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International Global Health Blog

Diarrhea and Chronic Diarrhea

International Global Health


We all know what Diarrhea is, but do you know how dangerous it can get in endemic area? Here at IGH Insurance we have collated a couple of facts, symptoms and tips on how to prevent diarrhea, please have a read below and let us know what you think.

Stay healthy!
 
SYMPTOMS
 
Diarrhea is usually accompanied by stomach pain, abdominal cramps, gas, nausea, bloating, weight loss and fatigue.
An acute condition typically lasts a few days but when it persists for a few weeks it becomes a chronic condition and needs to be addressed in order to avoid serious complications.

Acute and persistent diarrhea however may have different causes than chronic diarrhea.
 
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 viral infection, bacterial infections and parasitic infections. Common bacteria that cause diarrhea include Campylobacter , Escherichia coli (E. coli), Salmonella , and Shigella.

There are also infections in the digestive tract that spread through foods or drinks which are called foodborne illnesses. Infections lasting more for more than 2 weeks and less than 4 weeks can cause persistent diarrhea.
 
Chronic Diarrhea
 
It can be caused by some infections, food allergies and intolerances, digestive tract problems, abdominal surgery, and long-term use of medicines.
 
DIAGNOSIS
 
If your diarrhea lasts longer than 4 days or there are symptoms such as bloody stools and fever, the medical team will need to find the cause by using the following tests:
  • Stool test: Stool test can show the presence of blood, bacteria, parasites or signs of diseases causing diarrhea
  • Blood test
  • Physical examination: blood pressure rate and sign of rehydration
  • Fasting test: Fasting test is a good way to find out if a food intolerance or an allergy is causing your diarrhea
  • Endoscopy
  •  
    TREATMENT
     
    Anti-diarrheal medications can reduce diarrhea output and zinc supplements are also effective as well as some nutritional and probiotic interventions.
     
    Preventing diarrhea
     
    Most important thing is to stay hydrated. Drinking water at least six glasses per day is mandatory. Try to avoid caffeine, sodas, and acidic juices.Don't drink while eating as it slows down your digestive system, try to drink at least 30 minutes before or after eating.
  • Improve hygiene
  • Adequate sanitation
  • Routine vaccination (rotavirus vaccine)
  •  
    TIPS
     
    Call your doctor immediately if you have:
  • Blood in your diarrhea or black, tarry stools
  • A fever that is high (above 101 F) or that lasts more than 24 hours
  • Diarrhea lasting longer than 2 days
  • Nausea or throwing up that prevents you from drinking liquids to replace lost fluids
  • Severe pain in your abdomen or rectum
  • Diarrhea after coming back from a foreign country


  • If there are any of these signs of dehydration:
  • Dark urine
  • Smaller than usual amounts of urine or fewer wet diapers than usual in a child
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Headaches
  • Dry skin
  • Irritability
  • Confusion
  •  
    References:
     
  • Medscape
  • Web MD
  • Center for Disease, Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)
  • NHS Choices
  • National Institutive of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease (NIDDK)


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