infections in the digestive tract that spread through foods or drinks are called foodborne illnesses.
Infections lasting more than 2 weeks and less than 4 weeks can cause persistent diarrhea.
Travelers diarrhea is caused by eating food or drinking water contaminated with bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Travelers diarrhea is most often acute. However, some parasites cause diarrhea that lasts longer. Travelers diarrhea can be a problem for people traveling to developing countries.
Side effects of medicines
What Tests Might The Doctor Do
Diagnostic tests to find the cause of diarrhea include the following:
- Medical history and physical examination. The doctor will need to know about your eating habits and medication use and will examine you for signs of illness.
- Stool culture. Lab technicians analyze a sample of stool to check for bacteria, parasites, or other signs of disease or infection.
- Blood tests. Blood tests can be helpful in ruling out certain diseases.
- Fasting tests. To find out if a food intolerance or allergy is causing the diarrhea, the doctor may ask you to avoid lactose , carbohydrates, wheat, or other foods to see whether the diarrhea responds to a change in diet.
- Sigmoidoscopy. For this test, the doctor uses a special instrument to look at the inside of the rectum and lower part of the colon.
- Colonoscopy. This test is similar to sigmoidoscopy, but the doctor looks at the entire colon.
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Is Your Diet Giving You Diarrhea
Signs of dehydration include: thirst, urinating less frequently than normal, dark-colored urine, dry mouth, feeling tired, sunken eyes or cheeks, light-headedness or fainting, and a decreased skin turgor . In children, additional signs of dehydration can include a lack of energy and the absence of tears while crying.
Symptoms of malabsorption include bloating, gas, changes in appetite, weight loss, and loose, greasy, foul-smelling bowel movements.
How Can I Relieve Discomfort In The Rectal Area Caused By Diarrhea
Diarrhea often means frequent trips to the bathroom. This can cause discomforts like:
- Pain during bowel movements.
If youre experiencing any of these discomforts, there are a few things you can do to help, including:
- Sitting in a few inches of lukewarm water in a bathtub.
- Patting your rectal area dry with a clean soft towel after getting out of the tub or shower. Dont rub the area dry because that will only make the irritation worse.
- Applying petroleum jelly or a hemorrhoid cream to your anus.
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Is There A Color Of Diarrhea That I Should Be Worried About
The color of your poop can vary. Stool color can be influenced by the color of the food you eat. Usually, this isnt something you need to worry about. But if you ever see red in your stool or have a bowel movement that is black, that could be something more serious. Keep a record of any bowel movements that:
- Are black and tarry.
- Have blood or pus in them.
- Are consistently greasy or oily despite non-fatty meals.
- Are very foul-smelling.
Causes Of Recurrent Diarrhea
- Cow’s Milk Allergy. Can cause loose, slimy stools in babies. Can be blood-streaked. Starts within the first 2 months of life. Need to avoid cow’s milk formulas.
- Lactose Intolerance. Lactose is the sugar in milk. Many people cannot absorb lactose. The gut bacteria convert the lactose to gas. The main symptoms are a lot of gas, loose stools and stomach bloating. Onset usually at age 4 or 5. This most often runs in the family .
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Dog Diarrhea: When Is It Serious And How Do I Stop It
One of the most common problems we see in veterinary medicine is gastrointestinal upset/diarrhea. Sometimes it surprises me how quickly some clients will rush their dog to the clinic because of a little soft stool. Im sure part of it is because they dont want to be cleaning up messes all over the house, but it is also because they are genuinely concerned that the cause may be something serious. So what causes diarrhea in dogs? When should you worry and consult your veterinarian? What can you do at home before you see the doctor?Causes of diarrhea in dogsThis would be an extremely long list if we went into everything that can cause your dog to have loose stools, but here are some of the top causes:
What can you do to help stop diarrhea in dogs?Obviously some of these causes require specific therapy, but some of them may resolve on their own with simple supportive care. In those cases what might your veterinarian suggest that you do at home?
When is diarrhea in dogs an emergency?First of all, you know your dog best. If you are concerned, do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian. That is what your vets there for: to advise you. Be aware that there are some aspects of diarrhea that are more alarming, and some consequences that can be quite concerning.To start with, one way to classify diarrhea is as either small bowel or large bowel diarrhea:
- Loss of appetite or thirst
- Blood in the stool
- Associated vomiting
What Happens If You Leave A Dog With Diarrhoea For Too Long
Diarrhoea left too long can lead to dehydration. Contact your vet for advice if your dog has diarrhoea. Bacterial gut infections e.g. Salmonella or Campylobacter. Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency . Diarrhoea is often a problem that passes within a few days, but if it continues for too long, dehydration and more severe illness can develop.
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What Do I Do If My Baby Or Young Child Has Diarrhea
If your child has severe diarrhea, call your healthcare provider. Young children are at a higher risk of dehydration than adults. You also cant treat a childs diarrhea the same way you would an adult case. Over-the-counter medications can be dangerous in young children and all treatments of diarrhea in children should be guided by their healthcare provider. Its important to keep your child hydrated. Your provider will help you determine the best way to do this, but options often include:
- Breast milk.
- Electrolyte drinks for older children this is not recommended for babies.
The best option to keep your child hydrated might change as the child ages. Always check with your provider before giving your child a new liquid or treatment of any kind.
If you have any questions or concerns about your childs diarrhea, dont hesitate to call your provider.
How Long Does It Take For Diarrhea To Pass From Dog To Human
Under normal circumstances, transit time from mouth through the small and large intestines should be under 10 hours, producing a firm, well-formed stool at the end. Dirty DozenTop 12 Causes of Doggie Diarrhea Many things can disrupt this well-balanced system, causing diarrhea or, less frequently, constipation.
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Key Points About Diarrhea
Diarrhea is loose, watery stool. Your child may also have to go to the bathroom more often.
It may be caused by many things, including bacterial infection or viral infection.
Dehydration is the major concern with diarrhea.
In most cases, treatment involves replacing lost fluids.
The rotavirus vaccine can prevent diarrhea caused by that virus.
Proper handwashing can help prevent diarrhea.
When you travel, make sure anything your child eats and drinks is safe.
When Should A Doctor Be Consulted
Although usually not harmful, diarrhea can become dangerous or signal a more serious problem. You should see the doctor if any of the following is true:
- You have diarrhea for more than 3 days.
- You have severe pain in the abdomen or rectum.
- You have a fever of 102 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
- You see blood in your stool or have black, tarry stools.
- You have signs of dehydration.
If your child has diarrhea, do not hesitate to call the doctor for advice. Diarrhea can be dangerous in children if too much fluid is lost and not replaced quickly.
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How Long Should Diarrhea Last In Children
An occasional loose stool in kids is probably nothing to worry about, but any sudden changes in bowel movements that look watery and occur frequently can be considered diarrhea. Children can become dehydrated more quickly than adults, so dont hesitate to call the doctor if your childs symptoms persist longer than 24 hours.
A call is in order right away if diarrhea comes along with symptoms such as bloody stool, a refusal to drink liquids , no urination, a skin rash, or if your child has a weak immune system.
What To Do For Acute Diarrhea
Follow these tips when you have a bout of diarrhea:
- Stay hydrated. You will need to replace the fluids and minerals that your body is not absorbing due to the rapid transit of stool through your system. Try to drink water and clear fruit juice and sip broth.
- Don’t rush to use an over-the-counter diarrhea product such as Imodium or Kaopectate. These products should not be used if you have a fever or there is mucus or blood in your stools. Pepto Bismol may be an option but check with your doctor first. None of these medications should be given to children without prior approval from the child’s doctor.
Small Bowel Water Content
A group of researchers found that, compared to healthy control subjects, IBS-D patients have lower amounts of water in the small intestine and it passes through quicker to the large intestine, which may contribute to postprandial diarrhea.
This research dovetails with the FODMAPs theory for IBS;as foods with high osmotic value are particularly troublesome for people with IBS.;If true, the development of medications that would slow transit time and thus better regulate the flow of liquid into the large intestine may be of value.
Clearly, research into the factors behind postprandial diarrhea in IBS is quite limited, and therefore no definitive conclusions can be drawn. In addition, despite the variety of plausible theories explaining the problem, data regarding treatments for this condition don’t exist, so it’s unclear thus far which treatments will help patients, and which do not.
Hopefully, further research will shed more light on the subject and offer some effective treatment options. In the meantime, if you tend to experience urgent diarrhea episodes after eating, discuss the subject with your physician to see if any of the proposed interventions would be a safe option for you.
Food Allergies And Intolerances
If a person suspects they have a food allergy or intolerance, their doctor may recommend keeping a food diary.
People can use their diary to record the foods they eat on a day-to-day basis, and the symptoms they experience. Over time, this will help them detect foods that may trigger their diarrhea.
Treatment for a food allergy or intolerance typically involves avoiding known trigger foods.
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How Is Acute Diarrhea Treated
Acute diarrhea usually gets better without treatment. You may need any of the following if your diarrhea is severe or lasts longer than a few days:
- Diarrhea medicine is an over-the-counter medicine that helps slow or stop your diarrhea. Do not take this medicine unless your healthcare provider says it is okay.
- Antibiotics may be given to help treat an infection caused by bacteria.
- Antiparasitics may be given to treat an infection caused by parasites.
When Is Diarrhea Considered Chronic
When it comes to chronic diarrhea, you may ask yourself, “How much is too much?” While diarrhea is common and can happen for a multitude of acute or benign reasons, diarrhea that lasts more than four weeks is generally considered chronic, per the AGA. The diarrhea itself can also range in its symptoms, including loose stool consistency, increased frequency, urgency of bowel movements, or incontinence.
To identify whether you’re suffering from chronic diarrhea, your doctor will likely conduct a medical history and physical examination. These evaluations may bring to light common causes of persistent diarrhea, such as diet, medications, and surgery or radiation therapy. But if there doesn’t seem to be an obvious cause, your doctor can perform a range of tests as needed for your individual case. These can include blood and stool tests, an endoscopy, imaging studies, histology, and physiological testing.
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Read The Label Before You Ladle
Shopping for soup? It pays to be soup-savvy:
- Do the math. A serving is one cup, but a can of soup holds more. Add up total calories and amounts before you fill your cart.
- Read the label. âSodiumâ means salt, and many soups have a lot. âHealthyâ and âlow-sodiumâ brands have less. Look for sugar, too. Choose soups with no more than 6 grams per serving. Fiberâs good. Lentil, vegetable, barley, and bean soups are full of it.
What Does A Healthy Poop Look Like
Anywhere between a firm and soft consistency is considered normal. âIf it sways one way or another, it could suggest some digestion or fiber issues,â he says. Log-shaped with some cracks on the surface is the gold standard of poop, especially if itâs somewhat soft and easy to pass.
âA somewhat log-like shape is how most poop should come out due to its formation within the intestines,â Dr. Sonpal says. Poop shouldnât come out in small pellets but instead should be a couple of inches in length, as well as be comfortable and easy to pass.
âUsually, if someone takes longer than a minute while also needing to push hard, they are likely constipated,â he says. Constipation is an indication that the diet is lacking fiber and water, so eat more leafy greens, oats, and other high-fiber foods. In addition, drink more water to flush things out.
âThe recommended amount of fiber for adults is 30 to 35 grams daily,â Dr. Sonpal says, so start considering how many grams go into the meals youâre eating and use this range as a minimum. If you decide you should increase your fiber intake, do so graduallyâadding too much fiber to your diet at once can cause gas, bloating, discomfort, and even diarrhea.
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Infants Toddlers And Young Children
The parent or caretaker of an infant, toddler, or young child with diarrhea and any of the following symptoms should seek a doctors care right away:
- diarrhea lasting more than 24 hours
- fever of 102 degrees or higher
- severe pain in the abdomen or rectum
- stools containing blood or pus
- stools that are black and tarry
- symptoms of dehydration