Diarrhea That Lasts For A Week
Diarrhea that lasts for a few days can lead to serious complications even in such a short period of time. Death is even a possibility. However, most of the time diarrhea that lasts for a few days is not as serious. When the diarrhea persists, then the chances of complications increases. The main complication that is often the leading cause of death from diarrhea is dehydration.
In this case, the loss of water and electrolytes causes a host of disruptions throughout the body. Most significantly it can affect the heart, kidney and respiratory activity. Dehydration can be prevented and treated with adequate rehydration, be it oral or intravenous. However, sometimes rehydration therapy is not sufficient to prevent and treat dehydration thereby leading to serious complications and even death.
The longer diarrhea lasts the more likely that dehydration will be severe. Furthermore there are also disturbances to the normal intestinal flora which may not be able to recover spontaneously if the diarrhea has been too prolonged. This can then cause a continuation of diarrhea even though the initial cause has been treated, eradicated and resolved. Once again this may lead to dehydration.
Medications That Can Cause Diarrhea Every Day
More than 700 medications can lead to diarrhea. Some cause acute or transient forms of diarrhea. Others may cause chronic diarrhea every day for long periods.
Many of these medications can be taken for long periods. However, drugs are often overlooked as a cause of diarrhea every day .
Review your list of chronic or recently used medications for:
- Metformin.It is a widely used anti-diabetes medication and is considered the first-line therapy for new cases.Metformin-induced diarrhea is a widespread side effect of the drug. Check your anti-diabetes tables as they can be the source of unexplained diarrhea.
- Antibiotics.Antibiotic-associated diarrhea is a frequent side effect of taking antibiotics. This is because antibiotics cause the death of beneficial microbes inside your gut, disturbing digestion and allowing other harmful organisms to grow.Common antibiotics to cause such conditions are Penicillin, cephalosporins, and clindamycin.
- Gastritis and GERD medications:
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Chronic diarrhea may be an unpleasant experience and topic of discussion, but the condition is fairly common. It affects 5 percent of the U.S. population at any given time, according to the American Gastroenterological Association . Diarrhea isn’t always symptomatic of a serious condition, but diarrhea that lasts too long can be more harmful and may lead your doctor to diagnose other health problems.
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When Should I See My Doctor
An isolated episode of diarrhoea will generally clear up without any treatment.
Seek medical advice if you have any of the following:
- ongoing or severe diarrhoea
- fever as well as diarrhoea
- unexplained weight loss
- diarrhoea at night
- signs of dehydration
Ongoing diarrhoea can lead to dehydration and an electrolyte imbalance, making it dangerous especially to the very young or older people, who can be affected very quickly.
Can Acute Diarrhoea Be Prevented
Hygiene measures as outlined above should always be the first line protection against acute diarrhoea. However, there are some other measures that may help to reduce the chances of being affected.
Antibiotics: for those travelling to high-risk areas the chance of experiencing an attack of acute diarrhoea can be reduced by taking a broad-spectrum antibiotic. However, this is not generally advised because antibiotics do have adverse effects and widespread use in this way can lead to the emergence of antibiotic resistance. There is a danger, therefore, that the treatment might be worse than the disease.
Vaccines: vaccines for travellers diarrhoea are under development and one moderately effective vaccine is now available in the United Kingdom . It is aimed at a type of bacteria known as enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli , which is the most common cause of travellers diarrhoea.
Probiotics: there is some evidence that probiotics found in live yoghurts and other preparations may also reduce the chances of experiencing an episode of infective diarrhoea. In addition, over the counter medications may also be useful and your pharmacist can advise you.
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What Causes Explosive Diarrhea In Adults
Severe diarrhea often occurs as an acute episode of chronic diarrhea, but it can be caused by one of the factors below.
Infectious diarrhea: This is a viral condition more commonly known as the stomach flu. Patients may also experience nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and a fever. Viral gastrointestinal conditions usually affect people living in close quarters, such as hospitals and nursing homes as well as cruise ship passengers and school students. Severe diarrhea can also be brought about by bacterial infections, which are usually triggered by salmonella and E. coli found in contaminated food and drinks.Food poisoning: When you consume food that contains bacterial toxins, the lining of your bowels gets irritated. Diarrhea is usually the final symptom of food poisoning, preceded by pain, nausea, and severe vomiting. In the case of food poisoning, you can actually avoid diarrhea if all of the contaminated food is expelled before reaching the intestines.
Drugs: Laxatives, antacids containing magnesium, drugs with compounds that act on the bowels, heartburn, and acid reflux medications, chemotherapy drugs, and even antibiotics can wreak havoc on your digestion and cause severe diarrhea.
Other less common causes of severe diarrhea include inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, and overconsumption of irritating foods.
When Should I Call My Doctor About Diarrhea
If you have diarrhea that fails to improve or resolve completely, you should call your healthcare provider. Keep track of any other symptoms you may be experiencing this includes fever, vomiting, rash, weakness, numbness, lightheadedness, dizziness, weight loss and blood in your stool. If you have any concerns, its always best to call your healthcare provider.
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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.
How Do You Diagnose Diarrhea
For the majority of mild diarrhea cases, you wont need medical attention. These cases are self-limited and get better without medical intervention. The key to mild diarrhea is supportive therapy staying hydrated and eating a bland diet.
More serious cases of diarrhea may require medical attention. In these situations, there are a few diagnostic tests that your provider may order. These tests can include:
- Discussing a detailed family history, as well as physical and medical conditions, your travel history, and any sick contacts you may have.
- Doing a stool test on a collected stool sample to check for blood, bacterial infections, parasite and inflammatory markers.
- Doing a breath test to check for lactose or fructose intolerance, and bacterial overgrowth.
- Doing blood work to rule out medical causes of diarrhea such as a thyroid disorder, celiac sprue and pancreatic disorders.
- Doing endoscopic evaluations of your upper and lower digestive tract to rule out organic abnormalities .
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Which Medical Treatments Can Cause Diarrhoea
Some medical treatments may cause diarrhoea as a side effect:
Antibiotics can cause diarrhoea in a small proportion of people who take them. This is because some antibiotics are not selective in the bacteria they target, meaning they kill some ‘good’ bacteria as well as the ‘bad’ bacteria. This can alter the balance of bacteria in the bowel, resulting in a temporary bout of diarrhoea. This should clear up when the course of antibiotics is finished.
Clostridium difficile infection
Clostridium difficile is a bacterium that lives in the gut of many young children and some adults without causing any problems. It exists as part of a collection of bacteria and other organisms that live in the bowel.
Sometimes, however, C. diff can multiply out of control and take over, including after a person has taken antibiotics to treat an infection. The antibiotics often destroy good bacteria as well as the ones causing the infection. Without the good bacteria to compete with, C. diff can multiply unrestricted.
Once established in the bowel, C. diff can produce toxins that attack the bowel lining and cause diarrhoea and cramping abdominal pain. This may be mild or very severe. The infection may come back, even after it has been treated.
Many medicines can cause diarrhoea as a side effect. As well as antibiotics, common examples include antacids that contain magnesium NSAIDs anti-arrhythmic medicines designed to treat abnormal heartbeats and laxatives.
This Factsheet Is About Diarrhoea
Most healthy people open their bowels between three times a day and three times a week. Normal stools are usually solid because the small intestine and colon are highly efficient in absorbing nutrients, fluid and salts from the gut contents.
Diarrhoea occurs when these processes are impaired, for example when bacteria or viruses damage the lining of the gut and/or there is excessive secretion of fluid such as water, into the bowel that overwhelms the ability of the gut to reabsorb this fluid and salts. The stools become loose and watery and more frequent bowel movements occur. Diarrhoea is also a symptom of some diseases of the digestive tract. In acute diarrhoea, symptoms come on suddenly but usually clear up within five to 10 days. Chronic diarrhoea continues longer than 4 weeks, and the cause should always be investigated by a GP.
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Taking Precautions When Traveling
The risk of food poisoning is higher when traveling to countries with poor sanitation. As such, people should take the following precautions when traveling to such destinations:
- Eat well-cooked foods, especially meat, seafood, and dairy produce.
- Avoid raw fruits and vegetables unless it is possible to peel the produce.
- Drink only bottled water and other drinks in their original bottles.
- Do not consume tap water or ice, and do not use tap water for brushing teeth. However, boiled tap water is typically safe to drink.
- Check for travel warnings for disease outbreaks in the destination country.
How Long Should Diarrhea Last
There is no definitive period for how long diarrhea should last. It is only a symptom of some underlying disorder, usually involving the bowels. Depending on the duration, it may be classified as acute, subacute or chronic.
- Acute diarrhea lasts for up to 2 weeks.
- Subacute diarrhea persists for 2 to 4 weeks.
- Chronic diarrhea continues for more than 4 weeks.
While most of us expect sudden and severe diarrhea to ease and possibly fully resolve within a few days, it can persist for a week or more and still be considered acute. The duration that diarrhea lasts depends on a host of factors such as the cause of the diarrhea, the individuals immune defenses and overall health status, dietary and lifestyle factors, medication and other treatments, the normal intestinal flora and rehydration.
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For example, a person with AIDS may experience chronic diarrhea due to their weakened immune system while a person who takes antibiotics for diarrhea may then experience secondary antibiotic-associated diarrhea. Even rehydrating incorrectly with beverages that contain too much or too little electrolytes may further aggravate existing diarrhea. Therefore the time for which diarrhea lasts may be variable.
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Stress Anxiety Or Fear
If youve ever had a nervous stomach, you already know that strong emotion can affect your gut. Your digestive system can be adversely affected by fear, stress, or anxiety. It can cause diarrhea, vomiting, or dry heaving.
Powerful emotions trigger the fight-or-flight response. This puts your body on high alert, activating stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones signal your intestines to empty.
They also divert blood away from your stomach to the vital organs you may need most in an emergency, and cause abdominal muscles to clench. All of these physical reactions can bring on diarrhea or vomiting.
Reducing stress with deep breathing exercises and addressing anxiety with a mental health professional can help.
What Are The Treatments For Diarrhea
Diarrhea is treated by replacing lost fluids and electrolytes to prevent dehydration. Depending on the cause of the problem, you may need medicines to stop the diarrhea or treat an infection.
Adults with diarrhea should drink water, fruit juices, sports drinks, sodas without caffeine, and salty broths. As your symptoms improve, you can eat soft, bland food.
Children with diarrhea should be given oral rehydration solutions to replace lost fluids and electrolytes.
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Immediate Action Required: Call 999 Or Go To A& e If You Or Your Child:
- vomit blood or have vomit that looks like ground coffee
- have green or yellow-green vomit
- might have swallowed something poisonous
- have a stiff neck and pain when looking at bright lights
- have a sudden, severe headache or stomach ache
- Severe pain:
- always there and so bad it’s hard to think or talk
- you cannot sleep
- it’s very hard to move, get out of bed, go to the bathroom, wash or dress
- Moderate pain:
- makes it hard to concentrate or sleep
- you can manage to get up, wash or dress
- Mild pain:
Know The Symptoms Of Diarrhea And When To See A Doctor
Diarrhea is a common, unpleasant ailment that everyone suffers from at least occasionally. In the majority of cases, it will last a few days, but diarrhea that sticks around for weeks or longer can indicate a serious health problem requiring medical attention.
Its important to know the signs of diarrhea in both adults and children, and when it’s time to see a doctor.
- Pain or cramping in the abdomen
- An urgent need to go to the bathroom
- A loss of control of bowel movements
If diarrhea is caused by an infection, people may also experience:
- Bloody stools
- Light-headedness and dizziness
Diarrhea can lead to dehydration and malabsorption, each of which have their own symptoms.
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Common Medications That Can Cause Stomach Gurgling And Diarrhea For A Week:
- Recent use of antibiotics: Any type of antibiotic can kill the beneficial bacteria inside your colon.
- A recent change of the anti-diabetes medications: Metformin and gliptins can cause diarrhea and stomach gurgling.
- Laxative overuse.
- Stomach/GERD medications: PPIs and H2 blocker inhibit stomach acid. This inhibition will allow for the overgrowth of bacteria inside the small intestine and colon causing stomach gurgling and diarrhea.
- Others such as chemotherapy, and immunosuppressive medications can also cause such conditions.
What Are The Symptoms Of Chronic Diarrhea In Children
The main symptom of chronic diarrhea in children is passing loose, watery stools three or more times a day for at least 4 weeks.
Depending on the cause, children with chronic diarrhea may also have one or more of the following symptoms:
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Choice Of Food And Drinks
Some foods can cause the contraction and relaxation of intestinal muscles which can lead to loose stools. For example, coffee is a common cause of loose stools as its acidity causes the body to produce more bile than it usually does. The same goes for milk-based products which usually contain high levels of lactose and sugar alcohols which can be found in some fruits, vegetables, and artificial flavorings. Going further, consuming the following can cause loose stools:
- bloating cramps
When To See A Doctor For Diarrhea
Dr. Cutler assures us that most cases of diarrhea will resolve on their own without treatment. But if you have diarrhea that lasts for three or more days without improvement, you should see a doctor, according to the Mayo Clinic.
You should also schedule an appointment if you have additional symptoms accompanying the diarrhea. “If there is no fever, abdominal pain, blood or pus in the stool, and good hydration is maintained, then there is no immediate concern, but a cause should be sought,” adds Dr. Cutler.
Seek help sooner if you have a weakened immune system, are unable to keep down fluids for more than 12 to 24 hours or if your diarrhea is accompanied by a fever. And you should seek urgent medical care if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting
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Causes Of Diarrhea For A Week
The causes of diarrhea that lasts for a week or more is largely the same as diarrhea that lasts for even a few days. Even with common causes of diarrhea, some people may only experience a problem for a few days while for others the diarrhea may persist for longer periods of time. Diarrhea should always be investigated by a medical professional to identify the exact cause so that the correct treatment can be prescribed.
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