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.
When Should I Call My Doctor
Tell an adult if you have diarrhea, fever, vomiting, or severe belly pain. That person can help you decide whether to call your doctor.
If you feel listless and your mouth and skin feel dry, or if your bowel movements contain blood or mucus, you should contact or see a doctor right away. Also go to the doctor if you are vomiting so much that you can’t keep down fluids or if your symptoms last more than 3 days.
When Do I Need To See A Health Care Provider For Diarrhea
Although it is usually not harmful, diarrhea can become dangerous or signal a more serious problem. Contact your health care provider if you have
- Signs of dehydration
- Diarrhea for more than 2 days, if you are an adult. For children, contact the provider if it lasts more than 24 hours.
- Severe pain in your abdomen or rectum
- A fever of 102 degrees or higher
- Stools containing blood or pus
- Stools that are black and tarry
If children have diarrhea, parents or caregivers should not hesitate to call a health care provider. Diarrhea can be especially dangerous in newborns and infants.
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Whats The Difference Between Normal Diarrhea And Severe Diarrhea
There are actually several different ways to classify diarrhea. These types of diarrhea include:
- Acute diarrhea: The most common, acute diarrhea is loose watery diarrhea that lasts one to two days. This type doesnt need treatment and it usually goes away after a few days.
- Persistent diarrhea: This type of diarrhea generally persists for several weeks two to four weeks
- Chronic diarrhea: Diarrhea that lasts for more than four weeks or comes and goes regularly over a long period of time is called chronic diarrhea.
Diarrhea And Other Gastrointestinal Symptoms Of Covid
Some people with COVID-19 develop gastrointestinal symptoms either alone or with respiratory symptoms.
Recently, researchers at Stanford University found that a third of patients they studied with a mild case of COVID-19 had symptoms affecting the digestive system.
Another published by researchers in Beijing found that anywhere from 3 to 79 percent of people with COVID-19 develop gastrointestinal symptoms.
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Can Antibiotics Cause Diarrhea
Most antibiotics can cause diarrhea. Antibiotics can change the balance of bacteria normally found in the intestines, allowing certain types of bacteria like C. difficile to thrive. When this happens, your colon can become overrun by bad bacteria that causes colitis .
Antibiotic-associated diarrhea can begin any time while youre taking the antibiotic or shortly thereafter. If you experience this side effect, call your healthcare provider to talk about the diarrhea and discuss the best option to relieve this side effect.
How Are Vomiting And Diarrhea Diagnosed
Vomiting and diarrhea can be diagnosed at home. Neither condition requires a trip to the doctor. However, call your doctor if the vomiting and diarrhea dont seem to be getting better, or if the person who is vomiting and/or has diarrhea:
- Is younger than 6 months old.
- Is older than 6 months old and has a fever higher than 101.4°F.
- Has signs of dehydration .
- Has been vomiting longer than 8 hours or is vomiting with great force.
- Has blood in his or her stools.
- Has blood in his or her vomit.
- Has not urinated in 8 hours.
- Might have swallowed something that could be poisonous.
- Has a stiff neck or bad headache.
- Is listless or unusually sleepy.
- Has had abdominal pain for more than 2 hours.
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Causes Of Diarrhea In Seniors
The most common causes of diarrhea are:
- Viral infections Viruses that cause diarrhea include rotavirus, norovirus, and adenovirus. The highly contagious norovirus is the most common cause of diarrhea epidemics, such as those that occur on cruise ships, and at nursing homes, schools, and daycare facilities.
- Bacteria and parasites Food or water contaminated with bacteria and parasites can cause infectious diarrhea, also known as travelers diarrhea since its common among people traveling to developing countries.
- Medications Some medications can upset the gastrointestinal tract and cause diarrhea for example, antibiotics, which disturb the natural balance of intestinal bacteria. Other medications that can lead to diarrhea are cancer drugs and antacids with magnesium.
- Lactose intolerance Some people who have difficulty digesting lactose, a sugar found in milk and other dairy products, can experience diarrhea after consuming them. Lactose intolerance can worsen with age due to lower levels of the enzyme that helps digest lactose.
- Digestive disorders Irritable bowel syndrome , Crohns disease, ulcerative colitis, and celiac disease are among the illnesses associated with chronic diarrhea.
Can Diarrhea Be Prevented
There are a few ways you can decrease your chances of having diarrhea, including:
- Avoiding infections with good hygiene habits: Washing your hands with soap and water after using the bathroom, as well as cooking, handling, and eating, is an important way to prevent diarrhea. Washing your hands thoroughly can really help keep you and those around you stay healthy.
- Getting your vaccinations: Rotavirus, one of the causes of diarrhea, can be prevented with the rotavirus vaccine. This is given to infants in several stages during the first year of life.
- Storing food properly: By keeping your food stored at the right temperatures, not eating things that have gone bad, cooking food to the recommended temperature and handling all foods safely, you can prevent diarrhea.
- Watching what you drink when you travel: Travelers diarrhea can happen when you drink water or other drinks that havent been treated correctly. This is most likely to happen in developing countries. To avoid getting diarrhea there are a few tips to follow. Watch what you drink. Dont drink tap water, use ice cubes, brush your teeth with tap water, or consume unpasteurized milk, milk products or unpasteurized juices. You should also be careful when trying local foods from street vendors, eating raw or undercooked meats , as well as raw fruits and vegetables. When in doubt, drink bottled water or something thats been boiled first .
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Living With Vomiting And Diarrhea
Vomiting and diarrhea usually dont last long. If its caused by an infection, vomiting and diarrhea are a way for the body to get rid of the infection. Giving medicines that stop vomiting and diarrhea may actually interfere with the bodys efforts to heal. Antibiotics are usually not necessary either. Talk to your family doctor if you or a loved one is frequently vomiting or having diarrhea.
What Is An Ors
An oral rehydration solution, or ORS, is a great way to replace fluids and nutrients lost through vomiting and diarrhea. An ORS is safe for babies, children, and adults. An ORS can come in several forms, including a powder that you mix with water, a liquid that is already mixed, and as frozen popsicles. You can purchase these at most grocery stores and drugstores.
To use an ORS for vomiting, try giving small amounts of ORS often, such as 1 teaspoonful every minute. If the person is able to keep the drink down, slowly increase how much you give. If the person vomits after you give the ORS, wait 30 to 60 minutes after the last time he or she vomited, and then give him or her a few sips of an ORS. Small amounts every few minutes may stay down better than a large amount all at once. When the person stops vomiting, you may increase how much of the ORS you give each time and add clear broths or clear sodas. Remember, small amounts are less likely to cause an upset stomach. If a person only has diarrhea and isnt vomiting, he or she may have an ORS and other liquids as needed. Your doctor may ask you to keep track of how much the child or senior drinks. You can use a dropper, a spoon, or a measuring cup to help you keep track.
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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.
Risk Factors And Disease Associations
Increasing age , female sex , autoimmune diseases such as thyroid disease and coeliac disease , past or current diagnosis of malignancy and solid organ transplant are identified as risk factors for MC .
The incidence of MC increases substantially with advancing age . The mean age of diagnosis of the condition is in the fifth and sixth decades. In one Canadian study, patients greater than 65 years of age were more than five times as likely to have developed MC . The reasons for this are unknown. While a genetic or environmental component seems possible since familial cases have also been reported , MC does appear to be an age-associated condition.
Female sex is also a major risk factor . This predisposition is more pronounced for the collagenous colitis subtype. Population-based studies report a female to male ratio of 4.47.9:1 for collagenous and 1.85.0:1 for lymphocytic colitis . The reasons for the higher rate among women are also unknown but might be related to the higher likelihood of autoimmune diseases, hormonal alterations and/or an ascertainment bias as women may be more likely to seek help for intermittent watery diarrhoea.
Only one study has looked at solid organ transplant recipients . The authors reported a point prevalence of 8.8 cases of MC per 1,000 solid organ transplant patients and an annual incidence rate of 5.0 per 1,000 transplant person-years. This incidence rate is 50-fold higher than the rate found in the general population.
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List Of Natural And Home Remedies For Adults And Children For Diarrhea
Treatments for Adults
- Adults should drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
- Replenishing water loss is important. Avoid milk as it can make diarrhea worse. Sports beverages can be beneficial because they replenish electrolytes in addition to providing hydration.
- If the patient is able to eat, avoid greasy or fatty foods. Adults, infants, toddlers, and children should be encouraged to follow the “BRAT” diet . The BRAT diet is a combination of foods to eat to treat diarrhea. If diarrhea is accompanied by nausea, have the person suck on ice chips until the nausea stops. After the diarrhea subsides, avoid alcoholic beverages and spicy foods for two additional days.
- Individuals may be able to continue their usual activities if they are mildly ill with diarrhea; however, strenuous exercise should be avoided because exercise increases the risk of dehydration.
- If you are pregnant women and have diarrhea make sure to rehydrate to avoid dehydration, and consult your doctor.
Treatments for Toddlers and Children
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When Your Elderly Loved One Needs Medical Care For Diarrhea
Diarrhea is the frequent passage of loose, watery, stools three or more times in one day. It can affect people of all ages. An episode usually lasts about one or two days, and, typically, goes away on its own. Seniors are no more susceptible to diarrhea than others, but may sometimes require medical care when afflicted. If you think thats the case with your elderly loved one, you should know that DispatchHealth provides medical care for non-life-threatening conditions thats far more private and convenient than an emergency room or urgent care clinic. We can come to your loved ones home to administer safe and effective diarrhea treatment that restores his or her comfort and allows a confident return to daily life.
If this is an emergency, please call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department.
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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.
Common Causes Of Diarrhea In The Elderly
Diarrhea can be caused by a range of different factors including allergies or intolerance to certain foods, a reaction to medication, or an unwanted microorganism in the gut. Seniors who are on medications may have a higher chance of suffering from diarrhea, so if you feel that a medication could be the cause, consult with your doctor. Now, lets look at how to relieve symptoms.
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What To Do If You Have Gastrointestinal Symptoms
Gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, loss of appetite, or nausea can have many causes other than COVID-19. Experiencing any of these symptoms doesnât mean you have COVID-19, but they may be early warning signs.
You can treat the digestive symptoms of COVID-19 at home by staying hydrated, avoiding foods that upset your stomach, and getting as much rest as possible.
Taking Or Switching Medications
Antidiarrheal medications are a short-term remedy. Although they tend to relieve symptoms, people should not use them on an ongoing basis.
Other medications that may help include:
- antibiotics, for bacterial infections that cause diarrhea
- codeine-containing medications, which can reduce watery and loose stools
- OTC medications to slow down the passage of stool through the digestive tract, including bismuth and loperamide
People taking medications that can cause chronic diarrhea should talk to their doctor about alternative drugs that do not have this side effect.
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How Is The Cause Of Diarrhea Diagnosed
To find the cause of diarrhea, your health care provider may
- Do a physical exam
- Ask about any medicines you are taking
- Test your stool or blood to look for bacteria, parasites, or other signs of disease or infection
- Ask you to stop eating certain foods to see whether your diarrhea goes away
If you have chronic diarrhea, your health care provider may perform other tests to look for signs of disease.
Can I Manage Diarrhea Without Taking Any Medication
When you have an acute case of diarrhea, you can often take care of it without needing any medication. Several things you can do to care for diarrhea include:
- Drinking plenty of water and other electrolyte balanced fluids and caffeine-free sodas). Make sure to hydrate throughout day. Your body loses water each time you have diarrhea. By drinking plenty of extra fluids, you are protecting your body from dehydration.
- Changing your diet. Instead of picking greasy, fatty or fried foods, go for the BRAT diet:
- B: Bananas.
- A: Applesauce.
- T: Toast .
Sometimes, diarrhea can also make you lactose intolerant. This is usually temporary and it means that you need to avoid items with lactose until your diarrhea is gone.
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How To Care For Diarrhea At Home
If your loved one has diarrhea, give them plenty of fluids to drink. If they can keep liquids down, give them sports drinks, juice, or soda without caffeine, even if they donât feel thirsty. Water is OK too, but it doesnât put back the sodium and potassium that diarrhea pulls from their bodies. Avoid liquids with caffeine or alcohol, like coffee, some sodas, wine, or beer.
Someone whoâs vomiting and canât keep liquids down can get dehydrated. You might give them small amounts, like a tablespoon or two every 15 minutes. But if they can’t keep any liquids in their stomach for longer than 48 hours, call a doctor. Your loved one may need IV fluids.
Offer them low-fiber, easy-to-digest foods like saltine crackers, toast, eggs, chicken, yogurt, or rice.
Diarrhea is how the body gets rid of a bacterial or viral infection. If you give medicine to stop it, the infection will stay in the body longer and cause more pain. If you need to give medicine, you can buy bismuth salicylate and loperamide without a prescription.
Donât use these drugs if your loved one has recently been constipated, has a high fever or swollen belly, or still has diarrhea after 2 days. Donât give them to anyone with blood in the stool, cranberry-colored stool, or black, tarry stool. If your loved one gets constipated, stop using loperamide. Donât give bismuth if they take aspirin or have an allergy to aspirin.